Milestone was started in 1990 by Amy Heller and Dennis Doros out of their New York City one-bedroom apartment and has since gained an international reputation for releasing classic cinema masterpieces, groundbreaking documentaries, and American independent features. Since 2007, Milestone has concentrated on the restoration and worldwide distribution of films outside the Hollywood mainstream featuring “lost” films by and about African Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQ and women. Milestone's motto (in polite company) is “We like to mess with the canon.”
Thanks to the company’s work in rediscovering and releasing important films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache, Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, Kent Mackenzie’s The Exiles, Lionel Rogosin’s On the Bowery, Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba, Marcel Ophuls’s The Sorrow and the Pity, the Mariposa Film Group’s Word is Out, Billy Woodberry's Bless Their Little Hearts, Lois Weber's Shoes and The Dumb Girl of Portici, Shirley Clarke's Portrait of Jason, The Connection and Ornette: Made in America, Milestone has long occupied a position as one of the country’s most influential independent distributors.
In 1995, Milestone received the first Special Archival Award from the National Society of Film Critics for its restoration and release of I Am Cuba. Manohla Dargis, then at the LA Weekly, chose Milestone as the 1999 “Indie Distributor of the Year.” In 2004, the National Society of Film Critics again awarded Milestone with a Film Heritage award. That same year the International Film Seminars presented the company its prestigious Leo Award and the New York Film Critics Circle voted a Special Award “in honor of 15 years of restoring classic films.” In November 2007, Milestone was awarded the Fort Lee Film Commission’s first Lewis Selznick Award for contributions to film history. Milestone/Milliarium won Best Rediscovery from the Il Cinema Ritrovato DVD Awards for its release of Winter Soldier in 2006 and again in 2010 for The Exiles.
In January 2008, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association chose to give its first Legacy of Cinema Award to Dennis Doros and Amy Heller of Milestone Film & Video “for their tireless efforts on behalf of film restoration and preservation.” And in March 2008, Milestone became an Anthology Film Archive’s Film Preservation honoree. In 2009, Dennis Doros was elected as one of the Directors of the Board of the Association of the Moving Image Archivists and established the organization’s press office in 2010.
In 2011, Milestone was the first distributor ever chosen for two Film Heritage Awards in the same year by the National Society of Film Critics for the release of On the Bowery and Word is Out. The American Library Association also selected Word is Out for their Notable Videos for Adult, the first classic film ever so chosen.
In December 2012, Milestone became the first-ever two-time winner of the prestigious New York Film Critics’ Circle’s Special Award, this time for its work in restoring, preserving and distributing the films of iconoclast director Shirley Clarke.
In 2016, Dennis Doros was presented with the William S. O'Farrell Volunteer Award “in recognition of his significant contributions to AMIA and to the field.”
In 2017, Milestone raised over $3000 for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Dennis Doros was elected President of the Association of Moving Image Archivists and Milestone was presented the Barrymore Award by the Fort Lee Film Commission.
Important contemporary artists who have co-presented Milestone restorations include Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Barbara Kopple, Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh, Thelma Schoonmaker, Jonathan Demme, Dustin Hoffman, Charles Burnett and Sherman Alexie.
“They care and they love movies.”— Martin Scorsese
“Milestone Film & Video is an art-film distributor that has released some of the most distinguished new movies (along with seldom-seen vintage movie classics) of the past decade.”— Stephen Holden, New York Times
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