About Us

Bringing Film, Music, and People Together

Best Video Film and Cultural Center (BVFCC) was created to preserve the rich movie archive of Best Video—a legendary independent video store—and to explore new ways to bring people, film, and music together. BVFCC now operates as a valued community space serving Greater New Haven with its world-class film archive, performance space, screening room and coffee bar.

Best Video Film & Cultural Center, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. That means that BVFCC is a public charity, eligible to receive tax-deductible donations from the public. BVFCC is a non-stock corpration governed by a Board of Directors.

Best Video, founded by Hank Paper in 1985, served the southern Connecticut community at several locations on Whitney Avenue in Hamden. On Nov. 1, 2015, after 30 years in business, founder Hank Paper sold the assets of the store to the recently formed non-profit Best Video Film & Cultural Center. BVFCC purchased the DVD archive in excess of 30,000 titles, comprising a wealth of classic, foreign, independent, cult, contemporary and children’s titles.

BVFCC’s community-oriented mission is based on the following, inter-dependent elements of our activities:

• Maintaining and expanding a national-level quality archive of movies available to the public, students, and local educators at nominal cost;

• Presenting curated screenings and lectures related to film;

• Sustaining a performance space for the presentation of a wide variety of musical genres appealing to a broad cross-section of the public, including performances in a welcoming, informal space for local high school students;

• Presenting readings and other literary events;

• Partnering with NHDocs:TheNew Haven Documentary Film Festival, 48-Hour Film Project New Haven and others to support grassroots film culture in the greater New Haven area;

• Creating events such as the monthly Second Wednesday Open Mic and Movie Trivia Night to allow for public participation in the venue’s entertainment programming;

• And offering space to the public for community public affairs gatherings and musical jam sessions.

The cornerstone of Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s educational and cultural importance lies in the DVD archive. This archive is a resource of unparalleled value—it has been referred to as a “cultural jewel”—and is accessible both to subscription members of BVFCC as well as community members on a movie-by-movie basis. In this way, it is akin to a museum that offers both annual memberships as well as day passes to the public.

Complementing the maintenance and expansion of the archive is BVFCC’s community-building and educational activities. In an era in which so much of social life is retreating into a virtual sphere, BVFCC provides a setting for something essential to a healthy community—a place to gather, experience and learn about culture, exchange information, and forge the kind of connections that enrich our lives.

The cafe is open for curbside service from 8 AM-4 PM Sun.-Wed. and 8 AM-5 PM (or, on the nights we have events, until the event is over) Thurs.-Sat.

As of Sat., Sept. 11, 2021, members may browse the Best video Film & Cultural Center collection from 11 AM-7 PM seven days a week.

Masks are currently required to enter and browse Best Video’s archive. If an event gets moved inside due to inclement weather, attendance is limited to 30, all entering must show proof of vaccination, and everyone attending must wear masks (they can be lowered to take a drink but then must be returned to the proper place above the nose.

Requests for titles can be made by email (orders [AT] bestvideo.com) or can be phoned in during the hours that we are open. For more information on the safety protocols, please refer to this post on our site.

Best Video Film & Cultural Center
1842 Whitney Ave. Hamden, CT 06517
(203) 287-9286