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Tartan goes out of business


A pall of gloom was cast over the sunniest weekend of the summer with the news that well regarded UK distributor Tartan Films has gone “into administration,” according to board director Alan Partington, ending 26 years of being a player.

All of the company’s 22 London based staff members have been made redundant. Tartan’s iconoclastic head Hamish McAlpine was unavailable for comment.

The closure of the company was not wholly unexpected. The company recently closed down its US wing Tartan Video USA, set up in 2004, and auctioned off its 100-film library to film print and advertising financing company Palisades Media.

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In addition, senior staff has been leaving in droves. 2007 saw Managing Director Laura De Casto and Head of Acquisitions Jane Giles quitting, while publicity maven Sarah Bemand left recently.

McAlpine founded the business in 1982. Tartan, with a brief marriage with Metro Pictures in 1992, released over 300 films in the UK, including The Cooler, Super Size Me, Capturing the Friedmans, Secretary and The Triplets of Belleville [+see also:
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. The company was best known for its Asian horror titles released through its Asia Extreme label. Tartan is widely credited for popularizing J-Horror and K-Horror in the West.

The company announced a £3m rescue investment package in November 2007, which did not ultimately materialize. Their next release, the documentary Crazy Love, has been cancelled ahead of its July release.

Home entertainment sales house World Cinema Ltd, which handles Artificial Eye and ICA amongst others, will lose the lucrative Tartan home video slate. It is thought that McAlpine holds a 50% stake in World Cinema.

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