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Tartan Expanding Beyond 'Asia'

5 Sep, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Tartan Films USA will bow six foreign films — including 2006 Cannes Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Red Road — at the Toronto Film Festival beginning Sept. 11.

The five other releases, Princess, Election II, Sheitan, 12:08 East of Bucharest and The Page Turner, are all slated for theatrical release, with the exception of Sheitan, a French black comedy/horror film that bows directly on DVD Dec. 26.

The remaining films would street on DVD in 2007 and will be distributed by Genius Products, which exclusively distributes all Tartan DVDs.

Tartan is shuttling London-based managing director Laura De Casto to help spearhead marketing of the titles domestically, according to Tony Borg, president of Tartan Films.

“For us, theatrical really drives DVD sales,” said Borg. “If it plays [theatrically] in some of the major markets and it gets reviews in the print and online media, theatrical becomes a fantastic vehicle to drive DVD sales.”

The independent slate of films is an attempt by Tartan, which launched U.S. operations about two years ago, to diversify from its widely successful Asia Extreme line of videos.

“When Asia Extreme took off like wildfire, it tended to overshadow the fact that we come out with great independent films under the Tartan Video label,” said Borg.

He said the inclusion of Oldboy — the 2004 Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner — helped jumpstart the Asia Extreme brand in the U.S. “I think [these non-Asian films] will bring a lot of attention to the Tartan Video line again. This is a perfect opportunity to put the focus back on Tartan Video.”

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