Wendy Lidell

Source: Kino Lorber

Wendy Lidell

Distribution veteran Wendy Lidell will depart Kino Lorber as SVP of theatrical acquisitions and distribution at the end of June after eight years to pursue a new, undisclosed, chapter.

Kino Lorber chairman and CEO Richard Lorber made the announcement on Friday and hailed Lidell as “the rarest amalgam of smart cinephile and canny business executive”.

Kino Lorber chief revenue officer Lisa Schwartz will oversee theatrical distribution and acquisitions in the interim and continue to report to KLMG president Ed Carroll.

Lidell joined the company in 2016. During her tenure she shepherded three documentaries to Oscar nominations – Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire At Sea, Talal Derki’s Of Fathers And Sons, and this year’s nominee Four Daughters directed by Kaouther Ben Hania.

She also oversaw hit theatrical releases such as Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Tom Of Finland, Grace Jones: Bloodlight And Bami, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, and Obit.

When the pandemic forced cinemas to close in 2020, Lidell spearheaded the launch of Kino Marquee, the virtual cinema platform enabling arthouse cinemas to generate revenue by offering customers digital access to first-run releases from Kino Lorber and other companies while keeping a share of ticket sales.

Prior to Kino Lorber, Lidell served as president of International Film Circuit, which she founded in 1987 with support from the Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations, introducing American audiences to previously unknown filmmakers such as Alexander Sokurov, Raúl Ruiz, Nanni Moretti, and Hou Hsiao-hsien.

From 1999 to 2004, Lidell headed the theatrical division of Fox Lorber, which later became Winstar and Wellspring. Under her leadership, the company released major arthouse works including Edward Yang’s Yi Yi, François Ozon’s Under The Sand, and Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark, a surprise box office hit that grossed over $3m in North America.

“It’s with mixed emotions that I say farewell to Wendy, one of the shining lights of Kino Lorber and my dear friend and colleague,” said Lorber. “Wendy is the rarest amalgam of smart cinephile and canny business executive whose deft touch, even in the toughest deals and most challenging times, left only smiles in her wake.”

He added, “While I am sad to see her depart, I’m happy to see her pursue her own professional endeavors and personal pleasures, and wish her all the success in the world.”

Lidell said, “It has been extremely gratifying to be able to work with the brilliant and visionary Richard Lorber over the last eight years, and I am proud of what he and I have accomplished together at Kino Lorber.

“I now look forward to my next chapter and continuing to follow my passion for bringing great films from around the world to American audiences, secure in the knowledge that I leave the work of theatrical distribution in the hands of a talented team of professionals I have had the privilege of leading during my years at the company.”

Reporting to Schwartz will be SVP marketing and communications Nicholas Kemp, VP press and publicity Kate Patterson, VP theatrical distribution & repertory acquisitions George Schmalz, and director theatrical distribution Maxwell Wolkin.