Toronto: Arbelos Launches New Art House Distributor With 'The Last Movie' (Exclusive)

Dennis Hopper, Courtesy of The Hopper Art Trust.
'The Last Movie'

The new boutique distributor will combine new acquisitions with re-releases of restored art house classics.

The Toronto market has another buyer.

Arbelos, a new boutique distributor focusing on the release of both new and restored classic art house titles, officially launched at this year's Toronto Film Festival. The company's first release will be a 4K restoration of Dennis Hopper's 1971 cult classic The Last Movie, which will get a new theatrical bow, and its first ever Blu-ray and digital streaming release, via Arbelos in 2018.

Arbelos looks to blending both new independent features with 4K restorations of classic and cult films, cutting across all genres and eras, the group said. Arbelos plans to release 6-8 titles per year, around half new titles, and will be scouting films while in Toronto.

The team behind Arbelos — co-founders David Marriott, Dennis Bartok, Craig Rogers and Ei Toshinari — previously collaborated together on Cinelicious Pics, the distribution arm of L.A. digital restoration studio Cinelicious and the new company's initial slate will include Cinelicious Pics film library of 14 feature films, including the recent 4K restoration of Toshio Matsumoto’s transgender classic Funeral Parade of Roses, Tim Sutton’s Dark Night and the 4K restoration of Eiichi Yamamoto’s underground anime Belladonna of Sadness.

“We all share a very left-of-center passion for hidden and underappreciated movies,” said Bartok. “The success of Belladonna of Sadness, which had been forgotten for over 40 years and went on to be one of the biggest arthouse re-releases of last year, showed that we’ve barely scratched the surface of great, overlooked movies. We love the fact that we’re starting our company with literally The Last Movie, Dennis Hopper’s brilliant and long-unavailable masterpiece.”

Bartok, Marriott and Toshinari left Cinelicious Pics several months ago and began to collaborate with Rogers, a restoration expert at Cinelicious, and Jonathan Marlow, who had acquired several Cinelicious Pics releases for the SVOD streaming service Fandor. Marlow will take up the position of chief business development officer at Arbelos.

This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's Sept. 8 daily issue at the Toronto Film Festival.