Who Remembers Kim’s Video?

This is a postscript to the video short I posted yesterday about Fotomat, the chain of photo processing shops that became one of the first store chains to offer licensed VHS tapes.

As home viewing of theatrical film releases became more popular and affordable, thousands of independently-owned shops opened throughout the United States. While most shops relied solely on mainstream films, a few sought to find ways to stand out from the rest by offering indie, exploitation and foreign movies that weren’t readily available – or in some cases even legal – in America. I remember heading to Westside Avenue in Jersey City to Hollywood Video, where the owner would always ask patrons what movies that they wanted to watch and he would promise to get them. Another popular location, although I didn’t have the opportunity to frequent, was The 43rd Chamber near Times Square. The 43rd Chamber focused primarily on Asian martial arts movies, many of which weren’t available in the U.S. at the time.

The poster art attached to this Throwback Space entry was created for the documentary Kim’s Video, which began streaming today on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

I only visited the original locations in Manhattan a few times while in college, but after Kim sold the bulk of his original tape collection and the shops closed, he attempted to reopen across the water, in Downtown Jersey City. Unfortunately, the relaunch didn’t last long and closed within a year. However, the legend remains all these years later and filmmakers Ashley Sabin and David Redmon took a deep dive into the iconic video store and its owner Yong-man Kim.

Physical media reigns supreme in Kim’s Video, a tribute to the iconic video store in NYC that inspired a generation of cinephiles before it mysteriously closed its doors and sent its legendary film archive of 55,000 movies to a small Sicilian village for “safekeeping.” What starts as an homage to cinema quickly becomes a rescue mission to ensure the eternal preservation of the beloved video collection.

Kim’s Video includes interviews with Alex Ross Perry, Anna Thorngate, Yong-man Kim, Eric Hynes, Lorry Kikta, Robert Greene, Isabel Gillies, Clayton Patterson, Ryan Krivoshey and Sean Price Williams.