EXCLUSIVE: LA-based post-production house and restoration specialist Cinelicious has launched spin-off U.S. distribution venture Cinelicious Pics, under the leadership of film restoration expert Paul Korver and ex-American Cinematheque head programmer Dennis Bartok. The new distributor plans on releasing an eclectic mix of 12 films a year spanning new American and foreign independent features and documentaries, starting this fall with a trio of titles: director Adam Rifkin‘s outsider art docu Giuseppe Makes A Movie, Icelandic drama Metalhead, and space-age Soviet synth dance music docu Elektro Moska, which will receive theatrical, VOD, and Blu-ray/DVD releases. Adding an archival element to its slate, Cinelicius Pics will also partner with its Cinelicious sister post-production company on restoring and releasing select art house and cult titles.
Bartok brings his years of film curation and programming to the new venture, which aims to give obscure foreign and indie titles a more lasting life on the art house theatrical circuit and on home video. “I’m spending sometimes months, years to track down obscure fringe genre by Jean-Pierre Melville or Japanese genre films,” he told me. “Sometimes I track down a print that screens once, then we have to fly them back. We’re not exploring the full potential of these movies, the new films and the older films that slip through the cracks of film history.”
Bartok, who’s organized retrospectives on Melville, Mario Bava, Kinji Fukasaku, Anthony Mann, Sam Fuller, and Monty Python and produced and programmed the third World 3-D Film Expo, will serve as EVP of Acquisitions and Distribution. Korver founded the 4k post house Cinelicious in 2008, overseeing post services on films from Richard Linklater’s Boyhood to the 4k Criterion remaster of Christopher Nolan’s debut film Following. He’ll serve as President and CEO of Cinelicious Pics. Kristine Blumensaadt, Esq is Head of Business Affairs.
More on Cinelicious Pics’ initial trio of releases:
Giuseppe Makes A Movie – Documentary, 82 min., USA. While the rest of America slept, DIY filmmaker/musician Giuseppe Andrews (a one-time teen actor in INDEPENDENCE DAY and DETROIT ROCK CITY) has made over 30 experimental features with titles like DOILY’S SUMMER OF FREAK OCCURRENCES, TRAILER TOWN and UTOPIA BLUES, set in some demented alternate universe (i.e. Ventura, California) populated by real-life alcoholics and drug addicts, trash-talking senior citizens and trailer park residents dressed in cow outfits and costume-shop wigs, acting out booze-fueled vignettes of severe psychosis filtered through Giuseppe’s John Waters-meets-Harmony Korine-meets-Werner Herzog sensibility. Director Adam Rifkin (LOOK, THE DARK BACKWARD) creates a wildly surreal, outrageously funny and strangely touching portrait of a truly Outsider Artist inhabiting a world few of us even know exists, as he follows Giuseppe and his seriously impaired troupe on the production of his latest 2-day opus, GARBANZO GAS, starring Vietnam Ron as a Cow given a weekend reprieve from the slaughterhouse at the local motel. Beyond the sun-stroked Theater of the Absurd madness of Giuseppe’s vision, there is a remarkable and endearing sense of family among the director, his amiably bonkers dad Ed, patient girlfriend Mary, Sir Bigfoot George and the rest of his surreal Trailer Park rep company. As skate-punk Spit sagely observes about Giuseppe’s movies: “They’re just like, nothing really makes any sense, and I don’t know, that’s kinda how reality is, and nobody really cares to accept that.” A selection of the Hot Docs Documentary Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Rooftop Film Series.
Metalhead – Drama, 97 min., Iceland. Fueled by a remarkable breakout performance by actress Thora Bjorg Helga, director Ragnar Bragason’s intense drama of loss, faith, redemption, Megadeth and Judas Priest begins with a farming accident in the 1980’s that sends a young girl, Hera, and her parents into a tail-spin of grief over the death of her heavy metal music-obsessed older brother. A decade later and Hera is transformed into a sexy, surly headbanger and DIY musician, dressed in black leather and a Slayer t-shirt, clutching her dead brother’s electric guitar as she howls anthems of rage to a barn full of cows. Seemingly trapped in a haunted landscape of slaughterhouses and barren winter fields, making all the wrong choices in her life – including coming on to the local priest and sleeping with her platonic best friend – Hera slowly, painfully comes to terms with her family’s loss and the sound of her own true voice. Partly inspired by the Norwegian black metal church burnings in the early 1990’s, and featuring a soundtrack of 1980’s and 1990’s headbanging classics by Riot, Teaze, Savatage, Lizzy Borden and Megadeth, METALHEAD has been praised as “a powerful portrait of grief never dealt with … an impeccably crafted and beautifully performed film” (Todd Brown, Twitchfilm). Winner of 8 awards at the 2014 Icelandic Film Awards including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor & Actress, and Original Score. In Icelandic with English subtitles. A selection of the Toronto Film Festival.
Elektro Moskva — Documentary, 89 min., Austria. Welcome to a weird and definitely wired world of musicians, DIY circuit benders, vodka-swilling dealers and urban archaeologists/collectors, all fascinated with obsolete Soviet-era electronic synthesizers: primitive and ungainly beasts like the Polyvox, ESKO, Yunost and the fabulous ANS Photo-Electronic Synthesizer, a surreal device that translates abstract drawings into sound. This strange universe of “cosmic chill-out tunes,” Space Age dance music and electronic chirps & tweets has been rescued by directors Elena Tikhonova and Dominik Spritzendorfer in this fascinating & cheeky documentary incorporating rare archival footage including the last 1993 interview with famed inventor Leon Theremin. In a bizarre twist, many of these instruments were a by-product of the Soviet military, created in the off-hours by scientist/inventors cobbling together spare transistors and wires — including Theremin’s Rube Goldberg-esque “Rhythmicon” from 1932, the world’s first rhythm machine, described by a museum curator as “space wreckage.” A new generation of avant-garde and rock musicians has embraced the unpredictability and chaos of these instruments: as “Benzo” (aka Richardas Norvila) admiringly says, “On a Western device, you push a button and get a result … On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something.” Rooting through discarded storage units for cracked and yellowing keyboards, pulling apart cheap toys and re-wiring their inanely cheerful voice boards, these guerilla circuit benders are creating new cosmic sounds from these forgotten “instruments with expanded abilities.” In Russian and English, with English subtitles. A selection of the Rotterdam Film Festival.