BVFCC to host Oscars day brunch and fundraiser Sun., Feb. 26, from 4-6 PM

The red carpet rolls out when Best Video Film & Cultural Center hosts an afternoon Oscars brunch and fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 4-6 PM. It’s the perfect event to get ready for the evening Academy Awards ceremony. The Oscars brunch will be held at BVFCC, located at 1842 Whitney Avenue in Hamden.

Admission includes mimosas, a bagel bar, quiche and assorted desserts. Jazz duo Joe Carter (guitar) and Tim Moran (sax and flute) will provide background music.

Each attendee will be given an Oscar ballot to fill out with great prizes for those who correctly choose the most winners. Among the prizes are a $100 Wave Gallery gift card and a $100 Café Amici gift certificate. Drawings for door prizes will also be held throughout the event.

Tickets are $25 in advance—available at BVFCC or online through Brown Paper Tickets—or $30 at the door. Additional tax-deductible donations above the cost of the ticket are welcomed.

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

BVFCC announces BestFest Student Films festival for fall; workshop for aspiring student filmmakers Tues., June 28, 7—9 PM

BestFest_student_workshop_flyer_WebBest Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC), a cultural nonprofit based in Hamden, announces the creation of BestFest Student Films, a new film festival to showcase work by area high school students. The festival will be open to all high school students from New Haven and adjacent communities (East Haven, West Haven, Hamden, North Haven, Woodbridge, and Orange).

“With the widespread availability of video technology and editing software, movie-making has become an accessible option for young people. We want to encourage student creativity by offering a forum for the screening and recognition of their work,” said Hank Hoffman, BVFCC Program Director.

Beyond presenting students’ films, the festival will serve as an educational resource for student filmmakers. The steering committee plans to assemble a group of expert volunteers—including film industry veterans and educators—to mentor and coach students who seek advice on issues ranging from screenwriting to audio engineering, film financing to editing.

As preparation for the festival, BVFCC will host a session titled “The Nuts and Bolts of Making a Movie” on Tuesday, June 28, from 7-9 PM. Experienced filmmakers will be available to explain the step-by-step process of creating a movie. Among the topics covered will be pre-production solutions, the under-appreciated importance of good sound, and how to get a gorgeous shot with just one light. The second half of the session will consist of a hands-on exercise in shooting a scene, based on an existing short film.

Submissions to BestFest Student Films will be accepted through late October with the festival taking place in early November. Entry is free, and students should submit films through

“We know you have film ideas—now it’s time to make it,” said Caden Rodems-Boyd, a student filmmaker who attends Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven.

For more information as this festival is developed please visit

Contest! Win 2 tickets! Win a DVD of “Theory of Obscurity!” The Residents play New Haven Sat., Apr. 23

Residents_DVD_WebCONTEST: Legendary avant-garde and performance art rock band The Residents are playing College Street Music Hall in New Haven this Saturday, Apr. 23!

For a chance to win TWO TICKETS & the documentary about The Residents, “Theory of Obscurity,” on DVD—which will be screened before their Saturday performance—come into Best Video Film & Cultural Center by Friday, Apr. 22, at noon and answer this question: What obscure Bavarian avant-garde philosopher developed the “theory of obscurity?”

You must write your answer and your contact info on a piece of paper provided at the store. A winner will be drawn at random Friday afternoon!

The show is presented by Manic Productions, Premier Concerts, CTNOW, BAR – New Haven, Best Video Film & Cultural Center and Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwestern Grill.

To purchase tickets—if you don’t win the contest!—click here.

New membership rental plans proving popular—Join Now Online!

brochure_front_WebAt the beginning of November, Best Video Film & Cultural Center announced new membership/rental platforms that will allow members to watch more great movies for less money. And without the threat of late fees hanging over your head.

Yes, you read that correctly. And they have immediately become quite popular with longtime customers and new customers.

And now you can sign up online! Click here to sign up and pay online for one of the new plans.


The plans can be paid for on a monthly, recurring basis or on an annual basis. And for a limited time, if you purchase a plan on the annual basis, you get an additional two months free the first year if you sign up at Best Video Film & Cultural Center or 10% off the annual cost of you sign up online.

Why should you consider signing up for one of these plans if you have been a longtime Best Video customer? Here are some reasons:

1 • Support one of New Haven’s cultural jewels. Help maintain an exceptional archive of movies, a performance and screening room, and help build an organization committed to educational and community outreach.

2 • Rent movies for less. Have access to a much deeper library than is available through streaming. (And you can watch the special features, too!)

3 • Leave late fees behind.

4 • Get more time on your rentals.

5 • Sign up and pay for a year in advance and get two additional months free!

6 • Get free admission to Best Video Performance Space events.

These are the new options:

• The One Movie Plan*

$120/year (or $10 per month) Take out 1 movie at a time for four days—exchange as often as you want. Attend 1 show per month free. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

• The Two Movie Plan*

$240/year (or $20 per month) Take out 2 movies at a time for up to a week. Attend 2 shows per month free. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

• The Four Movie Plan*

$360/year (or $30 per month) Take out 4 movies at a time for up to a week. Attend 4 shows per month free at Best Video Performance Space. No late fees! For a limited time, if you opt for the annual payment, you get two additional free months if you purchase it in the store or 10% off the cost for12 months if you purchase online.

If you wish to take out additional movies beyond what your plan covers, it would be $2 per additional rental per night.

You can already sign up at the store for the annual or monthly plans and now you have a way to sign up for the monthly plans online.

* All plans are subject to change. Films not returned within a reasonable time are subject to a replacement fee at the retail cost. If you choose not to sign up for one of the three plans, you can continue with your current plan or rent on a pay-as-you-go basis. Prices in the legacy plans and per movie are subject to change. We ask that marked new releases be returned in 1 or 2 days.

Best Video is now Best Video Film & Cultural Center


The new logo for Best Video Film & Cultural Center, designed by John Bent. See more of John’s work at

After 30 years of serving Greater New Haven, Best Video—one of the last brick-and-mortar video stores in the state—has changed hands. In an effort to continue its impact in the wake of the Internet era, original owner Hank Paper has sold this vibrant and vital institution to Best Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC). Effective November 1, BVFCC has taken ownership of the archive—along with the performance space and café—and will run the venue as an arts not-for-profit.

While many things will stay the same—the incredible archive of DVDs, the cafe, the programming of music and film events—one thing that will change is that BVFCC will offer new rental plan options. Broadening access to Best Video’s incredible library of films, membership plans will allow unlimited rentals without late fees for as little as $10 per month.

“With the formation of Best Video Film and Cultural Institute we will be able to continue the legacy started years ago by Hank Paper. BVFCC will honor the tradition of film and bring to it ongoing community events, discussions and connection,” says Lisa Lochner, a member of the BVFCC Board of Directors. “While Netflix and Amazon as mediums for viewing film are convenient, it seems that the rich discussion of films is lost. I have long valued the ability to walk into Best Video and start a personal conversation about films current and past. And the Best Video archive has lots of great films not available through streaming.”

Kicking off its new mission as a not-for-profit organization, BVFCC will host a Grand Opening Celebration on Sunday, November 15, from 3—5 p.m. The event will be an opportunity to celebrate and learn more about this new chapter. BVFCC invites the community to enjoy some fun, family-friendly tunes, and eat, drink and be merry. The Grand Opening Celebration is free and open to the public although, of course, donations to BVFCC are welcome.

Designer John Bent generously donated his services designing a brochure promoting the new BVFCC as well as creating a new logo for the organization. John’s design nods to the past while pointing the way toward our future.

Non-profit effort at Best Video reported on WNPR-FM, state NPR affiliate

The efforts of Best Video Film & Cultural Center (BVFCC) to purchase and maintain Best Video as an archive of film and a venue for cultural events was the subject of a report on July 16 by WNPR reporter Diane Orson. Orson interviewed Hank Hoffman, store assistant manager and president of BVFCC. Hoffman is responsible for booking the music in the Performance Space.

Hoffman is quoted in the report:

“The video business has obviously gone through major changes,” he said.  “And it’s not possible to maintain a video store on a profitable basis. If it was just a Tommy K’s or Blockbuster it would make sense just to close the store. But this is a place for people to gather, to talk movies, to meet their neighbors, to find out what’s going on in the arts.”

You can read the report or listen to it here.