May 2024
Randy Rogers’ 40-Year Legacy
Prescott Film Society maintaining the Show Business Video Library

With our cinematic landscape dominated by streaming giants and digital downloads, the humble video rental store might seem a relic of a bygone era. Yet amid the rapid evolution of technology and consumer habits there are those who recognize the value of preserving these cultural institutions. Enter the Prescott Film Society, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the survival and continuation of the advancement of film and video in our region.

PFS is based physically in and organized to support the Show Business Video Library, an iconic location that locals usually just refer to as “Randy’s.” The library has held a special place in the hearts of Prescottonians for four decades, serving as more than just a place to rent movies. It’s a hub for nostalgia, a gathering spot for cinephiles, and a treasure trove of cinematic gems spanning generations.

Store manager and founding member of PFS Keaton Snyder says the library offers 57,000 titles, a a collection compiled based on the interactions of founder Randy Rogers with his local customers. “What Randy built here, and this is what I think is compelling about it, it’s Randy. He didn't necessarily go out and research what were the bestsellers. For the most part, and this is the way he tells it, he just got what the customers wanted. They told him what to get, what movies to buy, and he did.”

PFS has built a diverse team of volunteers, including filmmakers, film enthusiasts, business professionals and community leaders, all united in their love for cinema and commitment to preserving film and local culture. The organization’s mission statement  is clear: “The Prescott Film Society is dedicated to inspiring human interaction around film through preserving, expanding, and providing access to its extensive media library. The PFS seeks to catalyze Prescott and Arizona as a creative hub, making the art, industry, and culture of film accessible to the community through unique and affordable film events, productions and vital education programs.”

Keaton explains, “The idea is helping to develop a community around film, not just in the viewing of films, but also in the education of film and the education of production and film, and to help bring back some of the production that left” the area. Yavapai County was once a very popular place to make movies, and now that the state has reinstated its related tax credit, Keaton is hopeful that we’ll see the return of moviemaking here.

Keaton’s passion for the industry is obvious. Like other area artists he would love to see a world where the “talented weirdos” do not have to leave Prescott to pursue their dreams and create careers in the performing arts. “If there were a legitimate industry and an understanding from the community that everybody benefits if we support each other, there’s a huge need for artists and storytelling and theatre and film and music and all this stuff, it's very vital, important to human experience. There are all kinds of reasons why the filming dried up in Arizona, but I just don't see why we couldn't do that again, you know, like have a nice, cool, big film being made in Prescott. What if we had a Junior Bonner-scale production every two years? That would be incredible.”

PFS just received its nonprofit designation in December 2023, and invites everyone in the community to join the endeavor. Whether through volunteering, patronage, or spreading the word, everyone can play a role in safeguarding and expanding this cultural institution for future generations to enjoy.

The Prescott Film Society and Show Business Video Library are at 407 W. Goodwin St, Ste. 3736, Prescott; call 928-445-8558 for more info.

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