Film Screening: Hamden Tree Commission presents “Call of the Forest” Sun., Jan. 12, at 3 PM

The Hamden Tree Commission and the Town of Hamden present a screening of “Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees” at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. The screening is at 3 PM and is free and open to the public.

Take a walk in the woods with beloved Irish-Canadian scientist and author, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, as she reveals our profound human connection to the ancient & sacred northern forests and the essential role that they play in sustaining the health of our planet.

We cut down billions of trees every year – Today only five percent of the world’s old growth forests remain intact. Yet trees are one of this planet’s most significant creators of food, new medicines, and oxygen. Forests hold the answer to many of the world’s problems; from climate change to human health and well-being. Visionary scientist and acclaimed author Diana Beresford-Kroeger explores the science, folklore, and history of this essential eco-system reminding us that when we improve our profound human connection to woodlands we can, not only, restore our health – we can restore our planet.

From the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan, the ancient Raheen Wood of Ireland, and the walnut and redwood trees of America, to the great boreal forest of Canada, Call of the Forest tells the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet.

Along the way Diana meets people who are taking the lead to replant, restore and protect the last of these great ancient species forests. We meet Dr. Akira Miyawaki, a worldwide specialist in the restoration of natural forest systems on degraded land, who shows us how a native forest system can be planted in the smallest street corner of Tokyo. Dr. Bill Libby, a pioneer in the field of forest tree genetics, tells us about the impacts of climate change on California’s coast redwood and giant sequoia. Since 2002 Andrew St. Ledger, founder of The Woodland League in Ireland, has dedicated his life to restoring native woodlands in Ireland. His work restoring the great forest of Aughty shows us all how old growth forests can be replanted and offers a glimpse into our cultural history with trees.

Woodlands are the beating heart of our ecosystem and Diana’s call to action – to protect the native forests of the world and for every person to plant one tree a year for the next six years – provides us with a simple and powerful solution for climate change. As she travels across the globe to tell the story of the life and the science of the global forest, she presents us with a revolutionary conception of their value to all life and a message that could, literally, save mankind from itself.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Best Video’s monthly movie trivia night returns Mon., Jan. 6, at 7:30 PM

So you think you know movies?

Best Video Film & Cultural Center returns with a monthly movie trivia night—yet to be given a catchy name—on Monday, Jan. 6. The event starts at 7:30 PM and admission is a suggested donation of $5.

The Best Video Movie Trivia Night is hosted by BVFCC staffer Rob Harmon and BVFCC member Kate Bellmore.

This is a team trivia event comprised of four rounds of quizzing with ten questions per round, for a total of forty questions. Questions cover a wide range of cinema-related (and “cinema-adjacent”) material: film facts, box office statistics, store facts, film score, television, reviews, among others.

No portable electronic devices of any kind may be used during gameplay under any circumstances. Competitors may not shout out answers during gameplay, attempt to look at answer sheets of other teams, or approach the executive producers’ table during gameplay. If a team is suspected of violating any of these rules, the executive producers reserve the right to disqualify the entire team for the individual round in which the offense occurred or the entire competition. Teams will be limited to a six-player maximum to allow as many people as possible to participate.

Teams write their answers on a prepared form provided by BVFCC. Answers must be written legibly in English. The executive producers reserve the right to disqualify any answers they judge to be too illegible to be considered correct.

Where proper names of film/tv/musics are concerned, a correct answer requires that the full name be given. For example, if the correct answer is Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, an answer of “The Grinch” is marked incorrect. In the case of people, giving the last name is acceptable except in cases where there are multiple people with the same last name and the intent is unclear. For example, if the correct answer is “Kevin Smith,” an answer of “Smith” is not specific enough and marked incorrect. But, if the correct answer is “Martin Scorsese,” a response of “Scorsese” is considered correct.

Each question will be worth one point, with any extra credit questions being worth an additional point. Scoring points for extra credit questions requires answering the base question correctly in order to be eligible.

Every team has one joker to use. The Joker, when used, allows a team to double the total points earned in a round. Jokers do not double extra credit points. After a team writes all of their answers down, if they wish to use their joker, they must write “JOKER” in large, unmistakable print on their answer sheet before it is turned in for scoring. The Joker may only be used once.

After all questions are asked in a round, teams are allowed one minute to complete their answer sheets and submit them to the executive producers for scoring. Any late answer sheets will not be scored and the team will score zero points for the round. Cumulative totals of all teams will then be read before the next round begins.

After all rounds are scored, the team with the highest overall score is declared the winner. All scoring, as decided by the executive producers, is final.

Bring your friends and test your knowledge of film trivia! The trivia night will be held the first Monday of each month unless holidays or other reasons for shifting the date intrude.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Holiday hours

Best Video Film & Cultural Center will close at 6 PM on Christmas Eve, Tues., Dec. 24. BVFCC will be closed Christmas Day so that our staff can enjoy the day with family and friends. We wish all our members, friends, and supporters a happy holiday. We open again for regular hours on Thurs., Dec. 26

Best Video Film & Cultural Center will close at 9 PM on New Year’s Eve (the cafe closes at 5 PM). The cafe re-opens at 8 AM on New Year’s Day; the video side opens at 9 AM and will close at 7 PM.

We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

NBC Connecticut profiles Best Video Film & Cultural Center

Thanks to NBC Connecticut News and features reporter and morning anchor Ted Koppy for this great story they ran on Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s evolution as a non-profit. The story was aired on Dec. 9, 2019.

The piece noted BVFCC’s uniqueness in adapting to—and surviving in—a changed media environment. Best Video founder Hank Paper, BVFCC Executive Director Hank Hoffman, and BVFCC member Richard Lewis were interviewed for the segment, noting that the organization’s emphasis on community was key.

The video can also be viewed at their site.

Mark Schenker concludes “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “Ball of Fire” on Sun., Dec. 15, at 1 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turned to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era film-goers who were eager for escapist fare.

The final lecture with film in this series—rescheduled from Dec. 1 due to snow—will be on Sun., Dec. 15, at 1 PM. The series winds up with “Ball of Fire” from 1941, starring Barbara Stanwyck. (The previous films were the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10; “The Awful Truth” [1937], and “Some Like It Hot” [1959].) Admission is $7.

From Bosley Crowther’s rave 1942 New York Times review:

According to legend, Samuel Goldwyn has made some beautiful lapsi linguae in his time and has done things with the King’s English that stand as a monument to his name. Maybe. But still Mr. Goldwyn can’t be too touchy on that score, for now he has produced a picture which deliberately kicks the language around in a manner so colorful and lively that you can almost sense his tongue stuck in his cheek. “Ball of Fire” is the title of this wholly ingratiating lark, and so pleasant is its spoofing of the professional pose, so comprehensive is its handling of the modern vernacular and so altogether winning are Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in it that it had the customers jumping with enjoyment at the Music Hall yesterday.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

UPDATE 11/30: POSTPONED! Mark Schenker continues “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “Ball of Fire” on Sun., Dec. 1, at 2 PM

UPDATE: Due to the concerning weather reports, this Sunday’s scheduled How to Read a Film event with Mark Schenker is being postponed. We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as we can. (Hopefully next weekend with the final lecture/film shifted to 12/15.)

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

The third lecture with film in this series will be on Sun., Dec. 1. The series winds up on Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The Dec. 1 movie is “Ball of Fire” from 1941, starring Barbara Stanwyck. (The series began with the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10; the second film was “The Awful Truth.”.)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

From Bosley Crowther’s rave 1942 New York Times review:

According to legend, Samuel Goldwyn has made some beautiful lapsi linguae in his time and has done things with the King’s English that stand as a monument to his name. Maybe. But still Mr. Goldwyn can’t be too touchy on that score, for now he has produced a picture which deliberately kicks the language around in a manner so colorful and lively that you can almost sense his tongue stuck in his cheek. “Ball of Fire” is the title of this wholly ingratiating lark, and so pleasant is its spoofing of the professional pose, so comprehensive is its handling of the modern vernacular and so altogether winning are Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in it that it had the customers jumping with enjoyment at the Music Hall yesterday.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Best Video Film & Cultural Center hosts Anniversary Open House & Fundraiser Sat., Nov. 16

On Saturday, November 16, 2019, Best Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC), celebrating its fourth anniversary as a nonprofit, will host its Fall Open House & “Fun”draising Extravaganza—a full day of festivity, pageantry, and fun for all ages. If you attended last year’s Open House, you know you’re in for a treat.

Everybody is welcome to come and enjoy what Best Video has to offer that day. It is our main fall fundraiser—our main spring fundraiser is the online Great Give in May—and we count on it. There is no set donation amount but we encourage all to contribute whatever they can—and/or become a Best Video Film & Cultural Center member—to keep BVFCC open and running.

There will be a table run by staff and Best Video Board members to meet you, sign up new members, renew memberships and receive donations.

BVFCC, has been running the former Best Video as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization since November, 2015. The organization’s mission is to “bring film, music and people together.” BVFCC curates an archive of over 30,000 titles assembled by original owner Hank Paper; presents regular music, film-related and literary events; and maintains a welcoming space for the community.

We invite you to our celebration on November 16. Please join us if you can, help put the “fun” in “fun”draiser! And remember, we love seeing you all each and every day. And each day in November is a day that you can donate. Come in and see us. Please help to make our fundraising efforts a success. You always have! We thank you wholeheartedly.

If you can’t make it on Saturday, you can still donate online and/or become a member online!

Schedule:

9 AM-Noon: Best Video Kids’ Music & Cartoon PJ Party

9:30 AM (or so) • Cartoons chosen by Best Video staffer Michael Wheatley & Dave Schmidt

10:30 AM • Music by Val McKee & Robert Messore

Noon • Prizes given out to winners of our second Student Art Show and display of all the entries

Noon-2 PM • The Caseus Cheese Truck at Best Video

1 PM • Open Mic for Kids 18 and younger

1-4 PM • Best Cookie Contest: Almost 20 bakers compete to see who bakes the “Best Cookie,” with two winners chosen by a poll of attendees! (Two great gift certificate prizes)

2 PM • Movie Trivia: BVFCC staffer Rob Harmon leads a 20-question preview of a new, in-the-works monthly trivia event ($50 BVFCC gift certificate prize)

3 PM • Music by The Blind Mice, a trio featuring members of the Hamden High School Jazz Combo.

4 PM (or so) • Short Films from 48 Hour Film Project New Haven

5-7 PM • Taqueria Cinco food truck at Best Video, free beer from Black Hog Brewing, Inc. (1 per attendee over 21 while supplies last)

5 PM • Rob Harmon’s “Secret Cinema”

5:30 (or so) • Short Films from 48 Hour Film Project New Haven

6 PM • Music by Bronson Rock (Rock/Soul/R&B)

7 PM (or so) • Short Films from 48 Hour Film Project New Haven

8:30 PM • Music by Thabisa (Afro-Soul)

 

Spring Glen School students present poetry slam at Best Video Wed., and Thurs., Nov. 20 & 21, 4:30-5:30 PM

Sixth grade students from Spring Glen Elementary will present a Poetry SLAM Wednesday and Thursday, Nov.  20 and 21, from 4:30-5:30 PM at Best Video Film & Cultural Center.

Organized by teacher Mary Nelson, students have written powerful poetry answering the question “What would you like to change in the world?” A dozen or so different poets will perform each afternoon.

*Note that content may not be appropriate for young children

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker continues “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “The Awful Truth” on Sun., Nov. 17, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

The second lecture with film in this series will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series continues on Nov. 17 with the 1937 movie “The Awful Truth.” (The series began with the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10.)

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The remaining schedule:

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

From Bosley Crowther’s 1937 New York Times review of “The Awful Truth”:

To be frank, “The Awful Truth” is awfully unimportant, but it is also one of the more laughable screen comedies of 1937, a fairly good vintage year. Its comedy is almost purely physical- like that of the old Avery Hopwood stage farces- with only here and there a lone gag to interrupt the pure poetry of motion, yet its unapologetic return to the fundamentals of comedy seems, we repeat, original and daring.

Its obvious success with a modern audience is also rather disquieting. Just when it began to appear that an excellent case had finally been made out for spoken wit and adultness of viewpoint on the screen, the mercurial Mr. McCarey, who only a few months ago saddened us to the point of tears with his “Make Way for Tomorrow,” shocks us with a comedy in which speech is subsidiary, and maturity exists only to be deflated into abject juvenility.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Mark Schenker launches next “How to Read a Film” series on great screwball comedies Sun., Nov. 10, at 2 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turns this time to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era filmgoers who were eager for escapist fare.

All four lectures will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2 PM, starting on Sunday, Nov. 10. The second lecture will be on Sun., Nov. 17. The series skips Nov. 24 and winds up on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8. Admission to each lecture is $7. The series kicks off with the 1934 multiple Oscar-winning “It Happened One Night.”

Schenker will consider three such films from the “classic” period of the genre, and then turn to a masterpiece of the form from the late 1950’s, when its heyday had passed. The schedule:

Nov 10, 2 PM: It Happened One Night (1934)

Nov 17, 2 PM: The Awful Truth (1937)

Dec 1, 2 PM: Ball of Fire (1941)

Dec 8, 2 PM: Some Like It Hot (1959)

Roger Ebert’s capsule take on “It Happened One Night,” from 2009:

The surprise success of “It Happened One Night” made Frank Capra one of the screen’s top directors and provided the prototype for a decade of screwball comedies. Romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally…” and “The Sure Thing” draw on the rapid banter, outrageous comic situations and sexy road trip of “It Happened One Night.” The movie even provided inspiration for one of the screen’s most enduring characters, Bugs Bunny.

Mark Schenker’s lectures are accompanied by clips from the films to illustrate the points he is making. His previous lectures on the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Billy Wilder (among others) and the historical context in which the TV series “Downton Abbey” took place were erudite and entertaining.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.