Santa Monica’s longtime local video store, Vidiots, is about to shutter its doors. But not forever …
Vidiots has weathered multiple format changes over the years, from VHS to DVD, Blu-ray to streaming, and the cinema staple intends to keep on. But the first step is finding a new location so the business can remain sustainable and grow its nonprofit foundation.
In a statement released today, executive director Maggie Mackay said that financial backer Annapurna Pictures — the award-winning production company founded by Megan Ellison — would be keeping the store afloat during the transition, with the intent of reopening in 2018. Annapurna also stepped in when it seemed likely Vidiots would close completely two years ago. That means the folks behind Vidiots have a year to find storage for their vast DVD collection, as well as their staggeringly huge, 50,000-deep VHS collection, which Annapurna’s going to help digitize.
Vidiots also will get a temporary screening room by partnering with the Theatre at Ace Hotel, which will host the store's events in its 50-seat Mary Pickford Screening Room. Last year, the two entities partnered for the huge inaugural Harry Dean Stanton Award ceremony, so it’s likely the Ace will be in for round two, whoever receives the award.
If you’re worried about not being able to find that rare film that’ll never ever make it to streaming, Vidiots will become a pop-up library, busting out its collection (with careful curating, because it can't bring all of it) for rent.
So even though Santa Monica is bidding farewell to its fantastic video store of the last 30 years, the transition will be better for the film community in general. As rentals declined, founders Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber began focusing more of their efforts on defining what film means to the community.
Vidiots' screenings and events show rare, one-of-a-kind films with diverse voices, the kind of work that didn’t make the history books but should have. And by expanding the foundation and bringing film to the people — while making a case for the continued existence of video stores, where strangers can connect and share their recommendations and discover movies they never would have found on their own — Vidiots is ensuring its legacy long into the future.