Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


Kim’s Video

Kim’s Video and Music was a legendary video rental and retail store in New York. During its existence from 1987 to 2014 it was a world unto itself for film-a-holics. Its collection was a treasure trove of rarities, the staff appropriately rude and knowledgeable, copyright laws were no hindrance and even an FBI raid in 2005 did nothing to slow the pace. Behind it all was the mysterious Mr. Kim, a Korean businessman whose methods of doing business caused astonishment, but whose enthusiasm for every manner of film kept the operation above water for surprisingly long.

But times change, and in 2008 the flagship store Mongo Kim’s had to close its doors. The 55,000 title collection housed within was bestowed on the Sicilian town of Salemi on the strict condition that it be kept available to the public. That promise wasn’t kept, and within the next decade, the era of video rental was over everywhere. However, the memories of Kim’s Video and the love for physical media still lived on in the minds of movie aficionados. In 2017, former regular customer David Redmon decided to find out what happened to the collection, and what, if anything, could still be done.

Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s documentary starts out as a personal essay film but soon transforms into a travelogue as the mystery of the lost collection takes the filmmakers to Sicily and Korea. By the end of the film, we are firmly in thriller territory, as Redmon takes Werner Herzog’s quote about filmmakers as thieves a tad too seriously in a desperate bid to preserve cinema culture.

Jussi Tarvainen (translated by Virpi Sumu)

Language: English, Italian, Korean
Subtitles: English for the deaf and hard of hearing
Length: 86 min
Age Limit: K7
Year: 2023
Production Country: United States

Director: David Redmon, Ashley Sabin
Producer: Ashley Sabin, David Redmon, Deborah Smith, Dale Smith, Francesco Galavotti, Rebecca Tabasky
Production Company: Carnivalesque Films
Distribution Company: 10/30/1982