Kickstarters are a dime a dozen, so when we decide to write about one, the goal is to inform our nerdy audience of a project that seems like it will benefit the world. This one fits the bill: The Scarecrow Project is well on its way to buying out the world’s largest video store and transforming it to non-profit status to become the largest single library of film and video. Read on for more details.
In 1988, George and Rebecca Latsios opened Scarecrow Video, one of the thousands of Mom & Pop video rental stores springing up across America at the time. George had a passion for film, having rented out his personal library of 200 movies at another store starting in 1986. Located in the University District of Seattle, the store was always a friendly place that welcome cinephiles (full disclosure: I live in Seattle and visit this store regularly). In 1995, George was diagnosed with brain cancer and told he had just six months to live. He responded by buying movies for the store in massive, gigantic amounts. It led to money problems and he sold the store in 1999 to Carl Tostevin and some other investors. From there, it continued to grow and grow and now offers over 120,000 movies and tv shows on VHS, DVD, VCD, Blu-Ray and more. Many of the films they offer are out of print and difficult to find.
The location is a gorgeous library of film that continues to pull in all new releases and has segmented itself down into categories that are very specific. For instance, within the Horror area, you can find Killer Animals or Giallo or Supernatural. They also have a coffee shop and a small screening room. Every night of the week there is programming, from live film podcast shows to screenings to lectures and signings by film professionals. Unfortunately, the business is no longer sustainable. The world has moved over to streaming films which is convenient but can’t offer the sheer scope or depth of film that Scarecrow houses. They have more film than the Library of Congress or any film studio. It’s a library worth preserving and sharing.
That’s the goal of this new Kickstarter. They aim to raise the funds to take over Scarecrow and turn it into a non-profit so that the doors stay open. For film historians and fans alike, this invaluable resource deserves to live on. The project is a four-pillared mission: Preservation, Access, Education and Community. If you love film, please consider reading up on this Kickstarter.