May 08, 2006


Tartan has long been known in the UK for quality Asian releases, and when they opened in the US a couple of years ago they rapidly released a slew of high profile Asian titles: A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, OLDBOY and LADY VENGEANCE. They also own tons of second string Asian titles - MAREBITO, R-POINT, VITAL, SAMARITAN GIRL, HEIRLOOM...

But they seem to be experiencing a bit of turnover recently. The past six months have seen them gear up for the US release of HIDDEN BLADE and LADY VENGEANCE, release a ton of movies on DVD, sign a TV deal for their Asian Extreme line on the Sundance Channel, and in the meantime the two top dogs at Tartan - Bob Myerson and MJ Peckos both formerly of Dada Films - have moved on. Myerson now works on special projects for Tartan but is no longer fulltime and MJ Peckos announced last week that she was moving on to open her own niche distribution company, Mitropolous Films.

So who's going to be steering the Tartan ship and where is it going in the future? If you care about Asian film in the US then you should care about Tartan.

May 8, 2006 at 12:29 AM in News | Permalink


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Saying that they have "long been known in the UK for quality Asian releases" is pretty screwy. Tartan was originally a label to avoid, unless you wanted dark, grainy, sub-par transfers. One would only buy a Tartan disc if there was no other one avaliable (Ring, Dead or Alive, etc). The transfers and quality were bollocks.

That has changed in recent years though, and now things are looking up.

I don't know where in the chronology these two came onboard. If they were "old-guard", then it might not be that big of a loss. If they are the ones that pointed the ship in the right direction, I'm sure they won't turn the boat around.

All-in-all, I'm thinking this probably won't be a bad thing.

Posted by: Carlo Marx | May 8, 2006 3:37:46 PM

I don't know why I feel it necessary to defend Tartan, but ... what Carlo says is true if you only watch films on DVD. But if you live in the UK - or in London, at least - the good thing about Tartan is that they got some really good Asian films into theatres in decent-sized, fairly well-promoted releases. That certainly helped my exposure to Asian films no end.

It's not so true these days though. These days their release strategy in the UK is geared much more toward DVD. In particular, the annual Asia Extreme series is merely an exercise in getting films into one theatre screen for a week or two just to generate newspaper reviews, then rushing out the DVD while the film is (hopefully) still in people's minds. Slightly cynical, maybe, but I guess it reflects the business side of this kind of film releasing.

Posted by: Rob | May 8, 2006 8:13:14 PM

Marie-Therese Guirgis joins Tartan USA to become
"acquisitions consultant". Marie-Therese Guirgis was the head of acquisitions at Wellspring (which was closed down in early 2006).

In Cannes, Marie-Therese Guirgis acquired ELECTION and ELECTION 2 for Tartan USA.

Posted by: no name | Jul 4, 2006 2:42:51 AM

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