Best Video Oscars Happy Hour party Sun., Feb. 9, 4-6 PM

Best Video Film & Cultural Center always marks Oscars Sunday with a party/fundraiser and this year is no different. Unlike the two previous years, rather than having an Oscars brunch, we will host a 4-6 PM Happy Hour to lead into the streaming of Oscars programming at 6:30, which will be hosted by staffer Rob Harmon.

The Happy Hour will feature drink specials, a delicious spread of snacks, an Oscar Ballot contest and prizes, and a short Oscars trivia contest presided over by Rob and Kate Bellmore, who also host our monthly movie trivia night.

All are welcome. There is no set entry fee but we welcome donations of $5-25 to support our year-round programming. Oscar ballots are $5 and we will be available to purchase at BVFCC in advance of the event starting tonight.

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!


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)


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 or call (203) 287-9286.

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] 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!

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

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—an opportunity to unite our community around causes in which we truly believe and help nonprofit organizations connect to the larger community.

The Great Give® is BVFCC’s major spring fundraiser—help us make it a successful one to strengthen our bottom line for the rest of the year.

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! On May 1-May 2, starting at 8AM on May 1, visit The Great Give® and make a donation to us and/or to any of the great participating nonprofit organizations in greater New Haven. You will have 36 hours to make your donation, and all giving will end at 7:59PM on May 2.

As part of our The Great Give® campaign, we will host two Happy Hours at BVFCC on consecutive Tuesdays, Apr. 24 and May 1. Starting on Apr. 23, supporters can schedule their donations in advance if they think they may be unable to participate in The Great Give® during the official 36-hour event. And on Tuesday, May 1, we will try and shoot for the $1,000 Happy Hour Prize for the most individual donors between 5 and 7 PM on that day. Come to BVFCC for each Happy Hour and enjoy snacks, schmoozing and reduced price drinks at our cafe.

Per above, The Great Give® takes place online over 36 hours Tuesday through Wednesday, May 1-2. Online giving is where most of the action is for this fundraising marathon organized by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. But here at Best Video Film & Cultural Center, we like to encourage real world, interpersonal interaction, too. As part of that, we are holding two Happy Hours—on Tuesday, Apr. 24, and Tuesday, May 1—to stoke enthusiasm for The Great Give®—and have fun at the same time.

Come join us at BVFCC on Tuesday, Apr. 24, from 5-7 PM for our The Great Give® Kick-Off Happy Hour. We’ll have munchies, drink specials and neighborliness. And if you think you won’t be able to give during the Great Give®’s 36-hour window, we can tell you how you can schedule your gift in advance. And then stick around, if you like, for the Stacy Phillips & His Bluegrass Characters show that starts at 7:30 PM.

BVFCC Appeal an ongoing success—over $30,000 raised!

Dear Friends,


We are humbled and grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support and love—there really is no other word for it—that we have received from the community since we made our appeal for donations and memberships.

The “official” campaign, as defined by the Facebook event we created, lasted through last Tuesday, August 29. But we continue to get new households joining up for our monthly or annual membership plans.

As of mid-day Monday, September 4, we have raised over $30,000 through donations and supporters signing up for new memberships or upgrading the plans they already have. We have added almost 100 new members.

If you haven’t already joined one of the plans but would like to, you can do so at this link or in person at Best Video Film & Cultural Center.

If you would like to donate, you can do so at this link or in person at Best Video Film & Cultural Center.

We are deeply grateful and humbled by the community’s support.

Thank you!

Appeal: Community support needed for Best Video Film & Cultural Center

Dear Friends:

Without a groundswell of support, Best Video faces the very real threat of having to shut our doors.

What happens in the very near future will determine whether Best Video Film and Cultural Center will close, will limp along, or will soar.

• If you are not already a member, become a member today by signing up online or coming into our space. Programming director Hank Hoffman suggests a target of 200 additional members over the next few months in order to have enough recurring revenue to cover our current operating expenses.

Make a donation online (or in person). General manager Richard Brown says raising $20,000 would catch us up with bills currently owed to vendors. Even better, BVFCC Board of Directors President David Margolis points out that raising $50,000 would enable us to also pay off the remaining debt to Best Video founder Hank Paper and establish a financial cushion that would facilitate expanded community programming and improvements to the physical space.

After more than a year-and-a-half of operation, BVFCC is proud of the community support that has carried us this far. We have already raised over $35,000 in donations in the fiscal year beginning October 2016. Of particular note as a marker of the value the community places on Best Video, is this year’s performance in The Great Give, the May online charity marathon organized by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Out of some 500 worthy nonprofits, BVFCC finished in the Top 10 in number of individual donors and in the Top 25 in total contributions.

Unfortunately, despite our successes, when it comes to bringing in enough income to cover our expenses and pay off our debts, we are falling short. We have a 2nd Anniversary Gala celebration planned for November. We had hoped to get to that event without calling on the public but a slower than expected summer necessitates this appeal.

The average monthly operational income shortfall that donations need to make up is approximately $4,700; in the past ten months, we have been averaging about $3,500 in donations. Good but not quite enough. ($2,000 of that $4,700 per month is remaining debt for the purchase of the assets; that obligation is fulfilled by June of next year.)

Presenting programming to delight and educate the community. Dr. Caterwaul’s Cadre of Clairvoyant Claptraps playing music from “The Simpsons” TV show to a sold-out crowd this past July.

When we opened as a nonprofit in November 2015, we knew that the traditional video rental model was not viable. For several years leading up to Hank Paper’s sale of Best Video’s assets to BVFCC, rental income was decreasing by 20% a year. Anticipating that the trend would continue, we started offering annual membership plans. With membership plans starting at $10 per month, we projected that if we can reach 700-1,000 members by the end of the third year, we would be able to replace the rental income with membership revenue.

The good news is that almost 370 households have signed up for one of the three membership plans. The bad news is that—for BVFCC not to run into recurrent cash flow crises and, ultimately, face the awful decision to close—we need 200-500 more member households.

We know that we can make that happen. Approximately 5,000 households support Best Video each year by renting videos, purchasing items at our cafe, or attending our events. If just one in five sign up for a membership plan, then we will reach our goal. If just one in ten make a donation of $100 or more, then we will exceed our goal of raising an additional $50,000 this year. Many hands…

If BVFCC were just a “video store,” we would have closed years ago. And perhaps deservedly so. But BVFCC is much more than that. It is a community gathering place, a performance venue, a film screening room, a national-level archive of the history of cinema, and a safe place for neighborhood children to come and hang out after school. It is a place where people, film, and music come together.

BVFCC exists bring people, film, and music together.Pre-Oscars Brunch this past February.

When you are a member of Best Video Film & Cultural Center—whether you pay on a recurring monthly basis or get a 10% discount by paying annually—BVFCC becomes your library of film. Depending on your level of membership, you get free admission to from 1-4 shows per month. Most importantly, you are part of a community dedicated to keeping BVFCC as an essential part of the cultural wealth of the greater New Haven area.

Very Truly Yours,
The BVFCC Board:

David Margolis, President
Scott White, Treasurer
Jean Blue, Secretary
Elin Schoen Brockman
Linda Satin Pancoast
Avi Kamrat
Richard Brown, General Manager
Hank Hoffman, Programming Director

Thanks to all who made our Pre-Oscars Brunch event a success!

Thanks to everyone who supported our Pre-Oscars Brunch & Fundraiser this past Sunday (photos below)! We grossed about $1,500 between ticket sales and donations. And a fine time was had by the about 60 BVFCC members and supporters who attended.

A great spread of savory and sweet snacks were available at the Pre-Oscars Brunch.

Congratulations to the winners of the Oscar Ballot contest: Lisa Carter, Jennifer Kaylin and LeeJy Rudenjak.

BVFCC members Robin Hochstrasser and Jim Kubat fill out their Oscar ballots.

Thanks in particular to Wave Gallery, Cafe Amici, Paul & Eddy’s Pizza, Edge Fitness, baker Carol Merriman, Cork & Barrel, Garden House Floral & Home, Park Central Tavern, Spring Glen Cleaners, Gold’s Delicatessen of Westport, Phylis Satin and Anne DeGregorio for donating prizes or food for the event.

Thanks also to musicians Joe Carter and Tim Moran for the wonderful entertainment.

Tim Moran (saxes and flute, left) and Joe Carter (guitar, right) provided beautiful music for the event. Singers Isabella Mendes and Linda Satin made guest appearances.

And thanks to the BVFCC Board members who made it happen—Linda Satin-Pancoast, David Margolis and Scott White.

Board member David Margolis pours mimosas for event attendees.

Check out the write-up on the event at the New Haven Independent.

Board member Linda Satin-Pancoast sings a jazz song at the event.

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.