Update on COVID-19 impacts on Best Video: cafe goes to takeout only, closing time at 6 PM

Dear members and friends,

Pursuant to Gov. Ned Lamont’s order, the Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s cafe will be moving to takeout only for the foreseeable future.

I have consulted with the Quinnipiac Valley Health District and this plan is consistent with Gov. Lamont’s directive.

The plan now is to continue receiving deliveries of pastries from Bread & Chocolate and donuts and bagels from Whitney Donut. You can come in and pick up specialty coffee drinks and baked goods but, unfortunately, not stick around for hearty conversation. There is a hand sanitizer dispenser at the entrance and we are regularly cleaning all touchable surfaces with disinfectant cleaners and wipes.

We are also closing earlier, at 6 PM rather than the previously announced 7 PM. We have had quite a few people express gratitude at being able to get movies to keep themselves occupied in these times. And we are moved at the expressions of support and donations we have received.

We do STRONGLY encourage folks—particularly if you have one of the monthly or annual 1-Movie, 2-Movie, or 4-Movie Plans—to call ahead and tell us what you would like to rent. That way we can have them checked out and ready to hand off to you when you get here. Additionally, to reduce the number of times you need to go out, you can rent an additional movie at no extra charge if you have the 1- or 2-Movie Plans.

Of course, if circumstances change, we will keep everyone posted.

We wish all of our friends and neighbors good health in these difficult times.

Hank Hoffman
Executive Director
& Staff and Board of Directors of Best Video Film & Cultural Center

A message from Best Video on cancellations and revised hours due to COVID-19 virus

Dear members and friends,

Due to COVID-19, Best Video Film & Cultural Center will be suspending events through the end of March. (The status of currently scheduled programming beyond March will be reevaluated as required by circumstances.) We are taking direction from the recommendations of the town and civil authorities and acting in the interests of caution. As others are, we will continue monitoring the information coming from the CDC and knowledgeable public health experts.

Considerations for the health and welfare of our members, staff, and performers are paramount.

Our cafe and video rental archive will remain open. But, in addition to suspending events, we are temporarily scaling back our hours on the video side of our organization. Our cafe will continue to be open from 7 AM-7 PM Monday through Friday and 8 AM-7 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. On the video side, we will open as usual at 9 AM but close—starting today, Mar. 12—at 7 PM each night.

During this time when all of us will be following recommendations to avoid large public gatherings, access to our amazing archive of movies could be a source of diversion and pleasure. As a benefit to members, we are initiating a special for the month of March: If you have a 1-Movie monthly or annual plan, you may take out two movies at no extra charge through March.

Additionally, for members with the 1-, 2-, or 4-movie plans, we will expand our service for your convenience. If you call ahead with a request, we’ll grab your movies for you and hand them to you at the door when you get here.

This is a challenging and, yes, frightening time for many of us. We wish all good health and hope for the best.


Hank Hoffman
Executive Director
Best Video Film & Cultural Center
& The staff and Board of Directors of BVFCC

Save the dates! The Great Give® May 1-2, The Great Give® Happy Hours Apr. 24 & May 1

You can start giving now!

Have you dreamed of making history? Of course, we all have. And now we have a chance to be a part of greater New Haven’s day of giving, The Great Give®—an opportunity to unite our community around causes in which we truly believe and help nonprofit organizations connect to the larger community.

We need your help! Please join our campaign and help us raise the money necessary to continue—and expand—our programming and preserve—and expand!—our incredible film archive! We need you to tell your friends and family members about the value we have for the community and ask them to join us in helping to make a difference.

Get ready to give!

The Great Give®, organized by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, runs from May 1-May 2, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.. Advance gifts can be made for The Great Give® beginning April 19, 2019; advance gifts will count toward grand prize calculations, but will not be counted toward hourly prize incentives.

To contribute to Best Video Film & Cultural Center during The Great Give®, go to TheGreatGive.org and enter “Best Video” in the Search field to find our page. Or just click on the graphic in this post to be taken directly to our Great Give® page.

BVFCC will endeavor to stoke enthusiasm for The Great Give® with two Happy Hour events, one on Wed., Apr. 24, from 5-7 PM, and the second on the first day of The Great Give®, Wed., May 1, from 5-7 PM. Come on down to BVFCC on those days for drink specials, tasty snacks, socializing, and—if you can—your laptop or smartphone to make a Great Give® donation to support BVFCC!

Best Video hosts annual pre-Oscars brunch & celebration Sun., Feb. 24, 10:30 AM-1 PM

Movie Trivia Contest! Guess the Oscars Winner Contest! Great Prizes! Mimosas, Bagels & more!

Best Video Film & Cultural Center celebrates the Academy Awards with a pre-Oscars Brunch on Oscar Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10:30 AM-1 PM. Originally scheduled as an afternoon event with a Chili Cook-Off, it was moved to the morning to avoid any conflict with an evening Pot Luck at Spring Glen Church.

Featuring complimentary mimosas, bagels & more! Oscar Trivia Contest with Masters of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White! A Guess the Most Correct Oscar Winners ballot contest! Prizes!

Everybody is welcome to come celebrate movie culture and community. Bring the kids!

Support for Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming is welcomed with suggested donations of $5-$25 (contribute what you’d like in that range, or more!).

Best Video hosts annual pre-Oscars Brunch & celebration Sun., Feb. 24, with trivia & Oscar contests (UPDATED 2/12/19)


Because of a perceived conflict with the evening Neighborhood Soup Pot Luck Dinner at Spring Glen Church, Best Video Film & Cultural Center has moved its pre-Oscars celebration event to the morning of Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10:30 AM-1 PM. We have shelved the Chili Cook-Off for now. The Oscars Brunch features complimentary mimosas and bagels as well as the previously planned Oscars Trivia Contest presided over by Masters of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White and Oscars ballot contest. Everybody is welcome to come and celebrate movie culture and community.

Support for Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming  is welcomed with suggested donations of $5-$25 (contribute what you’d like in that range, or more!).

The red carpet rolls out for bowls of red—chili, to those not in the know when Best Video Film & Cultural Center hosts an afternoon pre-Oscars celebration and fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 24, from 12:30-3 PM 10:30 AM-1 PM. In the spirit of last fall’s Best Cookie Contest, we debut our “Chili Oscars Cook-Off,” a chili-making contest. Admission is $15 in advance ($20 at the door) for individuals and $25 for two adults (kids included for free).

The event will also feature a movie trivia contest with Best Video’s Master of Trivia Lena Olive and Scott White. And, as in previous years, attendees will get Oscar ballots and can compete to see who can correctly guess the most winners. There will be prizes for all the contests.

BVFCC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing people, film, and music together. For more information, check bestvideo.com or call (203) 287-9286.

Support BVFCC—Give the gift of membership this season, hang out with friends at the café, get special order DVDs & Blu-Rays, gift certificates

To our members, friends and neighbors: December is upon us, the end of another year and a time for giving. We appreciate and thank all for another year of support, exciting events and relative stability. We could not have done it without your interest and participation.

This holiday season please keep us in your holiday gift-giving plans, every little bit helps. Customer activity can get a bit lean during the dead of winter so here is how you can help maintain BVFCC’s success:

• Come out for a coffee, a show, a beer or wine and meet up with a friend;

• Make your holiday special orders of movies or TV series, or both;

• Renew a soon-expiring membership;

• Purchase a gift membership for friends—for video rentals or the cultural membership plan for BVFCC music and film events, or for both;

• Buy BVFCC gift certificates, good for both the video and cafe sides of BVFCC;

• Please consider a donation as well as year end nears. Remember, we are a not-for-profit charitable cultural organization and any donation to Best Video is completely tax deductible. Your accountant will be proud of you! And we’ll be as happy as Rudolph leading the way!

We wish all a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and hope to see you at BVFCC sometime soon. And thanks again for your continued support. We’ll give it all back to you in the coming year, adding more films to our vast library, more live music, beautifying our space, and having a place for you, your families and neighbors to meet and feel the sense of community that is yours and ours. Here at Best Video Film and Cultural Center.

Schedule for Best Video Fall Open House Extravaganza & “Fun”draiser on Sat., Nov. 17, from 9 AM-9 PM

On Saturday, November 17, 2018, Best Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC), celebrating its third anniversary as a nonprofit, will host its Fall Open House & “Fun”draising Extravaganza—a full day of festivity, pageantry, and fun for all ages. BVFCC’s parking lot will also play host to two food trucks— The Caseus Cheese Truck from 12-2 and the Taqueria Cinco taco truck from 4-6 PM.

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.

The official schedule for this Saturday’s event:

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

9 AM • Music by Robert Messore

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

10 AM • Music by Val McKee

10:30 AM (or so) • Cartoons chosen by Best Video staffer Mike Wheatley

11 AM • Prizes given out to winners of our first Student Art Show and display of all the entries

11:30 AM (or so) • Cartoons chosen by Best Video staffer Mike Wheatley

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

1-4 PM:

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!

1 PM • Open Mic for Kids 18 and younger

2 PM • Trivia 237: The Best Video trivia contest for all things cinema and cinema-related, hosted by Lena Olive and Paul Reese

3 PM • Music by Jazzphoria Quartet, featuring members of the Hamden High School Jazz Combo.

4-6 PM • The Taqueria Cinco food truck at Best Video

5-9 PM:

5 PM • Rob Harmon’s “Secret Cinema”

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

6 PM • Open Mic for Grown-Ups

7 PM • Music by Vardo Swing

7:30 (or so) • Short Films from 48 Hour Film Project New Haven

8 PM • Music by Dust Hat

8:30 (or so): Short Films from 48 Hour Film Project New Haven

Best Video Film & Cultural Center hosts Anniversary Open House Extravaganza & Fundraiser Sat., Nov. 17, 9 AM-9 PM

On Saturday, November 17, 2018, Best Video Film and Cultural Center (BVFCC), celebrating its third anniversary, will host its first annual BVFCC Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza—a full day of festivity, pageantry, and fun for all ages. BVFCC’s parking lot will also play host to two food trucks—The Cheese Truck from 12-2 and the Taqueria Cinco taco truck from 4-6 PM.

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. The Anniversary Open House is one of BVFCC’s two most important annual fundraisers, along with its participation in May in The Great Give, a 36-hour fundraising marathon coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

Click for an important note from  BVFCC Executive Director Richard Brown!

The day begins with children’s programming. From 9 am to 12 pm, BVFCC’s Mike Wheatley will screen select cartoons from our collection of classic, contemporary, and hard-to-find children’s titles. Musicians Robert Messore and Val McKee will play short sets of children’s music.

From 1-4 pm, BVFCC presents a movie-related trivia contest hosted by BVFCC café manager Lena Olive-Reese and her husband Paul, an open mic for young people under the age of 18, short sets by local musicians, and a selection of short films produced by competitors in the annual 48-Hour Film Project New Haven. For the entire three hours, BVFCC hosts its inaugural Best Cookie Competition. Up to twenty kinds of cookies will be available for tasting; two winners will be chosen by popular vote. Please click here for entry guidelines—the contest is limited to 20 bakers! In addition The Cheese Truck—run by the former owners of Caseus restaurant—will serve gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and other favorites from noon-2 PM.

The evening (5-9 pm) features live music, an open mic for adults, a preview of BVFCC employee Rob Harmon’s Secret Cinema Series, and complimentary hors-d’oeuvres. Guests are invited to come dressed as their favorite movie character from 5 pm on! Taqueria Cinco taco truck will be parked outside for those with a taste for authentic Mexican food.

Finally, with the generous sponsorship of SLC Nationwide, BVFCC is holding a student art contest, children 18 or younger. Submissions are due by Monday, Nov. 5—more details are available here. The winning entries—in four age categories—will be printed in the event program book and displayed throughout the day. The rest of the submissions will be on display at the gala on November 17. Originals will be on display if space is available. If there is not enough space, the submissions will be displayed via video.

Best Video Coffee and Wine Bar—featuring Willoughby’s Coffee, a distinctive wine selection, and craft beers—will stay open from 9 am to 10 pm.

On the occasion of the BVFCC ANNIVERSARY OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION, Best Video Film and Cultural Center encourages donations. It is only with the support of our friends and neighbors that the organization can sustain the archive, the space, and programming such as literary readings, guided screenings, and live music shows. Donations, memberships and participation of the public underwrite this programming, the maintenance the brick and mortar space, and its diverse functions of library, performance venue, and community hub.

Sign up now for Best Cookie Contest, part of Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s Nov. 17 Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza

On Saturday, November 17, 2018, Best Video Film and Cultural Center (BVFCC), celebrating its third anniversary, will host its BVFCC Anniversary Open House & Fundraising Extravaganza—a full day of festivity, pageantry, and fun for all ages. As part of that event, we will be hosting a Best Cookie Contest, set to occur from 1-4 PM.

Up to 20 bakers will be competing for the Best Cookie. If you want to be one of the bakers, send an email with the subject “Cookie” to bvfcc [at] bestvideo.com. Include your name, phone and type of cookie. The first 20 bakers to email us to sign up will be part of the contest. You will be emailed with full details once you sign up.

Want to be a taster? There’s no need to sign up—just come to Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s Sat., Nov. 17, Open House & Fundraiser and vote for your favorite cookies.

We have some great prizes for the winners. Any kind of cookie is welcome!

With Trivia 237, BVFCC launches new monthly trivia night event

Best Video Film & Cultural Center launches a new monthly trivia night, Trivia 237 (or “T-237” for those dystopian future-minded folk) on Monday, July 2. The event starts at 7:30 PM and admission is a suggested donation of $5.

Trivia 237—named after the infamous Hotel Stanley room in “The Shining”—is the brainchild of BVFCC barista Lena Olive-Reese and her husband Paul. Lena and Paul, the creators and executive producers, will also host the event.

Trivia 237 will be a team trivia event comprised of four rounds of quizzing with ten questions per round, for a total of forty questions. Questions will 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.

Lena and Paul Olive-Reese.

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 at Trivia 237. T-237 will be held the first Monday of each month.

UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):