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Popular Toronto video rental store shuts down

Posted by Derek Flack / August 11, 2014

Film Buff EastThe Film Buff East is closing its doors. One of two locations (the other is on Roncesvalles), the popular movie rental shop has long been a fixture on Queen at Greenwood, offering a diverse selection of titles designed to please cinephiles and anyone looking for something over and above Hollywood blockbusters. While the store cites a number of factors for its closure, the owners aren't shy when it comes to what you might call the Netflix effect.

"Independent and foreign filmmakers are struggling to find their audiences, partly because there's entirely too many mediocre films being made and partly because new distribution paradigms have come to dominate the industry," reads a note on the store's website. "Netflix has absorbed a significant share of our client base by being very good at what they do - which is delivering mainstream movies that satisfy most of the people most of the time. The niche market that remains for stores like The Film Buff has simply become too small to maintain multiple outlets."

That's about as good a summary as you could care to get of the situation that video stores face today. If you read the whole note (you should), it's clear that this is less an example of sour grapes on the part of business owners than it is a lament from cinema lovers who are worried about what happens to the film industry when the appetite for a broader range of films dissipates.

Thankfully the Roncesvalles location will remain open. And as far as silver linings go, the soon-to-be-announced sale of the Film Buff East's catalogue will provide an opportunity for film buffs to add loads of hard to find titles to their collection. Check the store's Facebook page for updates on the upcoming liquidation. The east side location will officially close September 2nd.



John / August 11, 2014 at 09:18 am
That's to bad. Was a good spot, although 7-24 video on Church has a better selection and cheaper prices (
CineVile / August 11, 2014 at 09:28 am
7-24 closed some time ago...
steve replying to a comment from CineVile / August 11, 2014 at 09:38 am
It moved a block north of Wellesley
Torontonian replying to a comment from CineVile / August 11, 2014 at 09:41 am
The video store 7-24 is now located at
584 Church Street, just a few blocks north
and on the other side of Church Street.
Mr. VCR / August 11, 2014 at 09:50 am
So which is better - VHS or Beta?
Rob / August 11, 2014 at 10:02 am
Love the film buff. Thank goodness we use the Roncesvalles location. film buff is great for Hollywood releases but even better for obscure and under the radar titles.

Hate netflix. Hate low res. Only blu ray and 1080p resolution is good enough for the 65 inch HDTV.
Jason replying to a comment from Mr. VCR / August 11, 2014 at 10:09 am
pfft, laser disc all the way
Jacob replying to a comment from Rob / August 11, 2014 at 10:50 am
Netflix streams 1080p.

I subscribe to Netflix, but what I hate about it is that titles tend to disappear from it.
finally replying to a comment from Chester / August 11, 2014 at 11:05 am
go on...
Chester / August 11, 2014 at 11:19 am
A company like the Film Buff would be smart if they want to cater to independent films by competing with Netflix. Reach out to independent filmmakers and distributors and give them a platform where people can watch their movies.
Todd Toronto / August 11, 2014 at 11:27 am
So we've killed the video store without coming up with anything to replace it. Great!

Sure, I won't have any problems dialing up "The Lego Movie" from the comfort of my own home, but anything foreign or older than two years old, and I'm screwed.

Slow Shirley replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / August 11, 2014 at 11:34 am
Yes we've killed the video store because people aren't supporting them most are online. Same as the music industry and news industry. Hard to whine when the masses aren't supporting them it was only a matter of time. After Blockbuster closed a few locals were able to hang onto the niche for awhile but slowly and surely....
gabe / August 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm
Better start digitizing those movies now or they will be lost forever.

Everytime there's a format change in music or movies there's always a certain about of content/art that just doesn't make it over to the latest format because its not profitable for companies to reissue some music or movies that just weren't that popular and don't have a high demand for them anymore as when they were first released although many people still like them. The only way to keep them alive is to have an old 8 track player, VHS player, record player, etc.

While I don't expect big business that are all about profit to do this for us, this is where we come in....
Rob / August 11, 2014 at 04:45 pm
Netflix streaming in 1080p depends entirely on the bandwidth that you are receive. It will stall and buffer and pixilate and down the res anytime that the feed slows down. The quality of a compressed file is never as good-I'm looking at you iTunes and mp3's!

Netflix's catalogue is too shallow-especially in canada. Not as deep of selection of rare, older or obscure titles. Cinephiles are not served well by netflix

In a city that hosts one of THE major film festivals one would think that we would be more demanding of our cinema choices.

I love going to a theatre and I love true hd at home.
Mr. Unblocking / August 11, 2014 at 07:15 pm
So get an unblocking service for $5/month & choose brit netflix, canadian or american. I prefer British-smaller than USA but better selection. I also like Irish TV, Itv from britain, channel4(brit), etc.
Karma / August 12, 2014 at 09:47 am
Video killed the radio star
internet killed the video star
Ricky Martin Jr. / August 12, 2014 at 10:58 am
Good riddance! Video rental is so last millennium. Fuck those old-aged bastards.
Spike replying to a comment from Jacob / August 12, 2014 at 02:36 pm
Netflix rotates its selections periodically for the sake of variety, if I'm not mistaken.

I'm saddened to see this location close-I was here in June just to take a look at it, and was planning to come back and rent. At least the Roncesvalles location is still open, and it's accessible by the King streetcar.

Spike replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / August 12, 2014 at 02:39 pm
You should be buying the foreign titles as much as possible, so that you won't be dependent on video stores closing or companies not releasing them on DVD again.
jnyyz / August 12, 2014 at 03:40 pm
TIFF needs to pull the ads for "It was you charlie" right away in light of recent events....
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