Found Footage Festival – Friday, Oct 17 – Starz Filmcenter
While I was out in San Francisco recently, I couldn’t help but pick up an envelope that was used as a note from one to another, because it was hand titled: “To the asshole who took my spot.”* There is something wonderful about coming across treasures that provide such honest examples of the human condition, and I was pleased to find the screener for the Found Footage Festival upon my return home.
Talking to me from New York City, their home town, Found Footage Festival’s co-creator, Joe Pickett, had this to say about their nationwide tour that’s bringing them to Denver this Friday, October 17. “[Starz] sounds like our kind of place. Those are the kind of places we typically play, so it should be fun.”
Fun indeed. The hosts and treasure hunters, including Pickett and Nick Prueher, will have an array of celluloid clips of late ‘80s and early ‘90s in tow. Everything from a rapping employee training video, public access television shows, a few scary home videos, and a dirty mouthed RV dealer. Let’s just say, it’s a ‘laughing at them not with them’ type of film festival.
Coming from a comedic and sarcastic background (The Onion, The Colbert Report), Pickett and Prueher not only do the production to pull together these clips, but provide commentary during each presentation.
Found in thrift stores, garage sales, or even in the garbage, Pickett considers the late ‘80s and early ‘90s the golden age of homemade movies. “They were cheap to make and produce. All you had to do was hit that red button. They made way too many videos back then. But thank God they did.”
Yes, many a filmmaker knew this new fangled video camera was going to make someone a star…in their own mind.
At the center was Harvey Sid Fisher, whose lounge act show centered on singing about astrological signs. Huh?
“He’s one of the coolest people that I know. We decided to call the phone number that was at the end of the video. The number still worked. We told him, ‘We love your video. We want to see more and want to meet you in Los Angeles.’ I think he was a little suspicious at first. Once he saw how much people really enjoyed his videos, he warmed up to [the festival].”
So the two arranged to have Harvey Sid Fisher as a guest and Pickett even donned a lion leotard to be the interpretive dancer for the “Loving Leo Lion” song, while Mr. Fisher performed the number. “He’s kind of the Dude from Big Lebowski.”
In Volume Two, there are classic clips from public access shows that they call “soapbox for the insane,” complete with poor production and odd subject material. There’s “Lyme Disease: The Untold Story,” some old man with a Christian talk show and stuffed animals as his guests, a stripping comedian, a Goth guy that was no doubt the inspiration for SNL’s Goth Talk, an old woman who believes she’s an alien, and the classic show that still runs to this day, Chic-A-Go-Go.
This kid’s dance show is a bit odd, showing small children dancing with older teenagers in a free form format. Pickett and Prueher actually went on the show when their tour went through Chicago, and they each wore their own dance outfits, including Pickett’s interpretive Leo the Lion leotard, “We highly recommend that if you’re ever in Chicago, you’ve got to check out Chic-A-Go-Go. It’s the most fun you can have on a Saturday morning.”
I’ll add one recommendation. Hit up one of the 5am bars in Chicago and pull an all-nighter. Take a cab and go straight to the studio wearing a skin tight Leo Lion one-piece. Just don’t tell them I sent you.
*To The Asshole Who Took My Spot (note found at Valencia and 17th in San Francisco, no doubt left on the windshield of the car owned by Asshole, and later tossed by Asshole)
I rarely get angry — pretty even-keeled, nice person. But your behavior today pretty much put me over the edge. I was so clearly waiting for that spot. And to just bust in and steal it? Total dick move, buddy. So you must be a pretty horrible person. And I feel sorry for that girl who has to date you.