Columbia University Libraries Acquires Papers of Daniel Talbot, Film Distributor and Exhibitor


(NEW YORK, April 30, 2009) Columbia University Libraries has acquired the papers of Daniel Talbot, one the most important figures in art-house cinema in the United States, and founder of New Yorker Films.

The collection is composed of correspondence files that span more than 30 years, more than two decades of producer reports, contract files, files related to New Yorker Films, financial records, guest books dating back to 1960 and production related ephemera. The collection is an outstanding record of independent film exhibition and distribution.

"For going on five decades, Dan Talbot has been absolutely synonymous with film culture in New York and the United States,” said Richard Peña, Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University. “As an exhibitor he set the standard for adventurous programming that often combined offbeat Hollywood classics with the cutting edge of international cinema. As a distributor his achievement is unparalleled: Bernardo Bertolucci, the Brazilian Cinema Novo, Ousmane Sembene, RW Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Jacques Rivette, Straub/Huillet, Zhang Yimou--not to mention Shoah--were all discovered and nurtured by Talbot, among many others.”

“The addition of his personal and professional archive to Columbia will surely be an invaluable resource for scholars working on American film culture, specialized film exhibition, or any number of important artists and films," continued Peña.

Dan Talbot founded New Yorker Films (1965-2009) as a means to exhibit foreign film titles for his now defunct New Yorker Theater. He began with the acquisition of Bernardo Bertolucci’s Before the Revolution leading the way for New Yorker Films to acquire an illustrious list of more than 400 film titles, including Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah. New Yorker Films held the rights for theatrical release to theaters and colleges as well as to distribute films in DVD format. In 1981, Talbot opened his multiplex venue Lincoln Plaza Cinemas at 63rd St. and Broadway creating a major hub on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for first run independent and international cinema. In 2004, Talbot was honored by IFP/New York with the Gotham Award for Industry Lifetime Achievement.

Through his exhibition and distribution activities, Talbot provided movie lovers in the United States with access to works by an impressive roster of international filmmakers including Robert Bresson, Claude Chabrol, Rainer Fassbinder, Federico Fellini, Werner Herzog, Yasujiro Ozu, Ousmane Sembene, and Wim Wenders among others.

When processed, the collection will be available for research. For more information about the collection, contact Jennifer B. Lee, Librarian for Public Services & Programs, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, at jbl100@columbia.edu.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb is the gateway to its services and resources.

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04/30/09 LMK