RAROVHS Main Brain Cristian Sema Interviews Argentinian Releasing Label SRN Distribution All About Their Limited Edition VHS of DIABLO, Marking the First Fresh VHS Outside the US!
Even way down in South America, fresh VHS is happening. Yes, my fellow Videovores, Argentinian entities SRN Distribution and SARNA Productions, who are known for their elaborate deluxe editions of fringe films, have recently released the first slab of fresh VHS to be produced outside of the US. And luckily for us, we have the analog obsessed Cristian Sema of the super-rad RAROVHS there to help us learn more about SRN’s limited edition analog release of the Nicanor Loreti film DIABLO. Read on, Tapeheads, and edify your mind on the initial new-wave analog incarnation in Argentina with insight from the SRN crew Alejo Rébora and Daniela Giménez…
ALL BLOODIED UP, MANG. Dig it.
RAROVHS / LM: Tell us about your company. How did it all get started?
SRN distribution was created in 2007 as the distribution part of the SARNA production company. Our first release was Eklipsa Dana Vampir, a medium-length film which was premiered that same year at the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre film festival. The DVD sold out during that festival. Later on, we released a 5-DVD package with short films by the same production company. These days, those two first releases are discontinued. After that, the project was frozen for a couple of years until we came back to action releasing all the movies made by the underground company MutaZion Producciones. From that point forward, our catalogue has been slowly but relentlessly growing and becoming more diverse. From the beginning, the whole concept behind SRN was to make “deluxe releases for underground movies” considering that for us, even if a film was made with almost no budget at all, it deserves a release as good as the most expensive movie in the world. A good design with a cool menu, crew audio-commentaries, subtitles, many extras and ingenious gifts together with conceptual or limited releases are an added value to the piece itself. And they turn our releases into collector’s items, even if you’re not interested in cheap movies. We work in a very “handmade” way and most of our team is practically the same as for the SARNA production company, which is the reason why sometimes we don’t have enough time to devote to new releases, although we never considered stopping doing it.
The full-on set of analog excellence for DIABLO. Hand-assembled, hand-numbered, and hands down radical.
Can you tell us a little bit about the release? What’s the film all about, and how did you get involved with it?
This release of DIABLO, a movie produced by Boikot Films and directed by Nicanor Loreti, is a limited run of 52 VHS. Each one of the boxes was cut, folded and glued by hand, and the same goes for the videocassette stickers. The video also includes a booklet with information about the movie and a postcard. We had a strong relationship with the DIABLO’s director even before we decided to release his movie because Loreti was an associate producer in our movie TRASH DOS: Las tetas de Ana L. (the second long movie by SARNA, released in 2013) and we also made some video clips for Argentinian music bands together. DIABLO did very well at festivals all over the world and also became a quite successful movie in the local market, specially taking into account that its genre and style are quite different from the standard Argentinian movies. The interest it aroused in the audience made it possible to release the movie on VHS, which has quite higher production costs than DVD and, therefore, also a higher price. Luckily, it worked out.
A look at the hand-assembly taking place. DIY or die, mang.
Why did you decide to go for a VHS release? What made you want to put this film on the format?
The very concept of SRN Distribution is based on special releases with unique or novel (or, in this case, retro-novel) design. For a long time we’ve had the idea of releasing a movie on VHS and we simply waited for the right movie to show up. DIABLO is, in great measure, a homage to movies from the 70s and, as Loreti is a great fan of that era, he was immediately convinced into releasing the movie on VHS. Besides, as it quickly became a cult movie, we thought that releasing it on a cult format such as VHS was the best choice!
A shot of the meticulous care going into the cutting and assembly of the boxes. Dig that analog-oriented attention to detail.
According to my sources, you guys are the only people outside of the US releasing fresh VHS. Do you know if that’s true, and if so, how does that make you feel?
As far as we know, we are the first ones and it makes us feel very proud and enthusiastic about it!
Looking GROOVY alongside SRN's other radical wares. STICK 'EM UP, BUCKO!
Do you have affection for the format personally? Why do you think it’s important to keep the VHS format around?
All the people involved in this release grew up watching, using and collecting VHS, adjusting tracking and opening our VCRs to clean the heads… so the format is something that we are definitely fond of. It’s important to keep it alive because, otherwise, we’d be losing part of our childhood.
A glimpse at the actual slab o' analog encased in the custom slipcase. THIS RULES.
Do you have any analog oriented plans for the future?
We’d love to keep making analog releases. Again, it will be just a matter of finding a project that really suits the format.
Anything else you’d like to say to all the Tapeheads out there?
Let’s keep doing all we can to prevent VHS from disappearing because, in the end… who needs more and more picture quality? We still have some DIABLO videocassettes
Who needs more picture quality, indeed! Don’t let bigwig digital commerce mongers fool you with their shiny new formats, my friends: only analog is real! And you know this, mannnnnn. A huge amount of gratitude goes out to Cristian Sema of the analog-obsessed RAROVHS for conducting the interview and providing the translation. Without him, we wouldn’t be able to understand this seriously significant slice of video vindication. And that’s pretty groovy. Be sure to check out RAROVHS for an overflow of absolute analog insanity and radical rarities. Even if you can’t understand the language, man, the images and cover scans are sure present you with a plethora of obscure video treats!