Rental Rewind: A real trip back in time

Story by Jim Zang

In the first Jurassic Park movie, what is the primary gender of the dinosaurs?

That’s the kind of question you can expect from Rental Rewind, a new TV game show being produced in Airdrie by Crooked Cinema.

If you can remember heading out to the video rental store every weekend to pick up the latest VHS movie releases, this show’s for you! And the answer, by the way, is ‘female’.

“Rental Rewind is a thrilling new game show that takes you back to the golden era of movie rentals in the ’80s and ’90s,” says Mitchell George, the show’s producer and owner of Crooked Cinema.

“Each episode, contestants will answer trivia questions about classic movies and television shows from the era, as well as play mini games that test their knowledge and memory. Points are awarded for correct answers and successful completion of the mini games, and the contestants rent VHSs for their chance to win the game. With its nostalgic theme and exciting gameplay, Rental Rewind is a must-see for fans of the ’80s and ’90s.”

Rental Rewind is the company’s first ever game show with TV distribution, says George. “Before this, I used to stream on Twitch, where I made hundreds of game shows that were available on the global level, and the responses were always fantastic. That’s what inspired us to move it from the digital world and bring it to the studio level.

“We wanted this to be a community project, and trivia is such a communal thing. You work together, collaborate and share experiences around a common theme. It just seemed so perfect. Plus, with the nostalgia, we wanted to really revisit that old movie experience, and the culture we all shared.”

The show features two teams of three people each, all from Airdrie, who compete to answer movie trivia questions. Daniel Perry, a middle school teacher who has a masters degree in script writing and is a great drama performer, and Tare Rennebohm, also a middle school teacher as well as a well known artist and performer, are co-hosts of the show.

“Our goal is to hit three pilot episodes, and hopefully we can show that it has legs, and push for a full season,” says George. “Right now, we are looking to the community to help sponsor prizes, and create a collaborative community project, but the real prize is the experience. We want to create a fun, comfortable atmosphere – and if these pilots work out – then we’ll look into growing bigger.

“In theory, this would be something we would like to do for the next year, but we’ve been limited to having the entire production wrapped from start to finish in four months. Due to the cost of space, and nowhere to host the set, we’re forced to make fast moves.”

George, who has lived in Airdrie for most of his life, began Crooked Cinema as a freelance endeavor about 10 years ago. Since then, the company’s shot many different short films, product commercials and corporate videos and recently won the Professional Artist Award at the 2023 Airdrie Mayor’s Night of the Arts.

“At the heart of everything we do is story. My experience with storytelling is lifelong. The beauty of video production is that it’s an expressive art form. Everything has a story, and even if you don’t think it does – we will pull the story out of it. I’ve actually got a BA in Child Studies and Counseling, and I teach at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.”

So, what’s been the biggest challenge so far?

“Time,” says George. “Lots of time, and the ability to overcome consistent obstacles. When working on creative projects, overcoming adversity can be a challenging but important part of the process.

“We maintained a positive attitude and stayed focused on our goals. It was helpful to remind ourselves of the reasons why we are pursuing this creative project and to stay motivated and determined to see it through. This project was successful because we reached out for support from others, such as friends, family, and other artists, who provided support, encouragement and advice.

“Sometimes, adversity can be a sign that it is time to try something different or to approach a problem from a new perspective. By being open to new ideas and approaches, we found solutions to challenges that seemed insurmountable before.

“Rental Rewind is the result. We went big, and the goal is to see it through.”

You can watch Rental Rewind on Telus Optik TV or YouTube beginning sometime next year, says George.