Michael Barker is the co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics (with Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom), an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment founded in January 1992. Sony Pictures Classics distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from the United States and around the world.
The trio has worked with many of the world's finest independent filmmakers including Akira Kurosawa, John Boorman, Louis Malle, David Mamet, James Ivory, Zhang Yimou, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Allison Anders, Agniezska Holland, John Sayles, Fred Schepisi, Errol Morris, Alan Rudolph, Hal Hartley, Pedro Almodóvar, Mike Figgis, Woody Allen, François Truffaut, R.W. Fassbinder, Lily Tomlin, Richard Linklater, Merchant Ivory, Neil LaBute, Sally Potter, David Cronenberg, Hector Babenco, Guillermo del Toro, Gary Oldman, Paul Schrader, Robert Altman, Ingmar Bergman, Norman Jewison, Ang Lee, Paul Verhhoeven, Kenneth Branagh and Francis Ford Coppola.
Current and Upcoming Releases
Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen), Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (Michael Rapaport), Life Above All (Oliver Schmitz), The Guard (John Michael McDonagh), Higher Ground (Vera Farmiga), Restless (Gus Van Sant), Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols), The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar), In Darkness (Agnieszka Holland), Carnage (Roman Polanski), A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg) and Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman)
They have been involved with some of the best and most successful independent films from the past two decades including:
Highlights at Sony Pictures Classics (1992 – present)
POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Morgan Spurlock), Incendies (Denis Villeneuve), In a Better World (Susanne Bier), Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois), Barney's Version (Richard J. Lewis), Another Year (Mike Leigh), The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet), Inside Job (Charles Ferguson), You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Woody Allen), Animal Kingdom (David Michôd), Get Low (Aaron Schneider), The Secret in Their Eyes (Juan Jose Campanella), Mother and Child (Rodrigo Garcia), Micmacs (Jean-Pierre Jeunet), Wild Grass (Alain Resnais), Please Give (Nicole Holofcener), A Prophet (Un Prophete) (Jacques Audiard), The Last Station (Michael Hoffman), The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam), Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodovar), An Education (Lone Scherfig), Coco Before Chanel (Anne Fontaine), It Might Get Loud (Davis Guggenheim), Whatever Works (Woody Allen), Moon (Duncan Jones), Tyson (James Toback), Every Little Step (James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo), Sugar (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck), The Class (Laurent Cantet), Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman), Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman), I've Loved You So Long (Philippe Claudel), Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme), Frozen River (Courtney Hunt), The Wackness (Jonathan Levine), Redbelt (David Mamet), Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris), Married Life (Ira Sachs), The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitzky), The Band's Visit (Eran Kolirin), Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud), The Jane Austen Book Club (Robin Swicord), Interview (Steve Buscemi), Paprika (Satoshi Kon), Angel-A (Luc Besson), The Valet (Francis Veber), Black Book (Paul Verhoeven), The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck), Volver (Pedro Almodóvar), Quinceneara (Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer), Who Killed the Electric Car? (Chris Payne), Friends With Money (Nicole Holofcener), The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones), Why We Fight (Eugene Jarecki), Cache (Michael Haneke), Breakfast on Pluto (Neil Jordan), Capote (Bennett Miller), 2046 (Wong Kar Wai), Junebug (Phil Morrison), House of Flying Daggers (Zhang Yimou), Saraband (Ingmar Bergman), Kung Fu Hustle (Steven Chow), Spider (David Cronenberg), Baadasssss! (Mario Van Peebles), The Company (Robert Altman), The Fog of War (Errol Morris), Triplets of Bellville (Sylvain Chomet), Winged Migration (Jacques Perrin), All the Real Girls (David Gordon Green), 13 Conversations About One Thing (Jill Sprecher), Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar), Dogtown and Z Boys (Stacy Peralta), Pollock (Ed Harris), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee), Sweet and Lowdown (Woody Allen), American Movie (Chris Smith), Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer), The General (John Boorman), Central Station (Walter Salles), The Opposite of Sex (David Roos), Spanish Prisoner (David Mamet), In the Company of Men (Neil LaBute), Suburbia (Richard Linklater), Waiting for Guffman (Chris Guest), Lone Star (John Sayles), Welcome to the Dollhouse (Todd Solondz), The City of Lost Children (Jean Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro), Safe (Todd Haynes), Persuasion (Roger Michell), Crumb (Terry Zwigoff), Vanya on 42nd Street (Louis Malle), Mi Vida Loca (Allison Anders), Orlando (Sally Potter) and Howards End (Merchant Ivory).
Highlights At Orion Classics (1983 - 1992)
Pauline, At the Beach, Ran, My Beautiful Launderette, Jean De Florette, Babette's Feast*, Au Revoir Les Enfants, Wings of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Murmur of the Heart, Chocolat, Mystery Train, Cyranon De Bergerac*, Europa Europa, Slacker, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Raise the Red Lantern, The Adjuster.
Highlights At United Artists Classics (1981 - 1983)
The Last Metro, Diva, Lola, The Night of Shooting Stars, The Last Waltz (reissue).
Sony Pictures Classics has also played a significant role in preserving film's heritage. Together with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Merchant Ivory Foundation, they have restored and released nine of master filmmaker Satyajit Ray's greatest works. They have also preserved and reissued Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger and Vittorio de Sica's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. In 2006, SPC re-issued eight Pedro Almodóvar films in the United States.
As a co-founder of Orion Classics (1983-1991) and an executive at United Artists (1980-1983), Barker released films by Akira Kurosawa (Ran), R.W. Fassbinder (Lola, Veronika Voss), and Francois Truffaut (The Last Metro).
Honors bestowed on his team and their films include 27 Academy Awards (23 at Sony Classics) and 116 Academy Award nominations (93 at Sony Classics), including four for Best Picture (Howards End, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Capote, An Education), as well as twelve Opening Night Presentations at the New York Film Festival (eight at Sony Classics).
He and his partner Tom Bernard (with SPC co-founder Marcie Bloom) have also received the Honors Award from the Directors Guild of America, France's Chevalier, Order of Arts and Letters, the IFP/West Sprit Awards, the GLAAD Media Award, a recent retrospective at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, the Gotham Industry Lifetime Achievement Award from the IFP, and the FINDIE Spirit Award.
Mr. Barker serves on the Entertainment Media and Technology Dean's Advisory Board at NYU's Stern School of Business and is a member of the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas. He was born in Nuremberg, Germany.
*At Orion Classics