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Gateway to host celebration of hilariously obscure VHS footage

By Scott Vezdos, Director of Communications – Gateway Film Center

The self-proclaimed “Champions of VHS” have compiled an impressive collection of strange, outrageous, and profoundly stupid videos over the years. And they’re bringing some of that oddball collection to the Gateway Film Center for a special one-night-only event on Thursday, July 14.

We all know VHS tapes did not last the technological test of time. But Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher collect those discarded VHS tapes — a hobby that started in 1991 with the discovery of an odd training video at a McDonald’s in Wisconsin — and present them to audiences across the US and Canada at the Found Footage Festival.

“Basically what we’re doing is a guided tour through a very well curated collection of unintentionally funny videos,” writes Prueher. “From the curiously-produced industrial training video to the forsaken home movie donated to Goodwill, the Found Footage Festival resurrects these forgotten treasures and serves them up in a lively celebration of all things found.”

The festival takes audiences on a journey through the latest VHS discoveries of the duo, where Pickett and Prueher sprinkle in jokes, narration, and where-are-they-now commentary.

Their all-new “Salute to Nerds” road show will debut at the Gateway Film Center including:

  • a Magic: The Gathering instructional video from 1999
  • an educational tape starring “The Worm Woman from Kalamazoo”
  • a collection of VCR board games covering everything from Star Trek to the Holy Bible

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As the last vestiges of the VCR age disappear from the shelves of thrift stores and pawn shops, the Found Footage Festival has by necessity become more resourceful in tracking down new tapes from fans, private collectors, and even estate sales of the recently deceased.

What’s more, on several occasions, they have turned to private detectives to track down the subjects of these decades-old videos—spending thousands flying across the country for conversations with unusual individuals, only to leave befuddled with more questions than they had before.

For the pair, dredging up such artifacts out of the depths of obscurity and making jobs about them is all in a day’s work. Pickett is a contributing writer for The Onion and Prueher used to work at The Colbert Report and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Luckily, they’ve managed their day jobs well enough to find time to curate a collection of some 5,000 cassettes—enough to keep the Found Footage Festival tour wheels turning for quite some time.

Join us Thursday, June 14 for a one-night-only “Salute to Nerds” special event beginning at 8:30 p.m., with a cocktail hour with the hosts at 7:30 p.m. in the GFC lounge.

Tickets are $15, or $10 for myGFC members.

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