HOW IT STARTED

``The Cutting Edge'' was born in 1988, after a New York film-lover named Wendy Lidell realized a surprising fact: that Americans have been seeing foreign pictures much less often than they did a few years ago. Ms. Lidell decided to do something about this through the International Film Circuit, an organization founded to promote foreign-film distribution. She and the IFC put together a series of six non-American movies. Then they made contact with enterprising theaters across the United States, which arranged to show the films under the ``Cutting Edge'' logo.

The project was a success, bringing features from such countries as China, the Netherlands, and Brazil to a sizable list of American movie houses.

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