From 28 September to 1 October 2017, the fifth annual Buffer Festival was held in Toronto, Canada. Dedicated to showcasing YouTube’s filmmaking talent, it was an event filled with numerous premieres, and TenEighty was on site to experience the excitement firsthand.
This was TenEighty’s third year attending Buffer Festival, and this year we attended three screenings, as well as the Spotlight presentation of Hazel Hayes‘s new series, PrankMe.
Kicking off our time at Buffer Festival was the Women of YouTube screening on Thursday night, which featured premieres from Hannah Witton, Lucy Moon, Sanne Vliegenthart, and Ariel Bissett. The screening followed the format of previous years, with each creator offering attendees some quick background information on their videos before they played.
Hannah debuted I Am Not an Artist, a video about the struggles she faces when it comes to creativity and society’s notion that she must be an artist since she’s a YouTuber. With help from Sam Saffold-Geri, the video left the audience with a simple message: you don’t have to be creative to create. As long as you’re driven, you’ll be able to achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Lucy premiered an episode of her 168 Hours series, which documents a week in her life. We don’t want to give too much away, but we will say one of our favourite moments from the video was when a dastardly moth decided to visit Lucy and her roommate.
In one of many videos dedicated to books, Sanne premiered to all the books I’ll never read. A spoken word video dedicated to what Sanne describes as “the eternal struggle of deciding which books to read and which books to put to the side”, it urges viewers to read what interests them, instead of basing their decisions on what society has deemed as popular or “classic”.
Ariel continued the book theme with a video that’s not only personal, but that will also undoubtedly make most book lovers cringe. In An Ode to Broken Spines, Ariel speaks of breaking book spines, leaving pages dogeared, and writing in the margins in order to make what she reads more personal to her, and with this poem urges her viewers to do the same.
The following evening, we attended the Comedy screening, which featured videos from Adrian Bliss, Laura Bubble, Taha Khan, Tim Hautekiet, and Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs. One of the highlights of our time at Buffer Festival, it was a screening filled with laughter.
Adrian premiered a documentary to celebrate having reached 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. A look into the life of a famous YouTuber, it features cameos from Arden Rose and Will Darbyshire, and brings viewers on a trip to Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes‘s home. It was followed not long after by Laura’s Toxic, which uses comedy to talk about the issue of manipulative relationships. Laura stated before the screening that she was worried about being able to balance the video, but she achieved her goal and the video was received well by the audience.
Taha premiered Dave is a Racist, which features a similar style to his The Little People series. Speaking with TenEighty, he explained his ideas behind the video:
“I’ve actually had the idea for the video for over a year now, [but] if anyone knows me personally, they’ll know that my own perfectionism is one of my main obstacles to actually getting things uploaded. Initially, it was called Paul is Privileged, [and] it was about how different demographics have a different relationship to the concept of privilege. Once I got the email about Buffer, amidst everything that was going on, I knew I wanted to make a video that highlights the root causes of white radicalism. It’s an important conversation that I feel is missing from the dialogue. To be fair, it’s fairly difficult to talk about, because examining those factors can get weirdly humanising and sympathetic. I took that initial Paul is Privileged script, adapted it, and added in a weird analogy about school.”
Taha continued by expressing his feelings about the video going live:
“I’m nervous to see if people bother to actually click on a video without my face in it, but I believe in the content enough to not be nervous about people liking it; I think if they like my humour, they’ll like it. The response at Buffer Fest was great, so that’s a good sign!”
Tim made the jump back into comedy with a little help from Jack and US creator Dominic Fera. Titled We’ve All Been There, the video is a comedic take on what people will do to get back at their exes, from stealing their little brother to crashing a car into their house.
Jack and Dean premiered their new comedy sketch Self-Conscious Computer, featuring Anna Akana. The sketch looks at Dean’s relationship with his laptop, and if you’re looking for a more in-depth description, we suggest the following tweet from Ciaran OBrien: “Please, watch this if you like the movie Her, but didn’t like the length, depth, quality of acting, or production.”
The final screening we attended was the LGBTQ+ one on Saturday afternoon, which featured videos from Calum McSwiggan and Riyadh Khalaf, amongst others. It was the only one we attended that featured a Q&A afterwards, and many of the answers given gave much more insight into the videos premiered.
Calum screened Love Happens Here, a spoken word about the importance of gay pride and why London has become a home for those who identify as LGBTQ+. It kicked off the screening, and was the first of many poetry pieces.
Riyadh premiered I am…, a short film about growing up in the UK during a time when homosexuality was illegal. The film features Riyadh speaking with four men – Anthony, Patrick, Scott, and Alan – about what life was like for them growing up before the partial decriminalisation of consensual homosexual acts in 1967. Alan had made a special trip to Toronto to watch the film and received a loud round of applause from the audience.
Speaking during the Q&A about the casting of the documentary, Riyadh explained the process of getting volunteers, which included attending a fundraiser for the LGBTQ+ charity Opening Doors London. From there, it was a matter of picking the four who would be featured:
“All of the stories were fucking amazing, but the four guys we landed on, Alan included, had the most powerful stories and that’s how we cast them.”
To close out our weekend at Buffer Festival, we attended the Spotlight screening of PrankMe. As well as airing all eight episodes of the series, the Spotlight featured a discussion from Hazel, series writer Paul Neafcy, and lead actor Corey Fogelmanis, which was moderated by Sammy Paul.
PrankMe follows Jasper Perkins, a YouTube prankster who will do whatever it takes to increase his subscriber count. The series, which we would describe as intense and thrilling, won the award for Excellence in Storytelling at Sunday night’s Awards Gala.
Speaking about his preparation for the series during the Spotlight, Corey said:
“Going into it, I didn’t know very much. I was an avid Miranda Sings watcher. So when I first signed on to the project, Hazel sent me over a list of YouTubers to watch and a bunch of different videos for reference, and a couple of the scenes in the actual show are direct references from specific things, so it was really cool to fully immerse myself into something that I had no idea of.”
So there you have it, a look at TenEighty’s third trip to Buffer Festival! Filled with awesome videos and an incredible amount of creativity, it was definitely a weekend to remember, and we can’t wait to see what next year’s event will have in store.