Move over Netflix and Hulu. The YouTube Buffer Festival set the bar for the landscape with an authoritative exclamation - We aren’t just prank videos and viral one-hit wonders. We are creators. We’re serious about our work. We’re damn good at it.
Reelio co-sponsored the recent event in Toronto and we were fortunate enough to witness firsthand the next generation of Ron Howards, George Lucases and Mel Brooks. Thanks to ApprenticeA Productions (the founders), alongside the Canadian Film Centre and the Toronto International Film Festival, there were more than 50 film screenings, hundreds of Youtubers (such as, JacksFilms, Matthew Santoro, Rob Dyke, sWooZie, and LaurDIY), thousands of fans, and an energy that screams this is something to take seriously.
For those who missed it, I wanted to offer my Top
10 14 Buffer Shorts (in no particular order) for your enjoyment.
1. Oscar’s Hotel (KickThePj)
This film was one of my favorites. The color palette, quirkiness, charm, and fantasy of this were enough to make this Pushing Daisies fan giddy with excitement.
2. The Fourth Door (BlackBoxTV)
BlackBoxTV has taken their love for horror and suspense, and has had great success in their Twilight Zone styled videos. The sound and visual effects in this video are nothing short of studio quality. The best part of this video - they created it as a “choose your own adventure” style interactive video, where the viewer gets to select which character’s viewpoint they follow.
3. Fine Tuned (WheezyWaiter)
Fantastic edits. True to Craig’s (WheezyWaiter’s) understated sense of humor. The film focuses on mainstream media’s effect on the creative process and what an artist gives up in order to meet industry standards. [bonus: check out the best marriage proposal ever]
4. Clash at the Cantina (Corey Vidal)
The list wouldn’t be complete without including the founder of the Buffer Festival. A terrific homage to the Star Wars franchise. Even better - he was asked to do this in conjunction with LucasFilm Ltd. and Disney Interactive and shot on set.
5. Mr. Student Body President (PoykPac)
Think The West Wing set in high school. Quick. Relevant. Humorous. Also, by an NYC based comedy group - if you guys read this, you have an open invitation to hangout at the Reelio office.
6. The Front Page (5SecondFilms)
600 seconds longer than their usual fare. Completely inline with what audiences have come to expect (check out the comments). Fantastic pacing. Sharp wit. Completely silly.
7. Bad Burglars | The Heist (Tim H)
British humor (or is it humour?) cracks me up. Tim’s writing and direction made me instantly subscribe and binge on his previous videos.
8. Becoming YouTube (NineBrassMonkeys)
Benjamin Cook’s Becoming YouTube is a 12-part “documentary” released over the past year, where he interviews YouTubers and intersperses with sketch comedy and his own brilliant monologuing.
9. Following Heart - The Violinist (JacksGap)
JacksGap partnered with Skype on this docu-series. Beautifully shot and, while branded, feels very authentic, as it tells the story of three women (the first being The Violinist) and how they’ve used technology to improve their lives. [bonus: check out Jack Harries’ tribute to their fans]
10. Instant Getaway (MysteryGuitarMan)
Sucked into this one immediately. Suspenseful. Cinematography rivaling the big boys. If he doesn’t already, Joe Penna (MysteryGuitarMan), will have Hollywood knocking on his door any day now.
11. Miss Earth (Anna Akana)
Go for the VFX and makeup. Reminder - this is YouTube. These creators are stepping up the game.
12. Parallax (Sawyer Hartman)
Stunning cinematography. Shot in 4K. Massive outpouring of support in the comments from his audience.
13. The Scarlet Lance (Olan Rogers)
Another YouTuber asked by LucasFilm and Disney to create something on their behalf. Olan’s VFX and Direction tells me this won’t be the last time LucasFilm or Disney will be reaching out.
14. The Last Supper (Jack & Dean)
Okay, so The Last Supper wasn’t shown at Buffer. However, Jack & Dean were everywhere and I thought I’d be remiss in not directing you to their channel to indulge in their short films.
I’m going to binge watch this weekend. However, I’m not turning to Netflix or Hulu. I'm watching YouTube. I encourage you to do the same. I’d love to know what you thought of these films or if there were selections from the festival you thought should’ve been included. Let me know in the comments below.