The lineup formed outside Pic-A-Flic Video twenty minutes before opening, with cinephiles hoping to get their hands on their favourite films.
For owner Kent Bendall, seeing so many films fly out the door is bittersweet. “Oh, it’s totally sad,” he says. “I’m like a clown. I’m smiling, but I’m crying inside.”
Bendall started working at the store in 2000 in its Cook Street Village location, and has owned the shop for the last seven years. The store boasts roughly 25,000 titles, but because of the convenience of streaming platforms, customers aren’t streaming through the doors like they once did.
“Unfortunately it’s the end of the video store, and I’m forced to sell everything off,” says Bendall.
He was unable to secure a buyer for the entire collection, and selling it piece-by-piece is an emotional experience for him. “It’s crushing, to be honest.”
Pic-A-Flic boasts what Bendall thinks is the most comprehensive collection of foreign films you’ll find anywhere. Selections from its Criterion Collection flew off the shelves first from anywhere from $40 to $100. The most expensive film in the collection is Pumping Iron 2, and that’s behind the counter.
“It’s impossible to find. It was a low-production run and people pay two to three hundred dollars for it on the auction sites.”
Also in the collection was The Room, which Bendall refers to as the worst film ever made. Cinephile Nathan Williams pounced on the lone copy Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve seen it in theatre, but to see it whenever I want? Yeah.”
Bendall says inactive accounts are no longer on the system, unless there are late charges.
“If you’re out there, and you owe us movies or money, come on in,” he laughs.
Pic-A-Flic’s sale continues until the end of August.