Vidiots, the iconic Santa Monica video store which closed in 2017, is set to reopen as a combination 250 seat cinema and video rental shop in Los Angeles. The Vidiots Foundation, a nonprofit started by the owners of the video store and dedicated to maintaining the former shop's massive film collection and the pop culture history contained therein, is in the process of renovating the Eagle Theater for the project. The idea is to move the collection in, update the theater, and have everything ready to begin screening films beginning in early 2022, with a little help from the film community.
The Vidiots Foundation is asking its supporters to donate to the estimated $2.5 million renovation project. Over $1 million has already been raised, and through September 17, the charity's founding Members Karina Longworth and Rian Johnson (yes, that Rian Johnson) have pledged to match donations up to $100,000.
"Even before the pandemic and lockdowns, I think that it is abundantly clear that the need for human interaction around the arts and particularly around film is really paramount to our culture and our sense of health and well-being," Maggie Mackay, executive director of the Vidiots Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times. "Yes, you could say that in the age of streaming it's counterintuitive to do something like this, but I would say that it's obligatory to do something like this, because as convenient as streaming services are, they're problematic only when they begin to obliterate other points of access to this entire art form. And when you have multiple points of access to an art form, you just invite so many more people in and you have such a better chance of encouraging new generations of people to fall in love with that art form, and then to support it for another hundred years."
Johnson is the writer and director of movies like Star Wars: the Last Jedi and Knives Out. Longworth is the creator of the You Must Remember This podcast and an author of numerous books about Hollywood.
The Vidiots Foundation, which has hosted numerous virtual and in-person trivia nights, rooftop screenings, and other interactive movie events, reached out via email to thank their supporters last night.
"When we closed our doors in 2017, many thought we'd never get them back open," the email reads in part. "You knew we would, and now we will."