Donald Krim, film distributor, dies at 65

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Donald Krim, a film distributor who presented a wide range of films, foreign and domestic, contemporary and classic, to American audiences in theaters and on home video, died at his Manhattan home on Friday. He was 65 years old.

The cause was cancer, her brother Robert said.

As President of Kino International, a company founded in 1977 and acquired by Mr. Krim in 1978, he has overseen the acquisition and release of many important films that may not have reached American shores without his tastes. demanding and his sense of distribution.

Its first import was “Orin’s Ballad,” by Japanese director Masahiro Shinoda, which garnered critical support despite failing at the box office. “But it was a beautiful movie and we didn’t get discouraged,” Mr Krim told the website. DVD Talk in 2002.

In the 1980s, Mr. Krim became a regular at the Berlin Film Festival, which by then was a dark and serious affair dedicated to young filmmakers from Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, Asia and Asia. Latin America, unlike Cannes with its focus on directors from Western Europe and the United States.

Films imported by Kino as a result of Mr. Krim’s festival explorations included “Zuckerbaby” by Percy Adlon (1985), “Himatsuri” by Mitsuo Yanagimachi (1986) and “Wedding in Galilee” by Michel Khleifi (1988). Mr. Krim has also helped showcase the work of art-house mainstays such as Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai (“Days of Being Wild”, 1990), Austrian Michael Haneke (“The Piano Teacher ”, 2001) and the Israeli Amos Gitai (“ Kadosh ”, 1999).

Three Kino releases received Oscar nominations in the Best Foreign Language Film category: “Beaufort” by Joseph Cedar (2007), “Ajami” by Scandar Copti (2009) and “Dogtooth” by Giorgos Lanthimos (2010).

Mr. Krim was also known for his commitment to silent films and other classics, which he re-released both in theaters and through Kino on Video, a home video subsidiary he launched in 1987. The company released crucial collections of the work of Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, DW Griffth and many other giants of American silent film, as well as recently restored versions of many German silent films, including “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “The Last Laugh” .

Kino released Fritz Lang’s 1927 “Metropolis” in a major new restoration in 2002, then re-released it in theaters and on video in 2010, after 25 minutes of long-missing footage was found and restored. Martin Koerber, who oversaw the restoration of ‘Metropolis’ for the German Cinematheque, wrote in an email:’ Lately Don has sparked our interest in making a new negative of the restored ‘Potemkin’ with music by Edmund Meisel , which we may never have done if he hadn’t believed in distributing it. Thanks to Mr. Krim, “Metropolis” and “Potemkin” are now part of the handful of silent films available on Blu-ray.

Donald Barron Krim was born October 5, 1945 in Newton, Massachusetts, the son of engineer Norman Krim and former Beatrice Barron. He received his BA from Columbia University in 1967 and a law degree from the same institution in 1971. He entered filmmaking through United Artists (where a cousin, Arthur B. Krim, was president). He first worked in the company’s 16-millimeter division, and then, in 1981, helped form United Artists Classics, the first in-house specialist division of a large studio.

In December 2009, Kino International merged with Lorber Films, forming the umbrella organization Kino Lorber.

Besides his brother Robert, Mr. Krim is survived by his wife, Susan Benjamin; two children, Myriam and Simon; and another brother, Arthur.

Wong Kar-wai praised Mr. Krim for his belief in “the universality of the film and its ability to transcend borders and mother tongues”. “He has worked tirelessly,” Mr. Wong wrote in an email, “to preserve the history of cinema while playing a dynamic role in shaping its future.”


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