KINO AND LORBER MERGE
New York, NY, Dec. 9, 2009 — Richard Lorber and Donald Krim announced today that Hidden Treasures Inc., the holding company of Lorber HT Digital, has acquired Kino International Corp. The respective businesses will merge to form a new entity Kino Lorber, Inc.
Krim and Lorber will each serve as co-presidents of the combined operation and together shall continue to release films under their established labels: Kino International Films and Lorber Films, as well as Lorber’s Alive Mind for documentaries and Knitting Factory Entertainment for music titles. Each principal will remain primarily responsible for acquisitions for their ongoing lines, along with other differentiated roles: Donald Krim will guide the traditional distribution operations while Richard Lorber will be charged with business development and corporate strategy. The existing staffs of both companies shall remain with the merged business which will be based at the current offices of Kino.
The uniting of the Lorber and Krim operations brings together not only a pair of respected industry leaders, each with over thirty years of experience, but also several important film libraries which together total more than six hundred titles. The mission of the company will be to continue to offer the highest standard of innovative and professional, theatrical, home entertainment, educational and ancillary distribution for classic and contemporary world cinema and documentaries while also advancing new methods of digital and direct-to-consumer physical distribution.
Donald Krim stated, “The chance to join operations with my good friend Richard Lorber, to strengthen our position as a buyer of films and as a seller to the new digital distribution channels is a natural step forward for Kino and in our new combination as Kino Lorber one that I believe will have great benefit for us and the talented filmmakers whose work we represent.”
Richard Lorber states, “I’ve happily built my career with partners and I’m proud again to prove the truth of synergy as I move the Lorber businesses forward with my long-time friend Don Krim. Our optimally scaled operation will have the fuel reserves of a great, large library powering a high performance entrepreneurial engine.”
Kino Lorber launches with a full slate of theatrical releases starting with Alexander Sokurov’s long-awaited THE SUN and the Swiss Oscar® entry HOME, starring Isabelle Huppert, both from Lorber Films, currently beginning their national release. Kino’s early 2010 theatrical releases include AJAMI, the multi-Festival prizewinner and Israeli submission to the Oscars®, and DOGTOOTH, Best Film — Un Certain Regard. On the classics side, next spring Kino will launch the eagerly anticipated new restoration of METROPOLIS with the thirty minutes of newly found footage in theatres, followed by DVD and Blu Ray release. Also in DVD, Lorber Films will release the acclaimed Chilean political allegory TONY MANERO, as well as the Oscar® nominated Swedish film AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. Kino has recently brought to market Blu Ray editions of the Sundance double-prize winner BALLAST, and Buster Keaton’s masterwork THE GENERAL. The new company’s most recent acquisitions include the award-winning documentary VIDEOCRACY for Lorber Films, set to open at the IFC Center in February and DOUBLE TAKE B from Kino to open at Film Forum this Spring. All films and labels will be distributed by the same team under the Kino Lorber banner. Each of the Kino and Lorber labels plans 6-8 theatrical releases per year and combined will bring out more than 60 titles digitally and on DVD.
Richard Lorber was most recently the President and CEO of Lorber HT Digital, a distributor of critically acclaimed art house films through its Lorber Films banner, for “transformative” documentaries through its Alive Mind label, and through Knitting Factory Entertainment for music-themed programs. With ten theatrical releases and over thirty non-theatrical and video releases per year, the company also pursued new approaches to digital delivery, direct-to-consumer DVD sales and educational market distribution.
An industry pioneer with over thirty years experience, Mr. Lorber was the co-founder and head of Fox Lorber, which he later merged into the telecom WinStar. As Co-Chairman of WinStar TV and Video, he also led the acquisition of Wellspring Media. Mr. Lorber subsequently founded and served for 6 years as President of Koch Lorber Films, partnered with the company now known as Entertainment 1, where he released such classics as La Dolce Vita and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and important recent films such as Andre Wajda’s Katyn.
Before his business career, Richard Lorber earned bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from Columbia University and spent several years teaching art history (Assistant Professor, New York University), and as an art critic (Artforum). He was also an adjunct instructor in The New School’s Media Studies graduate division. The French government has honored him with the “Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” and this year he was re-elected as Chairman of the Board of Film Forum, America’s pre-eminent non-profit cinema for art house films and documentaries.
Donald Krim started his film career running the Non-theatrical Department and UA Classics at United Artists. In 1977, he bought out the one year old Kino International from Bill Pence who left to start the Telluride Film Festival. Kino has evolved from a 35MM classics-only operation to one of the leading and most durable stand-alone film distributors in the country, having introduced filmmakers as diverse as Aki Kaurismaki, Amos Gitai, Wong Kar Wai and Michael Haneke to wide arthouse exposure in the U.S. In 1987, Krim launched Kino on Video to sell its titles on VHS. Now called, simply, Kino International, the company’s home entertainment label is considered essential in the worlds of contemporary and classic world cinema. Top sellers the Kino library of over 500 titles include classics such as Metropolis, Dersu Uzala, L’age D’or, popular director box sets such as The Art Of Buster Keaton, F. W. Murnau, D. W. Griffith, Michael Haneke and Krysztof Kieslowski, as well as contemporary hits from Kino’s theatrical schedule such as Kadosh, The Piano Teacher, Himalaya, Lady Chatterley and Harvard Beats Yale 29 – 29. A schedule of new Blu-ray titles has also just been introduced.
Krim is a graduate of Columbia College, same class as Lorber, and Columbia Law School. Awards include the San Francisco Film Festival’s Mel Novikoff Award, the National Board of Review Everson Film History Award and the Anthology Film Archives Film Preservation Award.
Julia Pacetti, JMP Verdant