An exceptional film collection valued at $1.7 million will be housed and preserved by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.
Videomatica – a long-loved video rental store that opened in 1983 and specialized in rare and esoteric titles – is donating the bulk of 28,000 DVDs, 4,000 VHS titles and 900 Blu-rays to UBC. The collection will be housed at UBC Library with more than 5,000 duplicates available at UBC’s Dept. of Theatre and Film. SFU receives about 2,800 documentaries from the collection.
The collection includes feature films, literary adaptations, cult and art films, foreign films from more than 75 countries, Canadian works and selections from the Vancouver International Film Festival.
“After spending three decades building a unique film library and the better part of a year trying to preserve it, how wonderfully rewarding it is to know the interests of both the public and film students will be served with the collection finding a home at UBC and SFU,” says Videomatica co-founder Graham Peat.
Access to the collection at UBC will be developed over the next 18 months for students, staff, faculty and community borrowers. SFU’s collection is slated to become available for borrowing in early 2013.
“We’re honoured to serve as the new home for an outstanding collection of films,” says Ingrid Parent, UBC’s University Librarian. “These titles, which number in the tens of thousands and cover a huge array of genres and topics, will serve as a valuable source of research and enjoyment.”
“SFU Library is thrilled to be the new home for Videomatica’s renowned collection of Canadian and international documentaries – carefully identified and acquired over the course of many years – and we plan to steward the material according to the highest professional standards,” says Charles Eckman, SFU’s Dean of Library Services.
Peat also acknowledges the contributions of Yosef Wosk, the philanthropist, community leader and academic whose efforts spurred the Videomatica donation. “He brought all parties to the table to work for a creative solution,” says Peat. “His invaluable guidance and generosity over many months were instrumental in saving the Videomatica collection.
“We also wish to heartily thank our many customers and supporters who, through their encouraging wishes and contributions, helped ‘send the movies to university.’”
Peat and Videomatica co-founder Brian Bosworth are both former UBC students (in creative writing, and history and film, respectively). They met several years after attending university while working in television production.
Videomatica closed as a film rental store last year. It has since moved its sales operation to Zulu Records in the Vancouver neighbourhood of Kitsilano.