July 06, 2005


Which is one of the more memorable quotes from this Anthony Kaufman piece in Indiewire on the failures of the foreign language market in America.

Among the tidbits:

- Hou Hsiao-hsien's latest movie, THREE TIMES, can't find a US distributor because the asking price doesn't reflect the American market. This is pretty common: I can't tell you the number of Asian movies that a US distributor wanted but that was priced way too high for what it could potentially make in America's lousy market for foreign language films.

- A reminder that KUNG FU HUSTLE and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS weren't hits, despite popular perception that they were.

- And a big "fuck you" to the critics who complain about how few foreign films are distributed in the US, courtesy of ThinkFilm's Mark Urman, who goes on to ask for foreign countries to subsidize the costs of distributing their movies in the US.

One item that doesn't get touched upon is how critical the New York Times is for New York releases of foreign language films. They're in a position to really make or break any unknown movie that opens in NYC. AUDITION did bang up business based on a single Elvis Mitchell rave a few years ago and at the New York Asian Film Festival we screened PRINCESS RACCOON about which Manohla Dargis wrote a nice two-paragraph piece in the Sunday Arts and Leisure listings. The result: two sold-out screenings. I tore every single ticket and I can tell you that 60% of that audience had not only never been to our festival before, but quite a few of them had copies of the Times article (with the theater address on it) in hand when they walked into the lobby. And none of them came back to anything in the festival.

July 6, 2005 at 11:11 AM in News | Permalink


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