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Arts and Entertainment

Random Acts of Filmage: Found Videos and Ephemera on the Big Screen in LA this Week

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If you're a cable access junkie or you think infomercials for the Sham Wow or Shake Weight are the best things on TV, then get ready to get off the couch for two different festivals in LA this week. The Found Footage Festival and the Everything Is Festival (EIF) bring the best of the worst of industrial films, infomercials, late-night cable access, ephemera and all sorts of other odd crap to the big screen.

On Friday, the Found Footage Festival returns to Largo with all new clips dug up by festival founders Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (The Colbert Report). The lineup's been curated from thrift store video bins and garage sales across North America, including an LA public access show Dancing with Frank Pacholski from 1999, which Prueher says is the "strangest clip we've ever found. (We think this is the guy's website, but honestly, we're too scared to click the dance links. We'll wait to be surprised on Friday.)

Other gems in this year's festival include: A new collection of exercise tapes, including one called “The Sexy Treadmill Workout”; Found classroom films from the ‘60s and ‘70s, curated by Skip Elsheimer of A.V. Geeks; and Highlights from a 1986 video about how to care for your ferret.

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And, if the found footage isn't enough to entice you to come out, the festival is also bringing yo-yo master Kenny "K-Strass" Strasser for a rare appearance. Yes, it may seem a bit weird as far as live entertainment goes, but it's perfect for this festival.

Not to be outdone, Cinefamily's Everything is Festival—an 11-day celebration of found footage, alternative comedy and experimental film artists—presents an array of weird and bizarre screenings throughout the week. This weekend's lineup really caught our attention:

  • EIF presents The Art of the Cat Film on Saturday at 1 pm with Katie Hill, founder of the Internet Cat Video Festival at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, who'll give a sneak peek of her event, followed by the LA premiere of the SXSW sensation CatCam.
  • Monsters of Found Footage at 6:30 pm on Saturday is a live panel of found footage experts who pioneered the collecting and screening of stuff normally reserved for garage sale bins.
  • The Rise and Fall of God or Religion’s Greatest Shits! or God Is Alive And Well And Living in Branson on Saturday at 9 pm. It's a collection of odd videos and films from organized religions.
  • On Sunday at 5 pm, Dan Harmon, formerly of NBC’s Community, and writer/director Rob Schrab, present Found Crap 7, which includes clips from bad comedy, sci-fi, horror and just an odd assortment of crap.
  • At 10 pm on Sunday the EIF holds a Battle Royale, a tournament of so-bad-they're-good videos. Cinefamily's still accepting entrance applications until the 22nd, so if you have a few treasures in the closet, read the rules and submit. Eventually, 16 contestants will be selected to participate—but like Highlander, there can only be one.

More information: Everything Is Festival at Cinefamily now through Aug. 28. Times and ticket prices vary. The Found Footage Festival is at Largo at the Coronet on Friday, Aug. 24 at with doors at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $25.