As Video Americain tries to sell its vast stock of 60,000 DVDs, humanities professors at Loyola University Maryland, led by film studies director and associate English professor Nicholas Miller, are pooling their departmental funds and raising money from students and alumni to purchase hundreds of cream-of-the-crop films to use as teaching tools.
They've already raised $6,000, $1,000 of it from the Loyola Center for the Humanities, and have purchased more than 600 titles, Miller said.
And they aren't stopping there.
"This is ongoing," Miller said. "Many of us wish we could purchase the entire inventory."
Barry and Annie Solan, owners of the longtime Video Americain store on Cold Spring Lane, confirmed that Loyola faculty are buying DVDs.
The Solans announced in August 2013 that they were going out of business. They tried to sell their entire stock to a group called the Baltimore Video Collective, but the deal fell through — and the next day, Loyola faculty inquired about buying up DVDs, Miller said.
The effort is about more than just buying good films, Miller said. He said Video Americain is known as having one of the best collections in the country, including its classics and foreign films. And since it's right around the corner from Loyola, it's the place to go for an Arabic film or "that obscure Preston Sturges movie," Miller said. "We're trying to preserve an archive. It's so diverse and wide-ranging."
Miller said people can donate to the cause either by searching for the words "Loyola Video Americain purchase" on Facebook, or by writing checks payable to Loyola University Maryland and mailing them to attention of Miller, at Humanities 242K, at the university, 4501 North Charles St., 21210.