In a post-credits stinger worthy of any superhero blockbuster, Halifax Public Libraries and Dalhousie University have swooped in to purchase 5,500 hard-to-find films from Video Difference’s collection.
The news comes just a day after the Quinpool Road and Bedford Highway landmark stopped renting movies after 34 years of business.
“We’ve seen great enthusiasm across Dal in pulling this innovative initiative together,” said university librarian Donna Bourne-Tyson in a press release. “It’s clear this collection holds great meaning not just to our students and faculty, but to film lovers in Halifax and beyond.”
The libraries’ collection experts selected Video Difference’s American Film Institute and British Film Institute collections for purchase, along with numerous documentaries and a substantial amount of British and international television box sets.
“We really looked for what were those really interesting, unique items that we wanted to allow the community to have access to,” says Halifax Public Libraries CEO Åsa Kachan, herself a regular Video Difference customer.
“I originally come from Sweden, and what I loved being able to do at Video Difference was hear about a new [TV] series that was acclaimed and being able to get it.”
Dalhousie, meanwhile, is buying 1,000 movies in subject areas supporting its classes. According to the university, that includes silent films, along with French and Spanish cinema, and films from Ireland, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand.
Halifax Public Libraries is spending $100,000 to purchase its 4,500 titles. Dalhousie has raised an additional $25,000 for the remainder, and is crowdfunding for more support.
While Video Difference already had a pretty intricate drop-off system through HRM, the collection’s new public owners means the 5,500 titles will be available to anyone in Nova Scotia.
“Basically what will happen is the collection is shared,” says Kasia Morrison, spokesperson for HPL. “So even people outside of Halifax can access the title to borrow.”
The packing and moving of the films is already underway. Plans for when and where the titles will be available to the public (presumably along with a list of titles being saved) are still in development.
The bulk purchase still only accounts for less than 14 percent of Video Difference’s 40,000 titles. Starting on Saturday, the remaining inventory inside the stores will be liquidated to the public.