Lorber film label acquires Kino Int'l

Richard Lorber, Donald Krim to head merged distrib'n entity

Hidden Treasures, the holding company of Richard Lorber's Lorber HT Digital, has acquired Donald Krim's Kino International and will merge to form Kino Lorber.

Principals Donald Krim and Richard Lorber will each serve as co-presidents of the combined operation and together will continue to release films under their established labels -- Kino International and Lorber Films -- as well as through Lorber's Alive Mind for docs and Knitting Factory for music titles. No financial details were available.

Each exec will remain primarily responsible for acquisitions for his ongoing lines, along with other differentiated roles: Krim will guide the traditional distribution operations, while Lorber will be charged with business development and corporate strategy. Staffs of both companies will remain with the merged business.

The union brings together two execs, each with 30 years of experience, and film libraries that total 600 titles. The combined company will continue to distribute classic and contemporary world cinema and docs while exploring new methods of digital and direct-to-consumer physical distribution.

"The chance to join operations with Richard Lorber, to strengthen our position as a buyer of films and as a seller to the new digital distribution channels, is a natural step forward for Kino and in our new combination as Kino Lorber, one that I believe will have great benefit for us and the talented filmmakers whose work we represent," Krim said.

Kino Lorber launches with a slate of theatrical releases, starting with Alexander Sokurov's "The Sun" and Swiss Oscar entry "Home," starring Isabelle Huppert, both from Lorber Films. Kino's early 2010 theatrical releases include "Ajami," the Israeli submission to the Oscars, and "Dogtooth," named best film in May at the Cannes sidebar Un Certain Regard.

Lorber was most recently the president and CEO of Lorber HT Digital, a distributor of art house films through its Lorber Films banner. Early on in his career, he was the co-founder and head of Fox Lorber, which later merged into the telecom Winstar.

As co-chairman of Winstar, he led the acquisition of Wellspring Media. Lorber subsequently founded and served for six years as president of Koch Lorber Films, where he released such pics as "La Dolce Vita" and "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Krim started his film career running the nontheatrical department and UA Classics at United Artists. In 1977, he bought out the 1-year-old Kino from Bill Pence, who left to start the Telluride Film Festival. Kino over the years has introduced to U.S. art houses such filmmakers as Aki Kaurismaki, Amos Gitai and Wong Kar Wai.