Working for Kinosmith

(cross-posted from Toronto Screen Shots)

After a few brief weeks of unemployment, I began working again at the beginning of October. It’s just a few days a week for now, but it’s likely to grow into a full-time position before long. I’m working for a small but mighty distributor called Kinosmith. I’d been aware of them for a while, but didn’t realize that the company was only founded in early 2007. Or that up until now, it’s been essentially a one-man operation. Robin Smith has worked in the Canadian film industry for more than 20 years, for companies such as Capri Releasing, Seville Pictures, Lions Gate, Alliance Atlantis, and the Toronto International Film Festival, and he seems to know everyone. But he made it clear upon meeting me this summer that he needed some help. Although my main areas of responsibility will eventually be the web site and social media initiatives, for the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of administrative work. It’s been a great way to begin to understand the business, and I look forward to absorbing some of Robin’s expertise as we continue to work together. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

I had been emailing back and forth for the past few months with another industry veteran, Oliver Groom, proprietor of Project X Distribution, a specialized DVD label that puts out the work of British filmmaker Peter Watkins as well as a few others. We finally decided to meet in person for a drink and since Oliver and Robin had recently partnered up for their DVD releases, Robin came along too. All three of us got along well from that first meeting and after another get-together and a few emails, Robin asked me to come and help him out. He recently moved his home office to Oliver’s house and so even though I work for Robin, I see Oliver a lot as well.

If I haven’t been writing here as often as usual, it’s not because I’ve been watching fewer films. On the contrary, I’m also helping out by watching screeners submitted to Kinosmith as well as catching up on the films we’re releasing now. Robin has built up a very impressive catalogue of films in just over two years, and lots of filmmakers want to work with him, so things are very busy. It does bring up a bit of an ethical dilemma for me. I don’t intend to refrain from reviewing films that happen to be distributed by Kinosmith, but I want to be completely transparent about my relationship to the distributor. Do you think it will be enough to put a standard disclosure notice at the beginning of any blog entry that deals with a Kinosmith title? I promise not to give any film preferential treatment, but I don’t want to ignore them, either, especially if I’m ever somehow involved in the decision to acquire the film for Kinosmith.

In any case, I’m very excited to be indulging my passion for film and learning more about the business side of things. It’s a great opportunity and I’m very thankful to Robin and Oliver for taking me under their wing.