From time to time, your friends at Paste scour the crowdfunding sites to find projects worthy of your support and love. Support independent art today by becoming a backer, and spread the word, why dontcha?
Today’s crowdfunding pick of the moment, once again, has a personal significance. I first met Maggie Mackay at a SXSW party in Los Angeles a couple of years back. Rosie Wong, who runs Industry for Sundance, introduced us and had great things to say about her. I had just been named the new Creative Director of Sarasota Film Festival; she had been a programmer at AFI Fest and LA Film Fest, as well as serving as Director of Nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards. She was looking to maybe get back into the festival game.
That meeting proved to be a lifesaver for me, as Maggie became my right hand during that first year of running Sarasota. I had no idea how much I’d need an experienced programmer by my side. There’s no way that first year’s fest would have been even half as good without her. I was both heartbroken and overjoyed when she left the next year to run the Aspen Film Festival herself.
But now she’s moved into yet another intriguing space, the video rental game. Much like Scarecrow Video in Seattle, Videodrome in Atlanta, Video Strip in Chicago and Video Free Brooklyn in New York City, Los Angeles’ Vidiots is basically a civic institution, a crucial bulwark against the dying of the neighborhood video store. In fact, when Entertainment Weekly published its “50 cool video stores that still remain (as of this morning),” Vidiots was the very first store mentioned.
It’s a nonprofit (newly minted, as of recently). It’s woman-founded (by Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber) and woman-run. It’s a key force in the preservation of cultural life in LA. And now my friend Maggie is its Executive Director.
I hesitate to even call it a store, because it’s so much more than that. There’s a 48-seat mini-theater that you can rent for a very reasonable fee (all my fellow filmmakers know how rare THAT is in Los Angeles). There’s the year-round film education program. There’s the Harry Dean Stanton Award they’re inaugurating next month, with an event including Stanton, Kris Kristofferson, Father John Misty, Karen O and many others. And then of course, there’s the collection—more than 50,000 titles, including a rare VHS collection.
Rewards? You want rewards? How about the chance to name that 11,000-title, rare VHS library after yourself (or your parents, or your spouse, or your dog, or whomever)? That will set you back $10,000, but for only $3,000 you can name their micro-cinema for a year. For only $600 a staff member will interview you about your film likes and dislikes and will curate an eight-film box set for you. For $150, if you’re a filmmaker, you can add your film to the in-store “Spotlight Shelf.” Heck, for only $35 you can get a pretty cool tote bag with that awesome Vidiots logo.
It’s a cause well worth supporting, and a team well worth supporting. You can find all the details of the Indiegogo campaign here.