Bruce Goldstein is Repertory Programming Director of New York’s Film Forum, editor of its quarterly repertory film calendar, and founder of the classic film distribution company Rialto Pictures. Under Goldstein’s direction, Film Forum’s repertory screen has premiered virtually every major film restoration of the past two decades, making it the country’s preeminent showcase for classic cinema. As founder and co-president of Rialto, he has reissued over 50 international classics in cinemas across the U.S.
In 1987, Goldstein created Film Forum’s now-iconic repertory format. Since then, he has produced four repertory calendars a year (“packed with eye-catching graphics, rare stills and [Goldstein’s] own purple prose, often as much fun as the flicks themselves,” raved Time Out New York) and has singlehandedly created over 300 film festivals, which are often emulated around the world. Among his many distinctions are his creation of “Pre-Code” (films made before Hollywood censorship) as a distinct genre; his early series “Movies in Scope,” which helped create a public demand for the letterboxing of videos; and the reputation of Film Forum as flagship theater for new prints and restorations (over 700 new 35mm prints have been unveiled there since 1990). In its March 3, 2010, issue, Time Out New York named Film Forum “New York’s Best Theater for Classic Films.”
In 1997, Goldstein founded Rialto, a distributor specializing in classic reissues. Described as “the gold standard of reissue distributors” by Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan, Rialto distributes films by Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, Jean Renoir, Jules Dassin, Mike Nichols, Vittorio De Sica, Luis Buñuel, Costa-Gavras, Carol Reed, Alain Resnais, Robert Bresson, Bertrand Tavernier, Akira Kurosawa, Mel Brooks, French crime specialist Jean-Pierre Melville, and many others. Rialto’s 2006 release of Melville’s 1969 Army of Shadows was its U.S. premiere. The most critically acclaimed film of 2006, Army of Shadows won the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and was named Best Film of the Year by The New York Times, Premiere, and other publications.
2007 marked Rialto’s tenth anniversary, a milestone that was celebrated with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, with similar tributes held in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and other cities. In honor of the company’s anniversary, The Criterion Collection issued a special gift box set, 10 Years of Rialto Pictures. Rialto’s 15th anniversary was marked with a retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
In 2012, Rialto signed an agreement with StudioCanal to handle the U.S. theatrical distribution of the French media giant’s enormous classic film library of over 2,000 titles.
Goldstein is also known for his showmanship. He has produced live orchestra shows of Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman (1928) and Sherlock Jr. (1924) and Frank Borzage’s Lucky Star (1929) at Film Forum, as well as at New York’s Ziegfeld Theater, San Francisco’s Castro Theater, Walt Disney World, and at the first TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Among Goldstein’s many specialties are the gimmick films of low-rent director William Castle. He has presented festivals of Castle’s films, complete with buzzing seats and flying skeletons, at Film Forum and the Cinémathèque Française, as well as at venues in Hollywood, St. Louis (star Vincent Price’s hometown), Munich, Neuchatel (Switzerland), and Tel Aviv. In early 2012, he handled the marketing and publicity for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s enormously successful presentation of Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) at the Paramount Theater in Oakland.
Goldstein has been profiled in the Village Voice, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, three times in The New York Times, and twice in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town,” among many other publications. His programming has been called “the Best of New York” by both New York magazine and the New York Press. In 1997, Time Out named Goldstein one of the 101 essential people or places of New York, citing him “for keeping showmanship alive,” and, in 2005, “New York’s Finest Film Programmer.”
Among his awards are a CableAce and two Telly Awards for a 1991 documentary on dance legends The Nicholas Brothers, which he co-produced and wrote, and a D.W. Griffith Award from the National Board of Review for “Visionary Film Programming.” In 1990, the New York Film Critics Circle presented him with a special award “for consistent and imaginative quality programming of repertory films.” In 2000, the National Society of Film Critics awarded Rialto a special “Heritage Award” for its re-releases of The Third Man (1949) and Grand Illusion (1937), and the following year the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Rialto a special award, presented to Goldstein by Jeanne Moreau, for its re-release of Rififi (1955).
In 2007, Goldstein was honored by Anthology Film Archives, and, in 2009, he was the recipient of the San Francisco Film Festival’s prestigious Mel Novikoff Award. In 2002, he received the French Order of “Chevalier” of Arts & Letters.
In October 2012, he received a lifetime achievement award, along with two other prominent curators in other fields, from George Eastman House at a special gala evening in New York City.