Sunday, July 22, 2012

A plea (for $$$, what else?) as Aaron and Jennifer Hillis bring movie culture to Bklyn

Yes, BAM exists. So Brooklyn does have some movie culture. But what if you want to stay home and curl up with a good film?

TM is often going on about how sad it is that your local neighborhood video store has died (we have but one left here in Jackson Heights, Queens, where a half dozen successful video stores were open and running when we moved here 18 years ago). So it seems but fitting that he tell you about a compatriot of his who, along with said compatriot's wife, has bought and renovated a local video store in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where they are trying to make a go of things -- first off, by raising enough money to renovate the store properly.

I'll let Aaron Hillis himself explain it to you, via this email (below) that I received from him earlier today. I've given a (very small) amount toward the renovation, and if you have a few spare bucks, maybe you can, too. (Or more, of course, if you're anywhere near that fabled "one per cent"...) Together, we'll have helped make sure that smart movie-watching can continue -- at least in one small area of one of NYC's boroughs.


As you may know, Jennifer and I recently bought a video store in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn...

Video Free Brooklyn is up and running/renting! We are currently in the final 5 days of our IndieGoGo campaign to fund necessary repairs and renovations to get the building up to snuff and create a clean, more inviting environment for patrons and employees.

Why take over a video store in the Netflix, Hulu and iTunes era? There are lots of ways of seeing movies, but we're setting out to reinvent an antiquated model, to help preserve our relationship with film culture. If you can, imagine a well-curated DVD/Blu-ray rental store staffed by some of the brightest minds working in the NYC film industry today (filmmakers, critics, publicists, distributors), which could transform into an intimate event space for free screenings (after-hours for adults, Saturday mornings for kids) and special behind-the-counter guests including actors and filmmakers. We imagine the joint as a film-cultural hangout.

Our campaign ends July 26. We plan to complete these renovations during the last two weeks of summer, and need your help. To find out more information, please visit our IndieGoGo page. (Editor's note: And watch the funny, charming video the Hillises have provided on the site.) In exchange for your financial support, we promise to reward you with free rentals (at any level), t-shirts, tote bags -- and for a lucky few, the opportunity to meet Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Bobcat Goldthwait, or Robert Downey Sr. (a prince), thanks to their generous support.

If you cannot donate, we would love if you would help spread the word through your Twitter or Facebook account, or personal blogs. We have less than a week left in this campaign and need all the help we can get!

Please check out our Twitter and Facebook accounts to see what’s new on the shelves, and find out more about Video Free Brooklyn. The Wall St. Journal filled in some of our history in a feature earlier this summer (Editor's note: the Hillises and their store were also featured as the lead-off to an article in last week's New York Observer.)

Thanks for the support, especially if you've already given!

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