Scarecrow Video, the venerated Seattle-based video store, is donating its library to a non-profit collective in an effort to preserve the world’s largest “home video” collection of film and television with over 120,000 VHS, laserdiscs, VCDs, DVDs and Blu-ray titles. “The Scarecrow Project” has launched a Kickstarter campaign to aid in the creation of the non-profit, ensuring this collection’s survival, which includes many rare titles and some titles that are the only known copies in existence outside of private ownership. The public’s support is needed to make this transition to non-profit with a donation here.
The transition of the video store to streaming & vending machine services has been chronicled widely, but the creation of “The Scarecrow Project” will ensure the security of Scarecrow Video by creating a non-profit to administer the vast collection, operate the organization and acquire new films. The Scarecrow Project joins the ranks of esteemed institutions like The American Film Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, The Film Foundation, American Genre Film Archive, and The Film Noir Foundation with a commitment to preserving film history.
“Preserving this library means an enormous wealth of film history remains available for public consumption. Accessibility of this collection strikes at the heart of the home video ethos – put the movie selection experience in the hands of the many instead of the few. It is not our job to decide what movies or television shows people should watch. We simply want to make as much available as possible so that current and future generations get to fall in love with them again and again,” said The Scarecrow Project Co-Founder Kate Barr.
“Scarecrow Video is a treasure that we just can’t lose. I travel the world, and it’s the most comprehensive video store I’ve ever seen,” said Academy Award-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, The Aviator, The Departed) and film preservationist.
Alamo Drafthouse CEO/Founder Tim League said, “Scarecrow Video is one of if not THE most important archive of our movie heritage. It is also the most vulnerable. It is our duty and obligation as movie fans to support their mission and help them evolve, strengthen and grow. A future without Scarecrow Video is an apocalyptic wasteland. Do your part.”
“The Scarecrow Project” will go beyond the continued operation of the video store to save the thousands of films that will never make the transition to digital and streaming media. With the explosion of home video in the 1980s came the birth of the direct-to-video industry. Countless direct-to-video films have never been released as 16mm or 35mm prints. Thousands of these films never made the jump to DVD, and continue to be overlooked during the digital migration. Furthermore, the collection includes films that have never been released in any format in the US. Scarecrow keeps these nearly lost classics alive and available to viewers. Funds from this Kickstarter will allow the continued preservation of these titles, while actively expanding the collection by seeking out other titles available in physical media that have been deemed to have a historical or cultural value. A donation on Kickstarter is not life support for a dying dream, but rather an investment in the future of physical media in film history.
Read more about The Scarecrow Project’s mission goals here.