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Recycling lesser-known flicks

President of Distribution Video and Audio (DVA) Ryan Kuglar has been working for DVA for 18 years. He is the co-owner of the company along with his brother, Brad. Kuglar is also the Executive Director for Team Against Drugs.
(Cheryl A. Guerrero)

He’s in the movie business, but he’s not at Sundance with all the snow bunnies and hot stars this week. Ryan Kugler is an aggregator. His DVA (Distribution Video & Audio) is one of the most successful businesses in Burbank, but don’t look for his store.

Instead, you’ll see his stuff in the bargain bins at major outlets, including the 99 Cents Only Stores. He buys in bulk the films that didn’t quite make it to a red-carpet premiere, but sometimes feature big-name actors — before they were famous. Mostly, says Kugler, it’s stuff that should never have been produced for the big screen.

“A widget is a widget, a movie is a movie, but every once in a while we get something that makes us go, ‘why did they ever think of making it?’ The Smothers Brothers made ‘Yo-Yo Man,’ a feature film about a yo-yo artist. It’s astonishing what people manufacture.”

Those mistakes make Kugler big profits. DVA made $3 million in its first year 23 years ago, selling to big video chains like Blockbuster and the now-defunct Hollywood Video. Now it takes in $23 million annually, and sells to 400 retail establishments, which means his products are in 15,000 stores. DVA also has more than 2,000 Internet accounts.


It’s a brother-to-brother, coast-to-coast company, with Ryan Kugler handling things on the West Coast, and sibling Brad Kugler working out of Tampa, Fla. They buy the movies in huge lots for pennies on the dollar, then sell them in bulk to their customers. The average retail price of the resold products is $1.

In spite of the recession, Kugler has been able to maintain a nonprofit charity and run it at the same time he’s helming DVA. He is president of Team Against Drugs. Kugler organized and hosted the 10th annual Say No to Drugs Race in Los Angeles in December. Proceeds benefit groups that try to keep youngsters off drugs, such as the Boys and Girls Club and Narconon.

“With charitable giving down 40%, it’s understandable (due to bad economic times). I respect and understand why people cut charitable giving, but my advice is: If everyone did something on the side, we’d have a lot less problems. What goes around comes around,” Kugler said.

Lucie Murray is the team leader for Moms In Motion Los Angeles, an international organization of fitness teams for women. Her team has participated in the Say No to Drugs Race for the past four years, she said.


“There are hundreds of charitable running events a season, and we are invited to many of them,” she said. “I typically like to take my team to different events every year, but the reason we’ve gone back to the Say No to Drugs Race every year for the last four years is that Ryan does a good job organizing the race. He works with me personally to ensure that our team has a great experience.”