Arts preview: Found Footage Festival

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

If "America's Funniest Home Videos" had a thrifty, alternative cousin, it's the Found Footage Festival, and it's coming to the Wexner Center for the Arts on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

"They're just funny as hell," said Erik Pepple, the Wexner Center's media and public relations manager.

The screening is a collection of vintage film curated by "The Colbert Report's" Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett of The Onion. The "found footage" featured is exactly what it sounds like: lost gems of the VHS era.

The pair travels the country to find forgotten VHS tapes from employee training videos, home movies, reality television outtakes and everything in between among the nation's bargain bins, warehouses, garage sales and thrift stores. Every year the duo includes new clips and material to their arsenal of film, in addition to past favorites from previous screenings.

"It's a terrific thing to have such an experience in a theater with the crowd laughing, interacting with one another and the hosts, and generally having a communal experience," Pepple said of the screening. "You can't just watch these videos alone on your laptop or phone on a YouTube channel."

Examples of past found-footage clips include a cut from "Stairway to Stardom," a low-budget "Star Search" knockoff, and, according to Pepple, a commercial for a "deeply unsettling mask called the Rejuvenique that made the person wearing it look like a cyborg version of 'Halloween's' Michael Myers and Edith Scob from 'Eyes Without a Face.'"

The Wexner Center is committed to brining independent, experimental cult cinema to the capital city, so it makes sense the duo is returning for another year, Pepple said.

"This type of raiding of thrift stores and used VHS bins has become more and more an art form, and the types of clips these guys are assembling not only offer a glimpse into some more overlooked nooks of pop culture," Pepple said.

The Wexner Center for the Arts

7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16

1871 N. High St., Campus