Bad news from European Variety: Hamish McAlpine's 26-year-old Tartan Films is folding. Today, it was announced that Tartan is laying off of its entire 22-member staff, part of "going into administration" as the Hollywood Reporter notes, using the British phrase that more or less means bankruptcy under the administration of auditors.
The London-based distributor might be best known for the scads of J-horror and K-horror it distributed through the Tartan Asia Extreme and Tartan Terror, aka Tartan Grindhouse. The label had a strong fan base, but apparently not enough of a base to survive. The news may not be a surprise, since the closure of Tartan USA had been announced at this year's Cannes Festival, with the sale of domestically-distributed films to Palisades Media.
Tartan films had included such prestige fare as 12:08 East of Bucharest, 2005's best film The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (above) and Johnnie To's Triad Election; the Asia Extreme label got grittier with for Oldboy, the original Ringu and its sequel, and the excellent Korean chiller A Tale of Two Sisters. Here's a list of some of the releases; as eclectic a roster as there is in the current cinema, bearing as it does names from Michael Powell to Park Chan-Wook.