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Keep Home Video Alive: Scarecrow Project Tries to Save Thousands of Home Videos with Kickstarter Campaign

Photo of Brandon Latham By Brandon Latham | Indiewire August 12, 2014 at 11:03AM

With thousands of home video titles in its library, Scarecrow Video is hoping to have its archive preserved and is looking for funding on Kickstarter.
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Song Of The South

120,000 films -- in media ranging from VHS through Blu-Ray -- make up the library at the Scarecrow Video archive, a Seattle-based movie store, making it the largest home video library of its kind. Today, a team of long-time Scarecrow Video employees, along with support from Alamo Drafthouse, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to compliment the creation a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Scarecrow Project, hoping to provide an insurance in the attempt to preserve Scarecrow Video's vast library.

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"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.

Containing a bevy of pictures that were released straight to home video, and therefore were never turned into film prints, the Scarecrow archive is fragile, and its loss would not be something to ignore. "I travel the world," said Oscar-winning editor and preservationist Thelma Schoonmaker, "and it's the most comprehensive video store I’ve ever seen."

Among the titles the Scarecrow Project plans to restore are the following (descriptions courtesy of Scarecrow Project):

Let It Be (VHS):  Notoriously difficult to see reportedly because the remaining Beatles don’t want it to be released.  According to IMDB, "A restored version of the film with additional material was planned for DVD release in 2003, to accompany "Let It Be...Naked," Paul McCartney's remix of the "Let It Be" album. However, in restoring the film, Apple Studios discovered that the additional unreleased footage of the Beatles contained too many controversial issues that still need to be resolved. Reportedly, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have decided that the movie and its additional material will not be released on DVD during their lifetimes, over concerns that it could hurt the Beatles' brand.

John Frankenheimer teleplays (most from Playhouse 90; titles include Turn of the Screw [with Ingrid Bergman], For Whom the Bell Tolls [with Jason Robards & Eli Wallach], Winter Dreams [with John Cassevettes], The Last Tycoon [with Jack Palance], Forbidden Area [with Charleton Heston]; VHS/DVD-R):  These items were donated to Scarecrow from John Frankenheimer’s personal collection and are not available anywhere.

Song of the South
 (Japanese laser disc & PAL/European VHS): These two releases were the only two legitimate ones issued by Disney. However, Disney has now suppressed this film completely and it is not available anywhere in the world.

Streetwise
 (VHS): Gritty documentary looks at the life and lives of teenagers living on the streets of Seattle. Although highly acclaimed, this documentary has never been re-released onto DVD or any other format.

Hollywood
 (VHS): A 1980 [Kevin Brownlow] documentary series produced by Thames Television which explored the establishment and development of the Hollywood studios and its impact on 1920s culture. Arguably the best documentary on the silent film era by the most important silent film historian, Kevin Brownlow, and most likely will never be re-released due to rights issues.

The crew behind the non-profit Scarecrow Project includes Scarecrow Video employees Barr and Joel Fisher; Alamo Drafthouse's CEO Tim League and Fantastic Fest Programmer Zack Carlson and writers Daniel Herbert and Robert Horton. The Kickstarter campaign for Scarecrow was launched today, and can be found by clicking here.


This article is related to: Home Video, Kickstarter , News, Film Preservation, Preservation, Alamo Drafthouse







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