New York City’s fledgling independent cinema The Metrograph — which opened in March of 2016, the first indie arthouse to open in the city in over a decade — is getting into the distribution business. Metrograph Pictures will launch on February 22, and will focus on “standout new releases and restored classics.” The new distributor will be led by Head of Distribution George Schmalz, an industry veteran who most recently served as curator for AMC’s Sundance Now. Schmalz will work closely with Jake Perlin, Artistic Director and Director of Programming of Metrograph, on all acquisitions.
Its first planned title is Claire Simon’s “The Competition” (Le Concours), billed as “a sensational documentary portrait of the admission process at French film school La Fémis,” which previously screened at the Venice, Vienna, BFI-London film festivals. In keeping with the new distributor’s mission, the theatrical release will mark the U.S. theatrical debut of veteran filmmaker Simon. The film will open at the Metrograph, and then expand nationally in the following weeks.
“I am excited to join Metrograph in launching this new distribution initiative with Claire Simon’s exceptional film ‘The Competition,’” said Schmalz in an official statement. “I look forward to helping shine a much deserved national spotlight on these new and old cinema classics, handpicked by Artistic Director Jake Perlin.” Schmalz will be attending Art House Convergence and the Sundance Film Festival in January.
More announcements are to come, but Metrograph Pictures has already lined up a handful of exciting new restorations for its growing slate, including three films by Éric Rohmer: “The Aviator’s Wife” (1981), “Boyfriends and Girlfriends” (1987), and “Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle” (1987), all restored in 2K by Les Films du Losange, with 35mm prints available for bookings. Other forthcoming releases include a restoration of Djibril Diop Mambéty’s “Hyenas,” which will open on April 26, followed by a restored version of the documentary “A Bigger Splash,” which chronicles artist David Hockney.
“What distinguishes Metrograph Pictures is our ability now to bring titles on par with the programming of the Metrograph theater to the rest of the country,” said Alexander Olch, Founder and President of Metrograph in an official statement. “The enthusiasm audiences have for the Metrograph cinema has been overwhelming. Now, we are in a position to bring some carefully curated works to anyone who may not be in New York.”