By Indiewire | Indiewire April 24, 2002 at 2:00AM
DAILY NEWS: Madstone Gets New Yorker, Cuaron Joins LAFF, Method Fest Honors and "C.H.O." to Open New Festival
with articles by Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks, Wendy Mitchell and Jacque Lynn Schiller/indieWIRE
>> New Yorker Films Acquired by Madstone; Talbot Talks About the Future
(indieWIRE: 04.24.02) -- Three-year-old Madstone has acquired the landmark
independent, specialty, and foreign film distributor New Yorker Films,
Madstone confirmed yesterday.
Dan Talbot will continue to head New Yorker Films, according to the
announcement yesterday, along with the full New Yorker staff. The company is
known as a stalwart indie distribution outfit, having released films from
Godard's "Breathless" to Sandi Dubowski's "Trembling Before G-d."
The seeds of the deal were planted when Madstone VP of acquisitions Susan
Wrubel, who used to work with Talbot at New Yorker, introduced him to the
leadership team at Madstone. After an informal meeting and a few subsequent
discussions that lasted a few months, the pact emerged.
Madstone is actually a family of three distinct companies: Madstone Films is
a production company working with first-time feature directors; Madstone
Theaters is developing new screening venues; and Madstone DDN (Digital
Distribution Network) is creating programming for a network of digital
projection venues. The company was founded by Tom Gruenberg and Chip Seelig in 1999.
Expressing his admiration for Madstone's Seelig, New Yorker's Dan
Talbot told indieWIRE yesterday that many companies have pursued similar
relationships with New Yorker over the years, but that it was never a right
fit. "This is the first time that I felt really good about it," he
"The independent film world is a complicated place to exist," Madstone
President and COO Paul Speaker told indieWIRE yesterday. "We want to take
the next step." He emphasized that the New Yorker deal is a move to offer
solid marketing opportunities to the indie distributor.
In the conversation with indieWIRE yesterday, Speaker said that an outgrowth
of the deal with New Yorker will include an increase in DVD and video
opportunities. "Dan will continue to do what he has done," Speaker
explained, "We hope increase some of the exposure (for New Yorker Films),
through DVD and video."
Created in 1965, New Yorker Films was formed by Talbot, who owned the
New Yorker Theater in Manhattan. His company was born with a deal to
distribute Bernardo Bertolucci's "Before the Revolution." Since then, the
company has worked with such notable filmmakers as Fassbinder, Godard,
Herzog, Bresson, Oshima, Ozu, Errol Morris, Wayne Wang, and Zhang
Yimou. Its library of more than 500 titles includes "Nights Of Cabiria,"
"Happiness," "Antonia's Line," and films by Fellini, Kurosawa, Kieslowski,
Rivette, Denis, Wajda, Bresson, Rohmer, Malle, Spike Lee, Pedro Almodovar,
Jane Campion, Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders, and John Sayles.
Calling film distribution a "pretty scary business," Talbot offered that he
has always run New Yorker Films out of his back pocket, without investors or
outside money. While he remain active and continue to lead the outfit, he
explained that he is looking ahead at the future security of the company.
"I've been in the business a long time and I am not a spring chicken,"
Talbot continued in the conversation with indieWIRE, "I happen to be in good
shape both physically and upstairs, but I have to think about the future of
New Yorker Films."
"I am operating autonomously," Talbot reinforced at the conclusion of the
conversation with indieWIRE, "The day that I don't operate autonomously, I
walk off the set." [Eugene Hernandez]
>> LA Film Fest Recruits Alfonso Cuaron As Guest Director
(indieWIRE: 04.24.02) -- Alfonso Cuaron, riding high on the surprising smash
success of his film "Y Tu Mama Tambien," will serve as the guest director
for the 2002 IFP Los Angeles Film Festival. In that capacity, a newly
created role at the fest, Cuaron will host a two-day filmmaker retreat,
program a sidebar of films that have inspired him, and attend the opening
night festivities on June 20.