New York-based Zeitgeist Films was founded in 1988 in a single office. They have acquired and distributed over 200 of the finest independent films from the U.S. and around the world including the early works of Todd Haynes, Christopher Nolan, François Ozon, Laura Poitras, Atom Egoyan and the Quay Brothers. Their catalog has included films from the world's most outstanding filmmakers including Agnes Varda, Guy Maddin, Olivier Assayas, Jia Zhang-ke, Abbas Kiarostami, Derek Jarman, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Peter Greenaway, Philippe Garrel, Yvonne Rainer, Jan Svankmajer, Margarethe Von Trotta, Andrei Zyvagintsev and Raoul Peck. Zeitgeist is renowned for ground-breaking documentaries which include Ballets Russes, Bill Cunningham New York, The Corporation, Derrida, Into Great Silence, Manufactured Landscapes, My Country My Country, Trouble the Water, Last Train Home, Up the Yangtze and many more.
Five Zeitgeist films have been nominated for Academy Awards and one, Nowhere in Africa, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003. Zeitgeist’s films have been honored by festivals throughout the world with Grand Prizes at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Tribeca, and IDFA in Amsterdam. The Museum of Modern Art honored Zeitgeist with a month-long, 20th anniversary retrospective of their films in 2008.
In 2017, Zeitgeist entered into a multi-year strategic alliance with renowned film distributor Kino Lorber and under that banner continues to release notable films like Michal Aviad’s Working Woman, Alexandra Dean’s Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Alison Reid’s The Woman Who Loved Giraffes, Astra Taylor’s What Is Democracy?, Matt Tyrnauer’s Studio 54, and Matt Wolf’s Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project. Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You and Ric Burns’ Oliver Sacks: His Own Life will be released this spring, continuing the Zeitgeist tradition of distributing quality documentaries and narrative films.
Nancy Gerstman is co-president and co-founder of Zeitgeist Films. She has worked in all aspects of film distribution and exhibition including a stint at Landmark Theatre Corp., the largest independent theatre chain in the US. She is in demand as a juror, panelist and commentator on issues related to independent and foreign language film and is Permanent Artist-in-Residence in the Master's Program in Media and Communication Arts at CCNY. She has been a member of the AMPAS Executive Branch since 2017.
Emily Russo is co-president and co-founder of Zeitgeist Films. Born and raised in Roslyn, Long Island, she graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a degree in Cinema Studies. For several years following her academic career, she resided in Heidelberg Germany. She formally entered the film business in Munich, where she served as a production coordinator for a popular children’s television program. Prior to founding Zeitgeist Films she was Head of Theatrical Sales at Interama Inc., which specialized in French language releases. She has been a member of the AMPAS Executive Branch since 2017.