Archive for June 2021

What I’d give for one last Christmas party with our gang.

KPF began in 1971 as a 16mm non-theatrical distributor (colleges, libraries, schools, etc.), later expanding into theatrical distribution.  

Blessings.  There are many.  The one I treasure the most is my first three decades of working with a wonderful team.  It seems so long ago.

Most of Team-KPF were not classic movie buffs, at least at first.  The prerequisite was to enjoy working with people and making customers happy.  We had a great batting average. 

The front office handled bookings, accounting, etc., and the back room did our film inspection and shipping.   There were many challenges through the years, and everyone took them all on without complaints.  For example, we acquired four libraries of former competitors along with massive studio inventories. It meant adding all those bookings, new customers and prints into our system.  There was no Internet then, so customers relied on our printed catalogs.  Thousands were printed and we had to mail them.  Transitioning from booking with pencil and paper to computers was a challenge in of itself.  All of this, in addition to normal day-to-day work, was accomplished seamlessly with our senses of humor intact!

Yes, it was stressful, so we set up a monthly mental health day where everyone had a day off to do anything they wanted.  That was innovative in the 1980s.  A masseuse came in once a month, too.  No one called in sick that day.  Actually, calling in sick was a rarity. 

I meant to write a piece on the entire KPF team, but didn’t want to accidentally leave someone out.  However, all KPF-ers will agree that the late Karen Kelly, Vice-President and General Manager, was the catalyst that held everything together.  She was our caring and rock steady mother hen. 

Twenty years ago, celluloid started to become technologically obsolete. No one wanted to book 75 pounds of film, when one DVD sported a beautiful picture and sound. It made sense to shut down film distribution altogether and reinvent KPF as a digital company releasing movies on DVD, Blu-ray, streaming and all forms of digital distribution. (more on that at a later date)

Closing the old film company took a year because we had so many commitments to exhibitors and the studios/producers.  The agonizing part was worrying about what would become of my loyal team.  Fortunately, everybody moved on to another good job.  What a relief.     

I moved to Arizona before the final closure, and left everything in the hands of general manager, Marci Krause.   She turned the lights out for the last time and mailed me the key.  End of an era.

I’m a hands-on film guy, so the last 20 years of working in the world of video has not been nearly so satisfying as the celluloid era, due in no small part because it is now just me, my computer and a dog asleep on the office sofa. 

A lot of photographs of the old days were lost, but here is an assortment that survives thanks to always dependable, long-time team member, Clark Coleman.  

John Fenner, Karen Kelly
Karen Kelly, Clara Wintermute, Sharon Halvorson, Scott Kennedy
Marci Krause, Clark Coleman, Les Piekarski, Daniel Villareal
Scott Kennedy, Angela Davis, Tannya, Danielle Pallastrini, Tes Shelton (center)
Elaine Varnedore, Marci Krause, Don Varnedore, Clark Coleman
Top: Karen Kelly, Janelle Gistelli, Sharon Halvorson, G. Dane Wilsonne. Bottom: Cary Lowney, Bill Hearn (Max Vague), Donna Andersen Parker, me, Debbie Blake, Lucinda Andersen
Too many names to list. Steve Halvorson (back row/Panama hat) was the very first KPF-er


G. Dane Wilsonne, Clark Coleman
Mike Wise, Cary Lowney

John Landaker