I’m fortunate to receive physical DVDs and Blu-rays from a variety of different film distributors and one of the greatest has always been Twilight Time. Created in 2011, Twilight Time was the brainchild of Brian Jamieson and Nick Redman, the niche label worked to release classic films and off-beat independent cinema on glittering Blu-rays.
Many of the films they licensed had never been released on Blu and with their assortment of bonus features, limited editions, and in-depth essays (written by Redman’s wife and partner, Julie Kirgo), Twilight Time gave Criterion a run for their money. And when I started Journeys in Classic Film, Twilight Time was one of the most forthcoming distributors I met. Jamieson and Redman never hesitated to send me screeners of all their releases and really helped the site thrive in its early days.
But as we’re seeing with classic cinema the world over, physical production and access is getting harder. When Redman passed away earlier this year, many people wondered what Twilight Time would do. I was asked by numerous people, who knew I reviewed Twilight Time titles, if I knew what the site would do, especially considering they’ve been radio silent on releases over the last few months. I decided to reach out to Jamieson directly and asked about the fate of Twilight Time.
Jamieson admitted that Redman’s passing was certainly a factor, saying he was “the best business partner and friend a man could have.” He says that, as a result, the company is on a “hiatus” as they decide how best to proceed. Another factor is, of course, the issues inherent in releasing physical content. As we’ve seen with the advent of streaming, the contentious issue of licensing rights, and the soft DVD/Blu-ray market, it’s hard being a niche label selling a niche product. Jamieson says, “We are trying to determine whether or not our original business model is still valid.” The air of uncertainty continues as Jamieson says it would be in everyone’s best interest to buy the Twilight Titles they might be waiting on.
The obvious implication is that TT is closing up shop, though that might be a hasty decision. Several of TT’s Blu-rays were Fox films and with the recent merger between Fox and Disney, those titles will probably not have their licensing renewed and will be swallowed in the Disney vault. So, yes, you’ll want to snag those ASAP. In fact, with the new year arriving licensing rights could be expiring at several studios. Jamieson follows this up saying that purchases could also “stimulate” the company, proving that there is an audience wanting their product and possibly aiding in future licensing negotiations.
Either way, I hope we don’t lose Twilight Time. I’ve seen so many movies I’d have never watched because of them. Some of my favorite releases are their features. And with classic films being stuck behind paywalls or still stuck in vaults because the studio assumes they aren’t worth the investment, Twilight Time championed them. Whatever decision they make I’ll support, but it seeks to remind us that it’s a dangerous time to be a classic film fan.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.