As Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics, which is celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016, Tom Bernard (with Michael Barker), has distributed (and quite often produced), some of the finest independent movies over the past 30 years. Previously he was an executive at United Artists (1980-1983) and went on to co-found Orion Classics (1983-1991) and Sony Pictures Classics.
Over the span of his career, Bernard’s films have received 163 Academy Award® nominations including several for Best Picture: WHIPLASH; AMOUR; Woody Allen’s most successful film of all time, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS; AN EDUCATION; CAPOTE for which Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award® for Best Actor; CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, recognized as the highest grossing foreign film of all time in North America; and HOWARDS END. His companies’ Academy Award® nominations resulted in 37 wins (most recently László Nemes’ SON OF SAUL for Best Foreign Language Film), including 5 for Best Documentary Feature, including SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN, INSIDE JOB and FOG OF WAR, and 13 for Best Foreign Language Film which include BABETTE’S FEAST, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, A SEPARATION, AMOUR and SON OF SAUL.
Bernard has collaborated with some of the world’s finest filmmakers including Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Mike Leigh, Louis Malle, and Zhang Yimou, all of whom he’s worked with on multiple occasions, as well as Robert Altman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Suzanne Bier, Ingmar Bergman, Francis Coppola, David Cronenberg, Guillermo del Toro, the Dardenne brothers, Jonathan Demme, R W Fassbinder, Michael Haneke, Nicole Holofcener, Akira Kurosawa, Norman Jewison, Ang Lee, Richard Linklater, David Mamet, Errol Morris, Roman Polanski, Sally Potter, Francois Truffaut, and Wim Wenders. Over the years, Bernard has released features from American masters (ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, SWEET AND LOWDOWN) and new American filmmakers (TAKE SHELTER, POLLOCK, SLACKER, WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, FROZEN RIVER); cutting edge films (KUNG FU HUSTLE, MOON, ORLANDO, RUN LOLA RUN, THE RAID); animated features (THE TRIPLETS OF BELLVILLE, PERSEPOLIS, WALTZ WITH BASHIR); feature documentaries (DOGTOWN AND THE Z BOYS, CRUMB, WINGED MIGRATION, IT MIGHT GET LOUD, THE GATEKEEPERS, TIM’S VERMEER, THE ARMSTRONG LIE) and foreign films (RAN, A PROPHET, WHITE RIBBON, TALK TO HER, CENTRAL STATION, WINGS OF DESIRE).
He and his colleagues have also restored and theatrically reissued some of the great films of the past including THE PASSENGER, THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI CONTINIS, MURMUR OF THE HEART, and the classic films by Indian master Satyajit Ray.
Bernard was previously the co-founder of Orion Classics (1983-1991), which released Akira Kurosawa’s Oscar®-winning film RAN. Bernard also ran the first studio specialized distribution company, United Artists Classics (1981-1983) where he released films by R.W. Fassbinder (LOLA, VERONIKA VOSS) and François Truffaut (THE LAST METRO). He is the New Jersey State Film Commissioner and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Sundance Advisory Board, the Los Angeles Film Festival Advisory Board, the Count Basie Theatre Foundation Board of Directors, the Atlantic Highland Arts Council Advisory Board and the Monmouth County Arts Council, as well as Theatre-Chair for the Asbury Park Music in Film Festival. He and Mr. Barker have been recognized for their work with the insignia of Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government and the Spirit of Independence Award from Film Independent at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival. Most recently, he and Mr. Barker were awarded the esteemed French Legion of Honor from the French government in acknowledgment for their contributions to French culture over the past 30 years. Mr. Bernard has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Sony Pictures Classics most recently released LAND OF MINE (Martin Zandvliet); THE COMEDIAN (Taylor Hackford); THE RED TURTLE (Michael Dudok de Wit); TONI ERDMANN (Maren Ade); JULIETA (Pedro Almodóvar); ELLE (Paul Verhoeven) and THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (Otto Bell).
Upcoming releases include 13 MINUTES (Fred Breinersdorfer); PARIS CAN WAIT (Eleanor Coppola); NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER (Joseph Cedar), THE LEISURE SEEKER (Paolo Virzì) and MAUDIE (Aisling Walsh).