New Yorker Films announced today, via its Web site, that it would be shutting its doors. The iconic arthouse distributor is a company I admired from afar, and had the pleasure to work with side-by-side, over recent months. For years, I've heard stories about Dan Talbot and Jose Lopez. For years, I'd seen the wonderful films (many of which, at the Dobie in Austin) that they released. Forever, I will cherish what they have created in American distribution. A few months ago, we had a meeting in their Midtown offices, where I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dan and Jose for the first time. My first impression: "these guys are the reason I moved to New York." These guys, are the reason film people become New Yorkers.
Full disclosure: I had been working with New Yorker a lot these days. Cinetic Rights Management recently took on some of their library, to release on digital platforms, due to a strong desire for this work to reach new audiences via new technology (as well as some new revenue streams). The mission: give this work a life that arthouses and video stores are unable to provide. Dan and Jose have been champions of the cinema that mainstream audiences don't always discover. So, we honor that by bringing this work even closer to the audiences who will love it. The films we recently released on iTunes, Amazon VOD, Hulu, Joost, and SnagFilms include: The Times of Harvey Milk, Jazz On A Summer's Day, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, The Treatment, Taking Sides, Trembling Before G-D, and Free Zone. Fingers crossed, there will be some more of their library to come and, hopefully, these great indie titles will find a new audience online. While it may not be enough to save the company, at least it can help protect its legacy in a new realm.
It may sound naive, but I actually don't believe that New Yorker is gone. From where I'm standing, the company's spirit lives on.