For Scott Braid, the love of film began with his childhood video stores. Growing up in Perry Hall, the lifelong Baltimorean had a weekly ritual: scour the shelves, explore the horror section, and take chances on movies he’d never heard of.
Years later, in 2000, he got a job at the eclectic Video Americain in Roland Park that cemented his fascination with cinema. He worked there for 10 years and claims to have learned more at the store than during his time at film school.
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Eventually, Video Americain started to struggle, ultimately closing in 2014, at which point Braid joined forces with fellow Maryland Film Festival staffer Eric Hatch to form the Baltimore Video Collective. Now, with five other members, BVC plans to bring nostalgia back to Baltimore with Beyond Video, their own nonprofit video rental. Thanks to a push from Kickstarter, the store is set to open on Howard Street this fall.
“Working in a video store taught me so much about both film culture and people,” says Braid. “They are places to share ideas, make friends, and learn.”
Beyond Video will feature everything from vintage and rare VHS tapes to Blu-rays and DVDs, ranging from rom-coms to cult classics with an overall goal of 10,000 titles. They also plan to include screenings, discussions, and workshops at this long-incubated project.
“We want it to be more than just a video store,” says Braid. “We want it to be a community gathering space and resource.”
With such a diverse collection, BVC hopes to provide the kind of personal experience that streaming services can’t.
“Like bookstores and record stores, video stores give people a browsing experience unlike anything online,” says Hatch. “There are films that were life-changing to me that I only encountered because video-store employees put them on the ‘house favorites’ wall. We want film-lovers old and new to have these experiences, and make these kinds of discoveries again.”