Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Scarecrow Video and Grand Illusion Cinema to found The Scarecrow Project in Fall 2014

Major news for Seattle! The beginnings of Scarecrow Video's salvaging of the business and creation of a foundation for their future stability. One of the most significant cinema resources in North America is looking to sign a new lease on life, as "Scarecrow Video Seeks Second Act as a Nonprofit" and you can be a part of making that happen! Today's Scarecrow Video: A Letter from Our Owners announces their partnering with The Grand Illusion Cinema to convert Scarecrow to nonprofit status with the backing of the store's owners Carl Tostevin and Mickey McDonough who are donating their assets, namely the legendary inventory of approximately 120,000 titles. A Kickstarter campaign to fund the process of The Scarecrow Project transition begins this week. All you film lovers, if ever there was a time you were considering re-investing in the irreplaceable cultural institution that is Scarecrow, this is it.

For all the cynics, layabouts and stay-at-home viewers out there, I would argue Scarecrow Video remains (or is even moreso) relevant in the age of Netflix, iTunes and Amazon. When most online streaming services are limited to the contemporary of-this-decade hits, blockbusters, currently talked-about tv series and a smattering of 'classics' and genre and archive titles -- the largest independent video store in North America with a catalog of 120,000 titles -- is a more significant resource than ever. Especially considering a good percentage of those hundred thousand plus titles are out of print, only released in foreign countries, alternate cuts than the commercially released editions and/or are films that have been made unavailable due to licensing issues. The things that make your city something exceptional, that make it not another iteration of the suburbs or 'new urbanism's commercial sprawl, are local retailers like this, offering cultural opportunities that you cannot have anywhere else. Literally, anywhere. Physical or virtual.

Some years ago when we saw the first wave of significant gouges to the cultural face of the city, (The Neptune, The Egyptian Theater, Half Price Books Capitol Hill, Spine & Crown, Easy Street Records, Twice Sold Tales in the U-District, etc.) IFC published a piece on Seattle, calling Scarecrow and it's surrounding half-mile "The Best Film Corner in America". Locally, around this time there was sent up a rallying cry to inspire the cultural participants of our community to prioritize attending any and all art openings at small galleries, film screenings at independent theaters, give business to the remaining local book and record stores, making a point of supporting smaller, outside-the-rock-bar music venues. Stressing that if we didn't --- these things that define the urban environment from that of the suburbs --- would be hit hardest by the recession and the related/enabled land development. Here we are again, more relevant and pressing than ever. With The Scarecrow Project we're being given an opportunity to sustain and preserve an essential component of the cinema arts community before it's eroded in such a fashion as to never again be re-established.