Donald Krim, president of DVD and film distributor Kino Intl. and co-president of Kino Lorber Inc., died Friday, May 20, in New York following a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 65.
Krim began work in the movie business at United Artists, where he ran the 16mm nontheatrical film-rental unit. He also helped to create UA Classics, the first arthouse division at a major studio.
In 1977, he bought out the year-old Kino Intl. from Bill Pence, who left to start the Telluride Film Festival.
Over time, Kino evolved from a 35mm classics-only operation to an important distributor of independent films, having introduced filmmakers such as Aki Kaurismaki, Amos Gitai, Wong Kar Wai and Michael Haneke to wide arthouse exposure in the U.S.
Kino also distributed American indie films such as Kelly Reichardt’s ”Old Joy” and both Hollywood and foreign classics.
In 1987, Krim launched Kino on Video to sell its titles on VHS. The company’s home entertainment label, now called Kino Intl., is a key homevid distributor of contemporary and classic world cinema.
In 2009 Krim and Richard Lorber announced that Hidden Treasures Inc., the holding company of Lorber HT Digital, had acquired Kino Intl. The respective businesses were merged to form Kino Lorber Inc.
Krim and Lorber each served as co-president of the combined operation, and they continued to release films under their established labels, Kino Intl. Films and Lorber Films.
Krim graduated from Columbia College (in the same class as Lorber) and Columbia Law School.
Awards include the San Francisco Film Festival’s Mel Novikoff Award, the National Board of Review Everson Film History Award and the Anthology Film Archives Film Preservation Award.
A funeral service is planned for Monday, May 23, at 11:45 A.M. at Riverside Memorial Chapel, located at 180 West 76th St. The service is open to the public. A memorial service is planned for late June.
Donations may be made to the Fresh Air Fund, the Leukemia Lymphoma Society or Red Hook Rise.