'Found Footage Festival' puts spotlight on bad videos

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FoundFootageFest.com

Screenshot of "Learn the Dances of the '80s"

On Sunday, the Oscars celebrated the best in film. But on Tuesday, The "Found Footage Festival" will celebrate the best (or worst) in videos found in dumpsters, thrift stores and garage sales across America.

Nick Prueher, one of the festival’s curators, says the idea for such a show began when he was working at a McDonald’s in high school.

"It turned out to be one of the most insultingly dumb videos I’d ever seen," said Prueher.

Prueher took the tape home and showed it to his friends, who loved it. Soon, watching the video became a weekly ritual.

Prueher and his friends eventually decided they needed new material and they started scouring thrift shops and garage sales for new videotapes. By 2004, they decided they had enough material to actually make a show based around their "found footage."

Prueher, and a co-host, will perform that show on Tuesday at the Largo Theatre in Los Angeles.

There are two criteria that a video has to meet to be featured in the show: the video has to be unintentionally funny, and it has to fail (in an entertaining way) at what it was attempting to accomplish.

One of the videos that will be shown at the Largo is a 1985 tape called "Rent-A-Friend." The idea behind the video was that a lonely person could pop the tape into the VCR and spend time with their "rent-a-friend," but in this particular video the "friend" starts revealing very intimate, uncomfortably personal details. Prueher has asked us to not put the video on the website, but you can hear the audio in our interview.

Here's another video that meets the "Found Footage" criteria:

Prueher says despite the cultural shift to DVD and other newer forms of media, there's no lack of material for their show.

"You know, I guess the thing that we’ve found is that the formats change, and the production values change, but the bad ideas never do," said Prueher.

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