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Found Footage Festival showcases greatest hits and rediscovered gems

Lost and Found

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Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are hoarders. No, not the kind with caution tape around their house and feral cats mewwing for scraps of tuna casserole. I mean, probably not. But they're definitely hoarders of hilarity. They even have their own storage unit for the stuff. "We had a storage locker where our videos lived for 10 years," says Prueher. "Any time we had to find something, we'd have to go through it."

For the uninitiated — the Found Footage Festival duo (who we will lovingly refer to as the triple F dudes) curate hilarious/strange/sometimes disturbingly odd VHS tapes, like one long America's Funniest Home Videos episode, but funnier. And while the two have been curating this show and taking it around the country for 14 years, they've been buds for even longer. "We've known each other since we were 10," says Prueher. "We grew up in Wisconsin and one of the things we did was have friends over and watch vidoes ... [today] it still feels like a living room."

Video greats, like RV Man, abound in Found Footage Festival - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Video greats, like RV Man, abound in Found Footage Festival

Prueher is excited because recently, the guys were able to move out of their storage locker into a proper space. "We just moved into the carpet warehouse district and our place is filled with six or seven thousand videos." That's a lot of found footage. Prueher says they've been able to put all the videos on shelves, and have resdiscovered many a hidden gem. "There are videos we found on the road and promptly forgot about," he says. "Once we've gotten all the videos on the shelf, I bet we haven't watched 2/3 of them."

Of the thousands of videos they have watched and presented over the years, there are definitely some favorites. One of those videos that the guys just can't let go of features a public access show called "Dancing with Frank." "Frank is a balding short guy, hairy but balding, and he wears nothing but a lone ranger mask and American flag speedo," says Prueher. "He's dancing to marches and mariachi music, patting his butt cheeks, all in the name of art. And the weirder part is the audience for this is sitting in a semi-circle, it's six to 10 elderly people who look like they don't want to be there." The FFF was so damn intrigued by Frank that they hired a private investigator to find him. "A detective in Austin, TX found him, found an email address, and said 'I think this is your guy.'" So Pickett and Prueher reached out to Frank, saying they were his biggest fans, and that they had a lot of questions. "He said yes to meeting," says Prueher. "He said meet me at the second lifeguard stand by the Santa Monica Pier." Prueher says that after 1,500 hours of travel to fly out there and get a hotel and rent a car that they "left with more questions than we arrived with." All in the name of art.

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