Being known as the world's oldest video rental shop, the 'Film-Shop Kassel' teeters on the brink of collapse. 43 years of lived film history are supposed to vanish.Not only an enormous stock of movies would be gone for good, also an established meeting place for film lovers from all over the world is on stake. We want to prevent this scenario. Our vision is to make the Film-Shop sustainable: by transforming this important place into an event location, a café, a museum and preserving it that way.
Proven by the Book of Guinness World Records, founded in 1975 in Kassel, the 'Film-Shop' is the world's oldest video rental shop. From the beginning, Eckhard 'Ekki' Baum has distributed movies in his store. Shortly after, rental video stores spreaded all over the world and whole generations of film enthusiasts have virtually grown up in those departments.
But as for today, it seems like film shops have jumped the shark. Nevertheless, being the world's oldest one, the Film-Shop is not just another video rental shop facing its end. With its conservation we would stop – representative for all the other video stores – a precious contribution to cultural- and contemporary history and with that a part of our own identity – from disappearing.
The Film-Shop's archive consists of more than 20.000 titles. Many of them are not available on the internet, neither as downloads nor as streams from the big online companies. A lot of rare titles never were released on DVD. But here they have been preserved here on VHS, 8mm and 16mm film – just until now!
But on September 1st a complete sellout is about to begin! At October 31st, everything would be over, for once and for all. Eckhard Baum, the owner of the shop, will retire. There is no successor in sight. Unless we will sustain the video rental shop as a cultural meeting place for the public. At this very special place, the enthusiasm for movies is alive as more as ever. The shop has to be continued with a new concept, to create a landmark for movie-lovers from all over the world. ‘Cause soon enough, the film-shop will not only be the world’s oldest video rental shop – but maybe even the only one.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
There’s barely someone who doesn’t feel concerned about the dying of the world’s oldest video rental shop. No matter if you live in Kassel, New York City or any other place. Actually, it’s not just some local business. This is where everything started – the cradle of all other video rental stores around the world. Therefore, it’s also a part of us.
“You can’t do anything about it”, some say. We say: “We CAN do something after all! Here and now you can do something about it! Support our rescue campaign!”
To save the world’s oldest videostore, we have to: 1. Stop the sellout before September 1st. 2. Prevent the closing of the shop at October 31st. 3. Rent the store and buy the whole stock. 4. Keep running the place as a cultural meeting point for the public. 5. Add a food station, a screening room for casual movie screenings and a video-museum to the location. 6. Take care for the stock and specialize in non-streamable rarities on Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS and other formats.
The sellout has to be stopped at all costs, to preserve this unique collection of Blurays, DVDs, VHS’, 8mm and 16mm films for the generations to come. And the renting has to continue. Within a year, we will add a film-cafe, a video-museum and an event- and screening-room to the location. This is where lectures on film, book readings and discussions with film-makers will take place, as well as concerts and movie-screenings with Q & As. Traditional viewing equipment such as Betamax-, Video2000-, VHS- and Laserdisc-Players will be collected and to be seen in a permanent exhibition. We will also rent them for special occasions.
We need you – video-lovers, movie-nerds as well as patrons of the arts and everyone who doesn’t want the world to become totally digitalized!
Those who love vinyl-records, books – all the things that can be touched with your own hand – whether it is a silver disc or a rattling VHS-tape. Everyone who loves to get lost in Nostalgia and the beauty of retro-style should support us!
People of the world – help us to save a cultural heritage of worldwide importance!
Why would you support this project?
The film-shop is unique. It’s the “mother of all video rental shops” and represents a whole era of cultural and media history, which is our very own story after all. We mustn’t throw it away just like that. The one who asks for cultural variety has also a responsibility to preserve and to maintain the existing.
As tourist feature, the world’s oldest video rental store in Kassel is not only an ornament in the city’s history. It’s a place of worldwide interest.
Culture is not something that’s written in a book. Culture has to been lived and experienced. It has to be preserved, you need to touch it and walk around in it.
After all, not only movie- or video-rental-lovers should be interested in keeping the world’s oldest video rental shop going: It’s also a very important factor to enlive and to increase the value of the quarter itself. As more and more stores in the city center are unoccupied, the existence of the film-shop in the middle of Kassel would also enhance the whole region of Hessen.
We should take this unique chance! When the world’s oldest video rental store will be gone, it will never come back.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
One hundred percent of the money will be used to preserve the world’s oldest video rental store, the Film-shop, at it’s original location at the Erzbergerstrasse in Kassel. That means:
to save more than 20.000 movies from their complete sellout.
to keep the location of the Film-shop in Kassel.
to finance parts of the further cost of renting and running the place for one year.
to care for and to widen the stock
The amount of 29.000,- Euro is not much money for such a unique treasure! If the world’s oldest video rental store will be gone, it will be for real. And nothing will ever be able to take it’s place!
Who are the people behind the project?
Randfilm e.V. is a charitable association. It’s main activity is to promote film and movie culture. Since 2014, Randfilm runs the annual “Randfilmfest”, curates events and programmes at changing locations and encourages cultural and creative variety.
The association has 14 active members. Christoph Langguth and Ralf Stadler are the chairmen of Randfilm.