Russia's Oldest Art House Distributor Faces Bankruptcy

Issue 35 REP DVD Screeners Blue is the Warmest Color - H 2013

Issue 35 REP DVD Screeners Blue is the Warmest Color - H 2013

Cinema Without Borders has fallen prey to the shrinking of the arthouse segment

Kino bez granits (Cinema Without Frontiers), Russia's oldest art house distributor, which brought to Russia many foreign indie titles, is facing bankruptcy due to significant outstanding debts amid an overall crisis in the art-house distribution segment.

"A bankruptcy hearing has been postponed," the company's founder and head Sam Klebanov told The Hollywood Reporter. "We are trying to pay our debts from revenues collected from our library titles."

"If we are able to get a good TV deal, we'll be able to pay our debts in full," he went on to say. "All we need is one contract of the same scale as they were before the [art house] market collapsed."

Founded in 1996, Cinema Without Frontiers released dozens of titles in Russia, focusing on the likes of Takeshi Kitano, Lars von Trier and Peter Greenaway. More recently, it released Steve McQueen's Shame, Abdellatif Kechiche's Cannes Palm d'Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color and Darren Aronofsky's Noah.

In 2010, Alexander Rodnyansky's A. R. Films Media Corporation acquired a 51 percent stake in the distributor.

Over the last year or so, as viewers have been turning away from auteur movies, the art house segment has shrunk dramatically in Russia, putting some companies that operate there out of business and pushing others, including Cinema without Frontiers, to the brink of collapse.