Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett have spent years of their lives sifting through old VHS tapes, and their touring Found Footage Festival brings together videos that are kitschy, strange, and just plain hilarious. With their newest show of impeccably curated VHS gold coming to town this week, I asked cofounder and host Prueher what keeps FFF vital—and funnier than ever.
How have you been able to keep finding these lost treasures, particularly when everything seems to get regurgitated online?
We started the show before YouTube, so we weren't really sure how it would affect us. But if anything, we've found that it's helped us out. There is such a glut of material out there online, most of it not worth watching, so I think people appreciate the role of a curator to help sort through the garbage and serve up just the best stuff. And now that we've been doing it for eight years or so, people actually donate footage that they've found to this cause. In fact, there's a video in this new show that was given to us in Vancouver last year. It's a masturbation instructional tape called Hand Made Love, and we thank our lucky stars every day that this saint in Vancouver dug it out of a dumpster and gave it to us.
It seems to me that the longevity of FFF is because you guys genuinely love these videos and the oddballs who make them.
I totally agree. It really bothers to me to see TV shows and websites where the guys are just snarky and dismissive of the footage. That gets old really fast. Sure, we are having some fun with the videos and laughing at them, but we always ask ourselves if we'd be comfortable showing them with the subjects in the room.