In January, Bingham Ray died. A lot of moviegoers probably wouldn't have recognized his name, but if they loved independent film in the 1990s, they knew his work. The co-founder of October Films, Ray had helped distribute movies by Mike Leigh (Life Is Sweet, Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy), Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves), David Lynch (Lost Highway), and others. Even after October Films folded, Ray was seen as one of the champions of smaller films that might not have made it to the U.S. without his help. During the '90s, the October logo in the titles was a hell of a stamp of approval.
On Friday, Adam Yauch died. He had a more famous name than Ray did, and most of the obituaries have focused on his 33-year career with Beastie Boys. But he was also one of the two men (with THINKFilm executive David Fenkel) who founded Oscilloscope, which had started distributing art-house features and documentaries in 2008 with an October Films-like sense of what was good.