Services like Net Flix and On-Demand might be the most convenient options for movie-viewers, but the Independent Video Library's new owner aims to add some local flavor to the movie experience. Oliver Assiran, who recently bought the video store located at 40th and Locust streets, has begun a series of changes designed to turn the business into more than just a video store. The layout of the store has been rearranged in the last month to make room for a comic store in the back called West Philly Comics. Assiran said he also plans to add a screening room where he hopes local filmmakers will showcase their work. College sophomore Melissa Metelits, who is majoring in film studies and theatre arts, said the idea of a local venue for Penn students to show their films is very exciting. "Now, the only chance we get is in the classroom and at festivals that come once a semester," said Metelits, who makes thrillers. Assiran, a filmmaker himself, said he empathizes with the difficulty amateur filmmakers face. "I know when I made my first movie we couldn't get it shown anywhere," he said. With his second movie, however, Assiran had more success. The film, called Flogging Margaret, was picked up for distribution by Warner Brothers and released earlier this month. Assiran described it as "a love story about revenge." With his success, Assiran decided to branch out and leave his job as a projectionist in Manayunk. When he heard from his sister, a former employee, that the Video Library was for sale, he decided to buy it. In addition to the comic book store and screening room, Assiran said he wants to overhaul the Video Library's little-known mail order system, which serves customers nationwide. Nine customers interviewed at the store this week said they had never heard about the mail order system. Thus far, Assiran's changes have been popular among local children. Will Jenkins, a fourth-grader at the Penn-Alexander School, said he was not very interested in comic books before, but he really likes the new store. "My friends and I have walked over here from school a few times since it opened," he said. "It's a fun place to hang out and they don't get mad at us if we're being loud." Assiran will begin filming next year on a second film for Warner Brothers that will be called How to Pick Up Girls if You're a Comic Book Geek.Comments powered by Disqus
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