A documentary about the love of cinema and the video stores that keep the history of film alive and available to everyone!
It began as the history and celebration of an amazing film collection in Hamden, Connecticut called Best Video. But it’s becoming so much more. It’s the story of the greatest film archives in this country with the addition of Scarecrow Video in Seattle, Movie Madness in Portland, Video Horizons in the very small town of Astoria, Oregon, Beyond Videoin Baltimore…and that’s only the start. We plan on visiting a half dozen of the other great archives around the country: Vidiots, Black Lodge, We Luv Video, VideoDrome, Odd Obsession, and Videotheque.
We will tell THE story about a man who, in 1985, decided he needed to open a video store with a mere 500 titles that he personally could endorse. The big boys, the Blockbusters and Hollywood Videos, and even the independent competitors in town, laughed at his idea of a curated collection. They didn’t take a small store in Hamden seriously.
But we all know the David vs. Goliath fable, and as the years flew by, and our hero’s collection of classics, foreign, and indie films grew, the big boys began to stumble. Their inventory of popular hits handed over by teenagers making minimum wage seemed inconvenient and old in comparison to the growing popularity of streaming video.
But yet, our hero marched on. As the big box video stores shuttered their doors, his store grew in size and stature. His staff of film geeks and cinephiles became trusted and renowned for their “staff picks.” And the shop became a gathering place, a coffee shop, a performance space, a screening room, and the 500 film titles multiplied 84 times over until four decades later some 42,000 films lined the hand-made shelves. Floor-to-ceiling films, every genre, every director, one of the largest libraries of its kind…in the world. And in this time of algorithms and influencers, it became a reminder of how cinematic culture was once discussed, revered, and shared, and why its preservation was so important. Best Video, along with other great stores across the country, became a home to the art of cinema, a church of worship to the men and women who brought stories to screens both large and small. It is the history of cinema in a few very large rooms.
This is a documentary about a man named Hank Paper, and a dream he had to create the best video store the world had ever known. It’s a story about pockets of film lovers across the U.S. who refused to allow the Netflixs and Hulus of the world decide what we would watch.
It’s the story of a handful of video shops who more than survived, they fought back and stood the test of time. They gave a collective shrug to the immediate gratification culture of streaming and proved that in some cases size does count, with more films than all the streaming services combined!
This is the story of Best Video AND the best video stores of all time.
Directed by Gorman Bechard
Written by Gorman Bechard & Faith Marek
Produced by Gorman Bechard, Kaity Bolding & Faith Marek
Edited by Faith Marek
Music by Dean Falcone
Please visit our Kickstarter campaign