Updated: Jun 11
If the air in New York feels different, there's good reason for it. A staple of film culture has returned to its home in the greatest city in the world. From 1986 to 2012, the legendary Kim's Video was a home for any type of cinephile. With a wide array of genre films ranging from classics to idiosyncratic hidden gems, there was something for everyone in founder Yongman Kim's collection of nearly 55,000 films. Kim went on to open several locations over the years, with a mission of bringing people together over what some of us loved most. Due to a litany of reasons, Kim decided it was time to close up shop, but didn't want his legacy to end with the closing of his stores. With the clock ticking on what to do with his expansive collection, Kim was able to find help in Salemi, Italy. The films had been preserved and saved, yet remained unseen by the yearning public. But now, in 2022, we will yearn no longer.
After a twelve-year journey spanning 9,000 miles, the Kim's Video collection has returned home to New York City. Located at the Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan location, thousands of DVD's and VHS tapes are now available for free rental to the public. Having attended the grand opening, there is truly a film for everyone there. Whether you are searching for ABBA: The Movie, a Lynch-inspired XXX parody titled Twin Cheeks, or a film that you have never heard of in your life but the cover looks like it rules, make the trip as soon as possible. If this collection could be brought all the way from Italy, you can find a way to experience this beauty for yourself.
With VCR's and multi-region DVD players for rent, and plenty of merchandise, the space was bubbling with excitement. Full of previous Kim's Video employees, patrons from the past, newcomers to the space, and even Kim himself, it felt like a true homecoming fit for an icon. Alamo Drafthouse has inherited a massive legacy, but with all the theater company is doing to bring Kim's original vision back to life, it seems to be in capable hands. With a new monthly series that will curate films from the collection to play on the big screen, Kim's is ready to be explored by a whole new generation of film lovers. And as a lifelong New Yorker, it's a truly beautiful feeling to see so many be brought together by this special day. Long live physical media.
Kim's Video is now open to the public at Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan (28 Liberty Street).