Kino Lorber Hires George Schmalz as Director, Theatrical Sales & Business Development
KINO LORBER HIRES GEORGE SCHMALZ AS DIRECTOR, THEATRICAL SALES &
Schmalz Will Oversee a Repertory Library of Over 800 Titles and
Advance New Digital Strategies in Partnership with Theaters
New York, NY – December 6, 2021 – Kino Lorber announced today that George Schmalz has joined the arthouse film company as Director, Theatrical Sales & Business Development. Schmalz will be responsible for overseeing the Kino Lorber Repertory label, as well as further evolving the company’s response to accelerating changes in the theatrical marketplace. He will report to the company’s Senior VP of Theatrical and Non-Theatrical Distribution & Acquisitions, Wendy Lidell.
Kino Lorber has been a leader in finding creative solutions to the challenges facing independent theatrical film distribution. The company was an early adopter of the crowd sourcing model, making its titles available on Gathr early in their release. It also brought the Fathom model in-house, launching one-night national event screenings for films such as Anthropocene and After Parkland as well as the upcoming May Day national re-release of The Wobblies. Kino Lorber was the first to implement a virtual cinema response to the COVID-19 pandemic with its Kino Marquee platform, an initiative which was recognized with a special award from the New York Film Critics Circle in 2020.
George Schmalz is a film industry veteran with 20 years of experience, having worked in production (Kovarova, Wormwood Films); exhibition (Landmark Theatres); VOD (Sundance Now, Shudder); theatrical on demand (Gathr); crowdfunding (Kickstarter); and distribution (Oscilloscope Laboratories, Metrograph Pictures, Dekanalog, and now, Kino Lorber).
“George brings a remarkably wide range of industry experience, as well as a keen cinephilic eye, making him uniquely qualified to help us navigate uncharted waters in 21st century theatrical film distribution,” remarked Lidell. “We welcome him, and know he will become an indispensable member of our team.”
"I've long admired Kino Lorber's robust slate of titles – from films fresh off the festival circuit, to newly restored classics and recently unearthed gems,” added Schmalz. “They have shown adventurousness in testing the marketplace through new initiatives such as the Kino Marquee virtual cinema platform and the newly launched Kino Cult AVOD channel, all while continuing to maintain a powerhouse theatrical, educational, digital, and home video business."
Upcoming Kino Lorber repertory releases include a package of six films by Hungarian master Miklós Jancsó restored in 4K by the Hungarian National Film Archive, Deborah Shaffer’s 1979 documentary The Wobblies about the Industrial Workers of the World, and James Blue’s Olive Trees of Justice, which was the first American film to win the Critic's Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962. Schmalz will also oversee distribution of the Milestone Film Collection.
The new restoration of Olive Trees of Justice will have its theatrical premiere at Metrograph in New York, opening for a run there on Friday, January 21, 2022 before touring select cities nationwide. The long-overlooked film is a gorgeously shot neo-realist classic deserving of addition to the cannon. Skipping back and forth in time between French colonial Algiers and the time period after the Algerian War in 1962, it tells the story of an ex-pat returning home to visit his ailing father. Filmmaker James Blue, with the help of a largely non-professional cast, uses flashbacks and the then news of the day to tell a story of nationalism and colonialism through the lens of everyday people with a shared past and conflicted present.
About Kino Lorber
With a library of over 4,000 titles, Kino Lorber Inc. has been a leader in independent art house distribution for 35 years, releasing 30 films per year theatrically under its Kino Lorber, Kino Repertory and Alive Mind Cinema banners, garnering seven Academy Award® nominations in nine years. In addition, the company brings over 350 titles yearly to the home entertainment and educational markets through physical and digital media releases. With an expanding family of distributed labels, Kino Lorber handles releases in ancillary media for Zeitgeist Films, Milestone Films, Cohen Media Group, Greenwich Entertainment, Artsploitation, Palisades Tartan, Menemsha Films, Raro Video, and others, placing physical titles through all wholesale, retail, and direct to consumer channels, as well as direct digital distribution through over 40 OTT services including all major TVOD and SVOD platforms. In 2019, the company launched its new art house digital channel Kino Now which features over 1000 titles from the acclaimed Kino Lorber library. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kino Marquee initiative was launched in 2020 pioneering "virtual theatrical" releases of art-house films with revenue shares that allows audiences to support almost 400 local independent theaters.