Engel also co-founded UK distributor New Wave Films
Art-house “trailblazer” Pamela Engel
, known for co-founding distributor Artificial Eye
and programming London cinemas including the Lumiere, Chelsea Cinema, Camden Plaza and the Renoir, has died aged 82.
A huge figure in the UK’s independent film business, Engel’s death has sparked messages of praise across the distribution and exhibition sectors.
Born Pamela Balfry in 1934, the UK executive started out in the late 1950s as a secretary for then Sight and Sound editor Penelope Houston.
She would go on to work as an assistant to Richard Roud at the London and New York Film Festivals before joining Derek Hill
’s art-house venue Essential Cinema in the late 1960s.
Balfry and first husband Andi Engel
established distributor Artificial Eye
in 1976, thus “beginning an odyssey of distribution and exhibition unlikely ever to be surpassed,” in the words of former London Film Festival director Sheila Whitaker.