Thursday, December 8, 2022

Kim's Video, storied film and music retailer in the East Village, gets the documentary treatment

Kim's Video, which had an 18-year-run in the East Village, is the subject of a new documentary set to debut at the Sundance Film Festival. 

Some background first. After the multi-level Mondo Kim's closed at 6 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue in December 2008, the shop's massive collection of 50,000-plus tapes and DVDs were shipped off to a town in Sicily, as Jeremiah Moss first noted

The plans called for "a Never-ending Festival — a 24-hour projection of up to 10 films at once for the foreseeable future ... and, eventually, the conversion of all Kim's VHS films to DVDs to ensure their preservation." 

And eventually, the plan was for Kim's members to have access to digitized versions of all these films, an assortment of cult classics and hard-to-find treasures. (Didn't go so well in Italy.) 

So Variety has the scoop on the doc, directed by award-winning filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin. 
"Kim’s Video" follows modern-day cinephile and filmmaker David Redmon on a quixotic quest to track down the whereabouts of the massive video collection of the now-defunct Kim's Video, an iconic NYC video rental store with more than 55,000 beloved and rare movies. 
More plot! 
Playing with the forms and tropes of cinema, David's bizarre and increasingly obsessive quest takes him to Sicily, where he becomes entangled in a web of local politics, and to South Korea, where he tracks down the enigmatic Mr. Kim in the hope of influencing the collection's future. 

"Kim’s Video" will open the Sundance Film Festival's NEXT section in January.

The Kim's empire had a modest start in Yongman Kim's dry-cleaning business at 99 Avenue A in 1986 ... the last Kim's Video & Music closed in 2014.   

The massive collection of DVDs and videos from Kim's Video is now available to rent from the Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan. (Background on all this here.)

Previously on EV Grieve:


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see an Empire Biscuits documentary (and be more interesting if the commenters are interviewed) à la Fyre Festival or The Curse of Von Dutch.

Anonymous said...

I loved Kim’s video and rented from there on the regular. Matt the manager tipped me off that they kept notes about everyone who rented in the computer in their profiles. THAT’S what I want to know more about.

Anonymous said...

I miss Kim's and that whole genre of local business. The only ones that currently reminds me of this are Sock Man and East Village Books. Going in those places can as much entertainment as it is making a purchase.

And I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I miss the horrific bleach smell of the Kim's elevator and holding my breath as it made the painfully slow ascent to the second floor.

Giovanni said...

If Empire Biscuits were still in business they would be baking marijuana-laced biscuits that would be known as Empire CanniBiscuits.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who used to work in a video store (not Kim’s), I can verify the software we used provided a small space - about 50 characters - to add a note to a customer’s account.

The notes typically weren’t exciting. Usually along the lines of ‘Allow daughter to rent’ or ‘Need new CC before renting.’ Sometimes, though, there’d be a note about a customer who was a pain in the ass to deal with - such as ‘Proceed with caution’; usually in relation to someone losing their mind over paying their late fees, the very source of income which helped keep many video stores afloat.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe this was a real place, and a real era. The kids today have no idea, and I pity them. The media and entertainment they have to choose from now.