Thursday, December 25, 2014

Response to the VW Digital Archive

Merry Christmas!

For those of you who don't know, the VIDEO WATCHDOG Digital Archive - all 176 issues - was published the other day. Subscribers via our Indiegogo campaign should have received emails informing them of how to access and download their issues. If you haven't, please write to Donna at kickstarter@videowatchdog.com and she will put things right. We hope to have it available for everyone by the beginning of next week; we're having some shopping cart issues that need to be resolved before then. In the meantime, anyone can visit our Digital Library (see the left hand side of our website page) and preview the first five pages of all those issues for free, to assist you with deciding which back issues you might want to acquire if you can't go for the whole enchilada.

Last year, we told you the story of the Christmas miracle that enabled all of this to happen. This Christmas Day, let me share with you a wonderful email that Donna and I received only yesterday from a long-time reader in Switzerland, just in time to sweeten our holiday and make all of our efforts of this past year seem all the more worthwhile. It is reprinted with the sender's kind permission:

Hi Donna and Tim,

First off, let me wish you both the very best of Holidays. I hope you’re taking some time off, you deserve it after the wonderful job you’ve accomplished with the Digital Edition of VW.

Ever since issue # 175 came out in the format, I’ve wanted to let you know how much I love love LOVE these digital versions, how insanely pleasurable they are to read all over again and how generous to your readers you’ve been with them.

And I happen to think their importance goes a lot deeper than what all the superlatives could hope to express. I think that, with them, you’re teaching us all a lesson about the permanence of cinema, of the love of it and of the pleasures found in writing and reading about it

I’ve been returning to a lot of the first issues (I of course own the printed editions but I hardly go back to them, they’ve been sort of locked in their own time, thought of almost as obsolete as the formats described and critiqued therein) and what you’ve done with the Digital is to make them all relevant all over again. In other words, you’ve managed to overcome the curse of obsolescence. Otherwise why would it be so much fun to read, in late 2014, a twenty + year old piece about “The Exorcist” or “Twin Peaks. Fire Walk With me”… Because it’s never been about the formats - formats come and go -, neither is it about the painstaking listings of deleted scenes - we’ve seen them all by now – nor has it ever been only about the quality of a given transfer.

All of these, much as the world they exist in are always changing, adapting to the evolving requirements of the marketplace, but the absolute love of movies, the passion - yours… ours… mine… - for the art itself, which runs throughout all of these pages, has remained a constant. They’ve run in parallel for close to twenty-five years and my personal relationship to the medium, my own passion for the form I’ve now made my profession to convey to the next generation, has been influenced by VW in so many ways that they’ve become impossible to dissociate.

But it is naturally not (only) about me and my relationship to VW. What you’ve done for the home video market during these 25 years is simply astounding. I don’t think we’d be in this place today at all had VW had not been around, guiding the producers, setting the standards. Just thinking of some of the household names: Kim Newman, David Kalat, Mark Kermode, the fondly remembered Michael Lennick and Tim himself have all become ubiquitous in the industry and all of them for the very best of reasons.

This may sound silly, but thank you for reminding us, through these digital pages and the hours of fascinated and educated fun they will bring us all, of the importance of Video Watchdog in our lives.

A Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to the two of you…

Didier Gertsch
Les Ateliers du Cinéma
Aubonne, Switzerland

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