Celluloid Records was a French label & distributor founded in Paris in 1979 by Jean Karakos, Gilbert Castro and Jean-François Bizot. Initially specialized in importing European hits records for the French market. Soon after the creation of Celluloid, Karakos, with more international ambitions for the label, proposed to move to New York. Castro and Bizot refused, so Celluloid split in two, with Karakos starting a new life for Celluloid in New York in 1981, while the French Celluloid continued in Paris for a while.
The label then began to focus on experimental music and cross-cultural fusion sounds. Shortly after, Celluloid began a long and fruitful relationship with Bill Laswell who produced many of its recordings in the first half of the 80's.
In the 80's, Celluloid produced a large amount of records which to this day are regularly quoted as having a significant cultural influence. The default position of "way ahead of the time" was great for the label´s reputation but not always great for its financial situation. In 1988 Celluloid went bankrupt and Jean Karakos returned to Paris.
After years of breadline-indie-label-toil Jean's ship finally came in when he found, signed and released the only pop release of his career; "The Lambada", with the help of his A&R man of that time, Robert Soares, becoming one of the biggest global hits of 1989.
In 1990, the rights to all the Celluloid master recordings were transfered to American record distributor, John Matarazzo, who was also the executive producer behind Bill Laswell's and Robert Soares´ Subharmonic and Strata labels between 1993 and 1995. On August 1994, Adageo BV purchased all rights to the Celluloid catalog and name. Adageo remain the owners to the present day.
In 2010, Jean returned to A&R duties of Celluloid Records. With the renewed interest in the early 80's New York culture, the label plans to release some compilations featuring previously unheard Celluloid recordings from the period, while new projects are in the works.