October Kitchen - January 2022

This Connecticut Studio Does — And Even Restored the ‘80s Film ‘New York Ninja’ WHO SAVES LOST MOVIES ANYMORE?

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CT Post. “Even though it was originally shot in ‘84, we did a lot of production work to finish it.” He attempted to reach out to the original director but learned that Liu was “living off the grid” and no longer wanted to be involved with his film career. Unfortunately, “New York Ninja” had no audio — that meant no script or dialogue. The folks at Vinegar Syndrome had to invent it all. As the director for the official release of “New York Ninja,” Spieler constructed a script and vocal talent to recreate dialogue as well as find era-specific music and sound effects to blend effortlessly into the movie’s visuals. “People have been frankly surprised with what we have been able to do.” The “New York Ninja” release marks the start of Vinegar Syndrome’s new label, Vinegar Syndrome Pictures, which is a “sub-branding dedicated specifically to the production and distribution of carefully curated, often daring, first fun, genre-based feature films exclusively photographed on motion picture film.” Currently, the company plans for a theatrical release of “New York Ninja’’ in 2022. Keep an eye on local theaters and support this awesome local studio’s mission to find other unfinished films that deserve to be finished!

Not all movies make it to the silver screen. Whether due to production or logistical problems, many of these “lost movies” are gone forever — until they’re found by film geeks who make it their mission to complete them. That’s how the team at Vinegar Syndrome, a Bridgeport-based film restoration and distribution company, unearthed the 1984 unfinished movie “New York Ninja” and restored it to completion. Many of the films in their archive often disappear over the years, but at Vinegar Syndrome, movies find a new home and are released on beautifully packaged DVDs. “New York Ninja” is about a news station technician (played by the original director John Liu) who takes on the titular moniker in order to avenge the death of his wife. The movie was among a catalogue of films that Vinegar Syndrome acquired from 21st Century Distribution Corporation, which went defunct in the 1980s. The unedited, original camera rolls for “New York Ninja” were included; however, their staff only realized they were there while taking inventory of their new catalog. After some discussion, Kurtis Spieler convinced the owners of




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Vinegar Syndrome to give him a budget to finish the movie.

It took over two years. “This was kind of an original production for us, sort of,” Spieler told

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