Koch Lorber Building DVD Slate; "Intimacy," "La Dolce Vita," Bollywood Films On Tap
by Eugene Hernandez
Launched earlier this year by Richard Lorber and Michael Koch, the new DVD label Koch Lorber Films is steadily building a library of titles through deals with smaller film distributors, including Empire Pictures, Arrow, and Seventh Art. The outfit, which plans to release up to two dozen DVD titles per year, has announced plans for a line of Bollywood films and a number of other pacts. Overall programming for Koch includes classics, indies, documentaries and music projects. In some cases, the company will pair an audio CD with DVD releases via Koch Entertainment.
Lorber founded and headed Fox Lorber (now Wellspring). Koch is known as the founder and chairman of the independent music distributor and label, KOCH Entertainment. In a conversation with indieWIRE, Lorber discussed a number of the the company's plans.
"There is still about 15 minutes left to get back into the DVD business," laughed Lorber in the conversation with indieWIRE. "Right now its still rising tide time." After building the Fox Lorber business, he is back in the game and is aiming to create a leading distributor of films that will compete with companies like Wellspring and Palm Pictures. Lorber is building a library in part by signing pacts with smaller, indie theatrical distributors.
For the Bollywood line, Koch Lorber is partnering with Gautam Shah's CineCorp (the largest exhibitor and distributor of Indian Films in the U.S.) and Juan Carlos Zapata & Wayne Mogel's new production and distribution outfit Street Alien Pictures, to launch a DVD line from the Rajastan Films theatrical releasing company. Koch Lorber plans to release 6 to 8 Rajastan pictures over the next year. Among the film included in the pact will be "The Hero" and "Bhoot." Additional titles are to be announced.
A number of foreign language and DVD titles are already lined up for release by the new company. A pact with Arrow will be announced soon, with a release of Shekhar Kapur's 1994 film "Bandit Queen" on tap among other Arrow titles. A deal with Seventh Art is also to be announced, with a release of Mark Jonathan Harris' Academy Award winning doc "The Long Way Home" in the works. Koch Lorber recently signed a deal with Ed Arentz' Empire Pictures and later this year it will release Patrice Chereau's "Intimacy" which was a hit at festivals in Berlin and New York before it grossed more than $500,000 in its theatrical release.
"We have a total focus on the arthouse and independent sector," Lorber emphasized in the conversation with indieWIRE. "This is a commercial enterprise but I am trying to build it around a sensibility."
The company will release Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" in a special remastered DVD edition of the original 1960 Italian version of the movie. It will be the first DVD release of the movie and will be in available in September. Koch Lorber released Nina Gilden Seavey's documentary, "The Ballad of Berin Strait," on DVD and VHS in May.
As for its future acquisitions, Lorber indicated that he is eyeing films that are achieveing a level success at film festivals.
"Theatrical (distribution) is becoming too fragmented, specialized and limited now," Lorber said, "Its that festival circuit exposure that almost becomes more important."