Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Palisades Media scoops up Tartan Films

Here's some relief for fans of "Asian Extreme" cinema who were despairing over the shuttering of Tartan Films: All of Tartan's titles, both in the U.K. and the U.S., have been purchased by Palisades Media, according to Variety.

The assets include Tartan's library of more than 400 films. Palisades had purchased Tartan USA's assets when U.K.-based Tartan Films' U.S. arm went belly up in May. Last week, Tartan Films closed its London office and announced it was out of business.

Palisades chairman-CEO Vin Roberti is quoted by Variety:

"We had such confidence after U.S. auction," Roberti said. "The titles are very legitimate. There are very few people in this industry who have the taste (Tartan topper) Hamish (McAlpine) has."

Roberti said that he will continue to buy titles for both territories under a new company called Palisades-Tartan Acquisitions. "We believe strongly in the new digital world at Palisades, and will be aggressively ramping up future acquisitions," he said.

Goal is for Palisades to own a library of some 2,000 titles by 2010.

"We're not in the blockbuster business," Roberti added, "but we will continue to do theatrical releases when it benefits the titles. The most important thing about this is preserving titles and making sure they get the exposure and exploitation they deserve."

Yeah. Exploitation. Asian films need more of that. Hopefully, though, Palisades-Tartan will look to acquire more than just those "extreme" Asian horror and action films.

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  1. i'm prepared to see little change in how they go about things - at least, i won't be surprised if there's simply an attempt to capitalise on how tartan went about things in many of it's more obvious respects - much more than i'm prepared to see the appearance of even a handful of the dozens of films made in asia each year that struggle to even get mentioned thanks to how sites can't find the time (or sometimes ability) to unearth and cover them...

    i'm also still not upset that tartan has "gone", even considering how a great many films will have been perfectly acceptable to many who bought them, because until you've got regular coverage across the large majority of what's being made, i don't think it's easy to be even slightly certain people are getting a fair go at picking out what's most appropriate or interesting to them. that also takes the guts and individuality to pick those things out, more than it takes a much more typical "this'll do; tell me what to buy and when to buy it" attitude which has ultimately translated to a lot of acceptance of a narrow field of free publicity via fansites that's simply derivative of what's proven accepted or popular more than what's of interest to the writers which might gather an interest from the other fans, as is found online all too frequently.

  2. Kaiju Shakedown follows up:

    1) The people a distributor like Tartan is selling to are the buyers at the big retail stores (Borders, Wal-Mart, etc.) And those people don't know nuthin'. They want ghosts and guns because that's something they can put on the cover of the DVD and they think it'll sell. The reality is that these are the distributor's target, not the average retail buyer posting on the internet.

    2) Tartan blames the bankruptcy of their US branch not on a soft market but they claim their distributor, Genius Entertainment, wasn't paying them what they were owed. That may be the case and it may not, but if your distributor isn't paying you then there's nowhere else to get money and it's only a matter of time until you wither and die. Tartan's cash flow problems were the real issue, not the soft market for Asian DVDs, and they even had distributors pull licenses because they were going unpaid. And Tartan lays these cash flow problems at the feet of Genius.

  3. i can't post comments at kaiju because of odd technical glitches, but i'll say here that :

    tartan's focus in recent years has been on brand awareness and value, much more than it's been on quality output. i agree their aim seems to have been to go past the fanbase that was ready and waiting, and to head towards the rental stores and major retail outlets, but they also crossed over into creating what can be portrayed by fans and by tartan as a new market that's as fascinated and concerned by the films as those that found this stuff despite how much more obscure it was until companies like tartan exploited a boom in a new format like DVD.

    now that their situation has gone firmly tits-up, i'd say that the idea of genius entertainment being pivotal to the downfall is a good way of drawing a singular focus away from the series of issues that would have culminated in a perfect storm scenario that saw them off. if genius was applying this same practice of how money was to be handed over to other companies that they're working with, lesser names would have gone down by now, or will in the near future - so, why specifically tartan then?

    i'd guess it's because they didn't have as much money in the coffers to cope with a certain financial difficulty (or several?!) and that the whole slew of other difficulties that relate to a lack of foresight, financial mishandling, came back to haunt them when these things are often kept as part of the regular struggles which companies keep largely quiet as things have a habit of normally being rescued or avoided; i've read of tartan being slow to pay licensors too - as well as of attempts in recent months to gain money to shore the company up - and i'm far from convinced about the idea of even part of a business being based on such a singular short-term trend like 'asian extreme', and i've never been a fan of the homogised approach to how the films are portrayed and subsequently interpreted by many that watch them.

    since lots of companies are usually waiting for funds to come back to them from the goods they sell on to those they work with in order to achieve a part of the process they don't, can't, or just choose to not handle, it's easy to point the finger elsewhere at a time when it can just as easily be pointed back at themselves. they wouldn't do that, because you can't sell your apparently defunct brand by saying, effectively, we didn't make enough money because (for example) nobody was buying the stuff often enough.

    we've not seen the last of the tartan brand, i think. and despite how there was mentions that tartan thought the time for 'asian extreme' had been and gone, now someone else is in control of the stuff, i think you're much more likely to see a continuation of that idea that you might have otherwise done.

    also, i think a great many of us will have been in situations when things go horribly wrong and affect our lives entirely. it's often the case that what happens after that is two-fold : firstly coming to terms with how our situations aren't ever entirely within our control, secondly trying to figure out to what extent all those involved are to blame (plus self-delusion...?), perhaps then also trying to then get ourselves into in a situation where we portray ourselves as back on track despite how others need to be involved to do just that. it's never as clear cut as one person, entity, company - it's easy to find many things working together then suddenly just falling apart.

    that is, despite the knock-on effect of not receiving funds (if it was regarded as key) why weren't tartan in a situation to be able to cope with this in the same way as others would seem to be able to despite how piddling lots of companies are by comparison?

    i don't find that jasper sharp avoided business concerns in what he said. i do find that he shared some thoughts on a situation that relates to a great many issues, many (most or all) of which will either be based on evidence from elsewhere or from speculation as to what could or might have had the chance to happen.


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