Found Footage Festival
The Found Footage Festival is a live comedy event and screening featuring unusual and humorous clips from VHS videotapes gathered from thrift stores, garage sales, warehouses, estate sales, and dumpsters throughout the United States.
Founded in 2004, the Festival originated in Wisconsin and Minnesota by Joe Pickett, Nick Prueher and Geoff Haas, childhood friends from Wisconsin. While still in high school, Pickett and Prueher began collecting videos from garage sales, training videos from odd jobs, and copies of tapes from a video production house. The friends would then play selections from this collection for entertainment at parties, a practice which continued through their college years at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. In 2004, Pickett and Prueher quit their day jobs to focus on production of their first feature documentary, Dirty Country. They started the touring Found Footage Festival show to fund the production of the documentary. In addition to its regular touring schedule, the Festival has appeared at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, Just For Laughs (the Montreal comedy festival), the New York Comedy Festival, the Impakt Festival in the Netherlands, and the Central Standard Film Festival in Minneapolis, MN. The Festival is currently based out of New York City.
The found clips are projected onto a theater screen, with the "host/curators" hosting the event from a staging area in the front. The clips are presented in succession from a master DVD, with the hosts controlling the timing and order by remote control. In addition to introducing their found footage and presenting a brief history of how it was come across, the hosts offer running jokes and commentary during the clips, like a live version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and implement live comedic sketches and pre-recorded bits between some of the selections.
Although the show evolves with new material for each tour, its midwestern influence is still prominent in its source material, and many of the clips come from this region of the country. In addition, the show continues to feature staple clips that have become fan favorites, including:
- It Only Takes a Second, a safety video from Federated Mutual Insurance
- Outtakes from Winnebago promotional videos featuring a foul-mouthed rep named Jack Rebney, now retired and suffering from blindness. The phenomenon surrounding the clips became the subject of a 2009 documentary called Winnebago Man, which featured the curators in several interviews.
- Harvey Sid Fisher music videos of songs describing the zodiac
- clips of the public-access television cable TV show Stairway to Stardom
- clips from "Carnival in Rio," a 1983 TV travelogue featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger
In 2006, the Found Footage Festival began offering for sale a DVD of the show's March 25, 2006, screening at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, New York, called Volume One: Live in Brooklyn. This has been supplemented by the 2007 release of a second DVD, Volume Two: Live in Minneapolis, as well as the 2008 release of Volume Three: Live in San Francisco. In December 2009, the Found Footage Festival released Volume Four: Live in Tucson.
In September 2010 The Found Footage Show premiered on The Onion's A.V. Club website. The series, which was hosted by Pickett and Prueher, showcased found footage clips and ran for 36 episodes over 2 seasons.
In December 2010 The Found Footage Festival Volume Five was released. The DVD was filmed in front of a live audience at the historic Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and features a guest appearance by Bob Odenkirk.
On June 16, 2012 the program for The Found Footage Festival Volume Six was filmed at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. The DVD was released in August 2012 in conjunction with a 100-show tour.
In August 2012 the duo appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to talk about the festival and show clips from their current tour.
- Found Footage Festival Volume One: Live in Brooklyn (2006)
- Found Footage Festival Volume Two: Live in Minneapolis (2007)
- Found Footage Festival Volume Three: Live in San Francisco (2008)
- Found Footage Festival Volume Four: Live in Tucson (2009)
- Found Footage Festival "Zany" Zingers and Bonked-Out Blunders (2010)
- Found Footage Festival Volume Five: Live in Milwaukee (2010)
- Found Footage Festival Volume Six: Live in Chicago (2012)
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