The Criterion Collection

Location: New York, NY

Founded: 1984

Website: http://www.criterion.com/

The Criterion Collection takes film very seriously. The commitment to painstaking restoration to the true intent of the director and cinematographer has made this company’s products among the most cherished reissues of classic films for home audiences. The company popularized the letterbox format for home video with the release of Blade Runner on laserdisc, and was the first publisher to offer special editions with bonus features and commentary.


Notable Products

  • Film-to-video distribution of classic and art house movies
  • Creation of original supplemental material (DVD extras)

 

What to Expect

This company considers itself a label, like the record industry, responsible to its customers for releasing only the highest caliber of films. As they see it, the staff represents a discerning group of tastemakers who expect a certain level of excellence—not every movie is Criterion material. As such, employees are expected to be avid cinema aficionados, whether they are keeping the books or working in the editing room. The privately held company has positions for post-production technicians, producers, audio engineers, and royalty analysts, among others. First-rate restoration artists are highly coveted, and only the best make the cut against Criterion’s rigorous standards. To work here, you’ve got to be part film geek and part AV nerd—so let your movie-freak flag fly.

The primary focus of the Collection’s work is licensing publication and distribution rights for films, creating original supplemental material (like interviews and commentary) and remastering images for video that meticulously match the initial big-screen version. The company sends producers and crews all over the world to record elements and edit those segments for inclusion in the DVD or Blu-ray special edition.

When Robert Stein first conceived of the Collection’s business plan, Hollywood was less than receptive. Instead, he set up shop in New York, where art films have always had a faithful following. The office is located in a nondescript Park Avenue South building, its halls not exactly what you might picture as the consummate library of old standards: Missing are the musty shelves, high-backed club chairs, and leather-bound reference volumes. Instead, huge framed movie posters adorn white walls alongside letters of appreciation from directors—it is a modern, minimalistic incarnation for the digital age. The dress and atmosphere are casual. Criterion’s space includes picture and sound editing suites and a large screening room. The theater was thoughtfully outfitted per recommendations from Sound & Vision with a 123-inch Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 projection screen, Axiom Epic 80/500 speaker system, and a Sony PlayStation 3 for Blu-ray playback.

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