Found Footage Festival

The Found Footage Festival hits Toronto

The Found Footage Festival rolls through Toronto with its sixth anniversary lineup tomorrow (Sunday, May 23rd) at the Bloor.

It all started thanks to two guys who have been collecting VHS tapes since the wee early 90s. Over the years, the Wisconsin boys amassed a treasure trove of oddball clips, enough for a big screen show. "On a lark," says Found Footage Festival co-founder and host Nick Prueher, "we rented out a theatre in Manhattan six years ago and sent out press releases and, to our surprise, people actually showed up."

To my surprise, the screening isn't just a Best of (or Worst of) YouTube showcase. True, there's definitely a bias for the strange and stupid - but the founders also display a knack for assembling hilarious thematic montages and providing a live commentary at each event.

While '80s exercise shows and infomercials are always a sure bet for laughs, the Found Footage Festival includes dozens of weird gems lifted from cartoons, instructional and erotic videos too. The kind that make you feel nostalgic and baffled at the same time.

This weekend's program has a number of entertaining, fascinating, and insane snippets, among them excerpts from Bushwackers Aerobic Workout, What The Heck Am I Going To Do With My Hair, Golden Girl Rue McClanahan's The Cat Care Video Guide, "The World's 1st Nude Pop Video," and my personal favourite, highlights from a video dating service called Video Mates circa 1987 (see Viking photo above).

"If you've ever wanted to watch a man say 'All I want to do is save you money' over and over until it's lost all meaning," Prueher recommends a series of commercials starring Bargain Bernie, the owner of a furniture store in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Found Footage Festival will showcase videos found at garage sales, thrift stores, and in dumpsters throughout the U.S. along with stories from the founders' video-scavenging adventures, at the Bloor Cinema, at 7pm on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010. Tickets are $15 and available online in advance. Local found footage donations are highly encouraged.

Still courtesy of the Found Footage Festival.

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