EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Thomas’s Brit sales and production firm HanWay is rebranding catalog label HanWay Select to The Collections as part of a drive to highlight and propel its significant library of more than 350 movies.
HanWay has struck a deal with UK distributor Arrow Films to handle distribution and restorations in the UK of the Jeremy Thomas collection, with films including multi-Oscar winning epic The Last Emperor, John Malkovich-Debra Winger romance The Sheltering Sky and David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch. Arrow recently re-released HanWay’s David Bowie-starrer Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.
HanWay is currently restoring around five titles a year with recent updates including David Cronenberg’s Crash, which screened at Venice. Upcoming is Gary Oldman’s Nil By Mouth.
We also understand the company is close to striking a deal with a well known filmmaker to bring around 20 movies into The Collections fold.
The catalog drive is targeted at repertory theatrical play but also at the streamers who many think can do a better job showcasing archive and classic movies.
HanWay founder Thomas told us, “We’ve been upping our efforts to find the long tail. I believe that all these streaming services will become homes for the great movies. I’ve been restoring some titles and others are restoring some for us. There are some magnificent films in the collection from an amazing group of filmmakers. Thankfully, I’ve kept them in good condition so we’re ready to rock.”
HanWay Vice Chairman Peter Watson added, “The market is changing. We can feel that long tail finally starting to emerge in the library business in a way that it hasn’t before. We’re preparing ourselves to take advantage of that because there aren’t many indie collections of this size.”
The Collections Director Marta Ravani, formerly of Protagonist and TF1, explained, “I’ve never had as many requests for these movies as in the last couple of months even if the pandemic has slowed up distributors’ ability to close deals with uncertainty over when theaters will reopen. We are in discussions with the big streamers who are starting to evolve and enrich their content. There is a real appetite for well restored classic films.”
After its Venice screening the 4K update of Crash sold in more than 15 territories, Ravani says, with plans afoot for multiple theatrical releases.
The Collections label includes The Jeremy Thomas Collection with movies including Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and Karel Reisz’s Everybody Wins; the BFI Collection, including Jane Campion’s debut, Peter Greenaway movies and Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio; The Documentary Collection, boasting titles such as Finding Vivian Maier and Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie; and The Wim Wenders Collection, featuring 26 features and six shorts including Paris, Texas and Wings Of Desire.
The Sally Potter Collection includes movies Orlando and Ginger & Rosa; The New Zealand Film Collection features auteurs such as Campion and Taika Waititi as well as Lee Tamahori’s Once Were Warriors; The Paul Cox Collection comprises thirteen features including Man of Flowers and Exile; while The Blues Collection includes Martin Scorsese’s documentary about the blues and its African origins Feel Like Going Home and the seventh installment of the documentary film series Piano Blues directed by Clint Eastwood.
HanWay and RPC’s Pinocchio scored big box office in Italy at the start of this year and then played at Berlin before its theatrical rollout was derailed by coronavirus. The team told us they are hopeful the Roberto Benigni starrer can get back into theaters later this year.
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