|About Vitagraph Films|
Vitagraph Films began in 1999 as the distribution arm of the American Cinematheque in Hollywood, as Vitagraph Films/American Cinematheque Presents... The label's mandate was to bring the rare and unusual programming of the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre to a wider audience.
David Shultz is the founder and president of Vitagraph Films, a self contained theatrical and home optical, television distribution entity. Margot Gerber is the head of marketing and publicity for the company.
Currently Vitagraph Films is releasing the documentary AHEAD OF THE TIME, about the remarkable life of journalist, author and humanitarian Ruth Gruber (now 99 years old) who shot the now infamous photos of the ship Exodus 1947. In February 2011 Vitagraph will release the Spanish Oscar entry TAMBIEN LA LLUVIA (EVEN THE RAIN) starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar. The film is directed by Icair Bollain from a script by Ken Loach collaborator Paul Laverty.
In 2009, Vitagraph Films theatrically distributed VALENTINO THE LAST EMPEROR, a documentary on the Italian haute couture fashion designer Valentino and closed the year with the release of the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX: The Story of the Red Army Faction, a docudrama based on the West German terrorist group that formed in the 1960s in opposition of the prevailing post-WWII government. Recently, with Liberation Entertainment, Vitagraph Films was engaged for a March 2009 release of TOKYO!, a triptych film featuring three impressions of the Japanese capital as imagined by directors Michel Gondry (BE KIND REWIND, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), Leos Carax (POLA X) and Bong Joon-ho (THE HOST). With Peace Arch Entertainment, Vitagraph Films also worked on the release of MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH.
In early 2008 Vitagraph released award-winning Brazilian film ALICE'S HOUSE, which stayed in theatres around the country for several months. In the Fall, Vitagraph in released AMERICAN MOVIE and YES MEN director Chris Smith's critically acclaimed THE POOL, a fable set in Goa, India featuring an all Indian cast.
Also in 2008 Vitagraph partnered with Peace Arch Entertainment on theatrical releases of CHAPTER 27 starring Jared Leto and Lindsay Lohan in the story of the day leading up to the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman, as well as the biopic of seminal Los Angeles punk rock band The Germs and their notorious lead singer, Darby Crash, who ironically committed suicide in LA, the same night Lennon was assassinated in NYC. In the Fall of 2008 Vitagraph and PAE theatrically distributed the critically acclaimed Jean Claude Van Dame satire JCVD.
In December of 2007, Vitagraph worked with Barry Shuler's Liberated Artists on the release of LOOK directed by Adam Rifkin and produced by Brad Wyman.
Previously, Vitagraph released Tartan Films USA's 2006-2007 theatrical slate including the Cannes Film Festival Prize Winner RED ROAD directed by Andrea Arnold and THE CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG, second feature from the Academy Award winning filmmaker of THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL. In addition to his work with Tartan Films USA in 2007, Shultz, with his partner, Margot Gerber released Guy Maddin's BRAND UPON THE BRAIN as a film/live theatre event featuring with a live orchestra, live foley sound effects and onstage narrators which included Laurie Anderson, Crispin Glover, Lou Reed, Barbara Steele, Daniel Handler ("Lemony Snicket" author) and others. He also consults for Netflix/Red Envelope Entertainment, handling such projects as the theatrical tour of THE ORCHESTRA OF PIAZZA VITTORIO, an Italian documentary about the formation, in an immigrant neighborhood in Rome, of a world music orchestra.
In 2006, Vitagraph consulted for First Look Studios on the distribution of KIDS director Larry Clark's film WASSUP ROCKERS, which opened in 30+ markets nationwide with an estimated P & A spend of $2 million. Vitagraph also organized 1000+ person outdoor screenings of the film accompanied by live bands and skateboarding contests in New York and Los Angeles. While at First Look, Vitagraph Films was also involved with THE PROPOSITION, written by rocker, Nick Cave, and starring, Guy Pearce, Danny Huston, Emily Watson and Ray Winstone which played in competition at major festivals including Toronto, Sundance and Berlin; and Dito Montiel's A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, produced by Trudy Styler. The film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and won the Best Director and Best Ensemble cast awards. The film stars Robert Downey, Jr., Chazz Palminteri, Diane Weist and Rosario Dawson. Vitagraph's first project for First Look was to release the 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, FORTY SHADES OF BLUE starring Rip Torn. The film's co-star Dina Korzun was nominated for an IFP Spirit Award for Best Actress.
In 2005 Vitagraph Films released Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesias' outrageous comedy EL CRIMEN PERFECTO in the US. The artwork devised by Margot Gerber with graphic designer Jason Faust, was nominated for a Hollywood Reporter Key Art Award.
To date, Vitagraph has acquired rights to thirteen Japanese genre films that were well received at American Cinematheque screenings during its popular Japanese Outlaw Masters series. Although made some 30 years ago, none of these films had ever been released in the US, nor had they been available on video. Partnering with Image Entertainment, Vitagraph distributed the first four titles (BLACK TIGHT KILLERS, FEMALE CONVINCT SCORPIAN - JAILHOUSE 41, GO, GO SECOND TIME VIRGIN and ECSTASY OF THE ANGELS on DVD and home video in 2000 and booked the films theatrically in New York, San Francisco & Boston. A fifth title, BLACK ROSE MANSION (1969) from acclaimed director Kinji Fukasaku was released in 2002. Following were releases of PALE FLOWER (Mashiro Shinoda), BLOODY TERRITORIES and SEX ROCK HUNTER directed by Yasuharu Hasebe, Kinji Fukasaku's BLACKMAIL IS MY LIFE and IF YOU WERE YOUNG - RAGE and Seijin Suzuki's TATTOOED LIFE, KANTO WANDERER and UNDERWORLD BEAUTY.
In 2001 and early 2002 Vitagraph acquired prolific Japanese bad-boy director Takashi Miike's now infamous horror film AUDITION and EVERYTHING PUT TOGETHER, a DV feature directed by Marc Forster (MONSTER'S BALL) starring Radha Mitchell (NEVERLAND, SILENT HILL) & Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace"). Both films opened theatrically and were subsequently released on DVD and video in Spring 2002. The release of AUDITION broke Miike in the United States. Vitagraph went on to release Miike's CITY OF LOST SOULS and HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS.
In 2002 Vitagraph released the German film TATTOO from director Robert Schwentke (FLIGHT PLAN) and Don Coscarelli's BUBBA HO-Tep starring Bruce Campbell, in one of the most successful per screen average titles for Vitagraph, to date. In 2003 Vitagraph released the Cannes Film Festival Award Winner JAPON (director Carlos Reygadas was one of Variety's 2003 "10 Directors to Watch"). The controversial documentary THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED, goes inside the attempted coup on president Hugo Chavez and the overthrow of the socialist government of Venezuela and the horror film LOVE OBJECT, produced by Ed Pressman's Content Films in 2003.
With Lion's Gate Vitagraph released the Japanese horror film JU'ON in 2004 and in 2005, Vitagraph acquired the rights to irreverent Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesias' EL CRIMEN PERFECTO (PERFECT CRIME) which was released in theatres nationwide. David Shultz was also instrumental in brokering the deal for the re-make.
Theatrically Vitagraph/American Cinematheque Presents has re-released the legendary, but virtually unseen in the US, psychedelic, 60's relic, WONDERWALL (directed by THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME director Joe Massot) featuring a re-mastered, original score by then Beatle George Harrison as well as the John Carpenter cult horror favorite HALLOWEEN and 70 MM travelogue film BARAKA. In Summer 2001 Vitagraph re-released QUADROPHENIA based on the WHO's classic album, in connection with Rhino Entertainment. Vitagraph also handed theatrical for WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP, LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF, RICK starring Bill Pullman, and penned by Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler, BUNDY (directed by Matthew Bright - FREEWAY), THE ROOST, SUNSET STORY and THE TALENT GIVEN US.
Vitagraph Films was originally
established as the distribution label for the non-profit American Cinematheque,
a Los Angeles based specialty theatrical exhibition organization that
programs the historic 1922 Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and
the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. The concept behind the label was to
bring the rare and unusual programming of the American Cinematheque at
the Egyptian Theatre to a wider audience through DVD, television and theatrical
distribution in other market.
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