A Documentary By Jessie Scott
Premiered July 22nd at the 2023 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival
Inspired by Tom Roston’s oral history I LOST IT AT THE VIDEO STORE, this playful feature length documentary uses a deep local focus to show how VHS changed art forever. As the video shop era fades to black, RAINBOW VIDEO delves into the eclectic personal collections and practices of some of Melbourne’s most renowned contemporary media artists. Through lively interviews and site studies of many legendary, now defunct video shops, RAINBOW VIDEO uncovers a secret history of a brief but impactful era.
For those of us who grew up in the 80s-we were the video generation. Born into the video shop era, our youths passed along with it. And although it was a mass pop-cultural phenomenon, artists, filmmakers and weirdos of all stripes also flocked to these places on a Friday night, and worked in them (or wished they did).
Artists and programmers such as Philip Brophy, Ian Haig, Cassandra Tytler, Xanthe Dobbie, Jean Lizza, Diego Ramirez and Spiro Economopoulos delve into their own libraries, and back catalogues, to talk about how they used video shops: as a direct source of material, as an informal, accessible art school, and as a social space to trade in cultural capital. Against a backdrop of 30 years of constantly shifting technology, RAINBOW VIDEO explores a twin history of indie video shops and libraries in Melbourne, and the underground artists that used them, proving video shops weren’t just a plot point on the historical chart of film distribution, but a crucial period of transition, whose impacts live on.
Produced, Directed and Edited by Jessie Scott
Additional Field Recording
Sound Design & Mix
The Colour Suite
Hope Lumsden Barry
Brunswick Grotesque By Dennis Grauel
This film was made with the support of:
RMIT School of Art
RMIT University Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship