About

Vidiots began as a movie rental store with a fierce commitment to making as wide an array of films available as possible—from vintage to foreign to documentary—and our event programming and outreach has that same eclectic flavor.

The Vidiots Foundation expands the reach and community involvement of Vidiots through partnerships with community organizations, schools, filmmakers, artists and educators by providing free classes, screenings, panel discussions, spoken word, live music and other cultural events.

  • Through tiered monthly subscription plans or individual rental charges, the Vidiots store provides a variety of ways to borrow from our film library while supporting its preservation and growth.
  • The Vidiots Foundation coordinates evenings with filmmakers, actors and industry professionals. Successful events in our recent past include discussions with David O. Russell, Anjelica Huston, Oliver Stone, Davis Guggenheim, Nicole Holofcener, David Mamet, Les Blank, Callie Khouri, Kenneth Anger, Russ Meyer, Todd Haynes, , Nick Broomfield, Alan Rudolph, Wes  Craven and more. Along with filmmakers, Vidiots has hosted spoken word performances by such artists as Viggo Mortensen, Exene Cervenka, Liza Richardson as well as book signings with Kennth Turan, John Densmore, Joe Bob Briggs, Richard Schickel and William Wegman We have presented in partnership with public radio station KCRW as well as other local community organizations.
  • The David O. Russell Library offers a selection of film and media studies books, which can be borrowed for no charge.
  • The Vidiots Annex space hosts classes in video production, a monthly storytelling night, movie-themed game nights and is available to local educators as a screening room and gathering space.
  • Our screening series features monthly “Auteur Nights”, and curated movie presentations such as “Cinema Deliciosa”, a night celebrating food in film.

History

Patricia Polinger and Cathy Tauber, friends since childhood, grew up with a love of movies and wanted to open a video store that would carry films “we would like to see.” Polinger and Tauber opened Vidiots with 800 videos and a 1000-foot location near the Santa Monica Civic Center. Coinciding with the explosive changes in the art and film worlds in the 1980s, Vidiots sought out and aligned itself with the work of the decade’s emerging “independent cinema” as well as experimental performance, video and musical artists. As a store that could satisfy both the mainstream studio movie fan as well as the cinephile, Vidiots grew rapidly and within ten years tripled its physical space and collection.

During the film-rental industry’s peak period of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Vidiots was picked several times as “Best Video Store in L.A.” by publications such as “The LA Weekly,” “Los Angeles Magazine” and received national and international attention. The store employed over 15 clerk, management and research employees and was a featured success story in trade publications.

With the rise of online streaming, VOD and in the face of the economic recession, Vidiots has crafted unique strategies to remain not only a viable independent business but a continued voice in the community. The New York Times, MSNBC and the Santa Monica Mirror have published features highlighting Vidiots’ business strategies. One innovation was to convert a portion of the store into “The Vidiots Annex,” a projection and classroom space devoted to film appreciation and production seminars, as well as a performance area for story-telling and “live essay” events. The Annex opened in 2010.

In 2012, Vidiots formed the non-profit “Vidiots Foundation” as a way of meeting the public’s need to have its increasingly rare, “one-of-a-kind” library still available as well as continue outreach to the education, film study and art communities. The mission of the foundation reads: “To Preserve the human experience of browsing, researching and selecting films in a community setting, Protect over 50,000 films, including rare, classic and independent films and Promote film through free events bringing together filmmakers and film lovers.”