New Yorker Films shutting down

Boutique label served foreign filmmakers for four decades

New Yorker Films, the boutique label that has long served as the American home for acclaimed foreign filmmakers, is shutting its doors.

During its four-decade history, New Yorker has been the distribution venue for such icons as Jean-Luc Godard, Ousmane Sembene and Werner Herzog. It gained fame in the 1980s for releasing movies like Claude Lanzmann's epic "Shoah."

But a shrinking theatrical and home video market for foreign films in the U.S. is taking its toll on boutique distributors, even as digital distribution has held out a faint hope of increased revenue. In recent months, New Yorker was known to be encountering financial problems.

The company released a statement on Monday acknowledging the closure, saying only that "we would like to thank the filmmakers and producers who trusted us with their work, as well as our customers, whose loyalty has sustained us through the years."

Despite the problems in the market, there remain a number of labels centered on foreign-language films, including Zeitgeist Films, which in the past few years has released acclaimed movies like the monastery documentary "Into Great Silence." Other new labels are emerging, as well, including Regent Releasing, the Los Angeles-based boutique banner that distributed foreign-language Oscar winner "Departures."
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