Hollywood Wunderkind Producer Saves Santa Monica Video Store
After an vocal outpouring of support and grief over Santa Monica video store Vidiots' announcement that they would close their doors in April, two donors have stepped up to the plate and ensured that the local institution will remain open for the "foreseeable future."Wunderkind film producer Megan Ellison and longtime customer Leonard M. Lipman, M.D. each donated an undisclosed sum earlier this week to keep the store's inventory of 50,000+ titles available to the public. Lipman had pledged a contribution when the announcement was made on Monday, but it wasn't until Ellison had reached out to co-founders Cathy Tauber and Patty Polinger later in the week that everything fell into place. "This all this just happened and we are beyond thrilled," Tauber told the LA Times on Friday.
Ellison is the 29-year old daughter of former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who is valued at $55 billion, and has used her own wealth (at one point estimated around $300 million) to fund some of the most critically acclaimed American films of the last few years, including The Master, Zero Dark Thirty, Her, and American Hustle (directed by Vidiots supporter David O. Russell).
"She really wants to partner with us in making Vidiots a new, exciting, sustainable place with an independent mind-set," said Tauber. Although she will now reportedly have a role in the operation of the store and its functions as a non-profit (as The Vidiots Foundation), a representative for Ellison told The Hollywood Reporter that the store would stay "as is." The sum donated by Ellison remains a secret, but her rep told the L.A. Times that it "should keep their coffee pot running."
Ellison, a self-identified "eccentric", has shied away from appearances or statements, using her Twitter account for most public statements. On Thursday she coyly tweeted a photo of the store with caption "Be kind rewind."
A more substantive comment came on Friday afternoon when she responded to an L.A. Times reporter and the Santa Monica Daily Press on Twitter:
Ellison, through her production company Annapurna Pictures, has eschewed funding mainstream movie fare and lent her financial support towards more artistic, daring projects. One of her first productions was Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, to which she supposedly wrote a check for twice the estimated budget "just because she wanted to, and just because she could." Although a critical success, The Master was a box office flop.