AUSTIN, Texas — In April, Vulcan Video announced it was permanently closing. In September, I Luv Video did the same. The closures left Austinites without a video rental store for the first time since 1983.
But that's a fate the staff at Alamo Drafthouse couldn't accept. So, they're stepping up to provide movie fans with access to tangible selections – for free.
In honor of Video Store Day on Oct. 17, Drafthouse announced that sometime next year, the lobby of Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar will be the home of Video Vortex South Lamar, powered by Vulcan Video South. And rentals will be free.
When Video Vortex South Lamar opens, film fans will be able to stop by the concierge and check out two free movies for a weeklong rental. If you keep the movies for longer than a week, you will incur late fees, but as long as you bring them back before then, the rental is free.
"Since we opened, Vulcan Video has been an incredible partner of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Our early pre-shows were 90% curated from there, they were a long-time sponsor and partner of Terror Tuesday and they transformed Video Store Day into a major community event," Drafthouse founder Tim League said. "We hope that this next chapter for the collection at the Alamo South Lamar continues to be an important resource for film-obsessed weirdos for many years to come."
Drafthouse said when Vulcan Video South closed, the collection was moved to Alamo Drafthouse's corporate headquarters in Hyde Park. The complete collection is currently being inventoried and prepped for its new life at Video Vortex South Lamar.
But Drafthouse said there are some titles missing. When Vulcan Video South closed, there were more than 1,000 rentals out. Drafthouse wants to preserve the collection in its entirety if possible, so the staff is asking those who have Vulcan Video South rentals to return them to a box at the concierge at Alamo South Lamar.
No late fees will be incurred and no explanation is necessary, no matter how long you've had the rental. If you include a note inside the case with your name and email on it, they'll even offer a voucher for a free rental at Alamo On Demand.
Drafthouse is also accepting Central Texans' own niche movie collections. If you have a large collection – "particularly if it's hard-to-find, foreign cinema or genre titles," including DVDs, Blu-rays and even rare VHS titles – the American Genre Film Archive will accept it and provide a tax deduction. You can email DVDdonations@drafthouse.com to start the conversation.
Drafthouse already operates Video Vortex stores in its Los Angeles, Raleigh and Brooklyn locations. According to League, the Los Angeles location is home to the former Vulcan Video North collection of more than 5,000 titles.
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