The sixth annual Buffer Festival was held in Toronto, Canada from 27 to 30 September 2018. A showcase of online filmmaking, it featured numerous premieres, and TenEighty was on sight to take it in firsthand.
This was TenEighty’s fourth year attending Buffer Festival, with us not only attending the screenings, but the festival’s Insight Series, which replaced the previously held Industry Day, and the Gala Award Show.
Kicking off the screenings at this year’s Buffer Festival was the Empowerment & Acceptance Screening, which saw premieres from Hannah Witton and Raya Encheva. Unlike previous years, where creators introduced their videos, this year saw the videos played first, after which each creator would come on stage and offer those in attendance some background on where the inspiration for their piece came from.
Raya kicked off the screening with her video, Insecure. A first person point-of-view video about the insecurities she has surrounding her body, it’s a film that urges viewers to be kinder to themselves, for would they let their family and friends be so harsh when it came to their own bodies?
Speaking with TenEighty about the video, Raya said, “Chatting to different friends and seeing that, no matter what body shape we had, all of us had thoughts like this made me want to make a video to represent what all of us go through in different ways. Whether it’s about your body or whatever it is, everyone has these thoughts and, for some reason, we think it’s okay when we think it for ourselves, but we would never say it to our friends and we would never want any of our friends or family to speak to themselves that way. So I wanted to highlight that it’s not okay for us to speak to ourselves that way too.”
Hannah debuted 10 minutes of her Disability, Sex, Relationships and Dating Roundtable, of which the full video has since been uploaded to her channel. Featuring Hannah, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, Arunima Misra, Charlie Willis and Emily Rose Yates, the video sees the group talking about disability and sex. It’s an interesting and educational discussion that leaves no stone unturned, and it’s one we urge everyone reading this to watch.
Afterward, we attended the Documentaries & Mockumentaries Screening, which featured videos from Ariel Bissett and Louis Cole. Ariel premiered #poetry, which looks into the growth and popularity of Instagram poetry and features interviews with Charly Cox, Upile Chisala and Indy Yelich. Louis screened the first few minutes of his upcoming world flight documentary. It featured himself and pilot J-P Schulze preparing for the trip and ending in quite the nail biter! It’s safe to say it left us wanting (and needing!) more.
The following morning saw us attend the LGBTQ+ Screening, where Riyadh Khalaf showcased his Fighting For Pride documentary, which he premiered earlier in the week during the Insight Series on 27 September.
Fighting For Pride was filmed with the help of YouTube’s Creators For Change program and follows the lead up to Swaziland’s first ever Pride parade. It sees interviews with those within the country’s LGBTQ+ community and looks at the struggles they face due to Swaziland’s anti-gay laws and attitudes.
Speaking on why he chose to focus the film on Swaziland, Riyadh said:
“Doing the pre-research, I realised here’s a place where there’s hope. […] I wanted the film to have a definite ‘up’ at the end – like, okay, it’s pretty crappy for them, but things are changing, and Swaziland was this shining beacon that had that very important element for me.”
The Comedy Screening followed and featured premieres from Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs, Tom Ridgewell, Adrian Bliss, Laura Bubble and Canadian vlogger Elle Mills. One of the highlights of our time at Buffer Festival, it was a screening filled with laughter.
Adrian premiered Finding Yourself with Adrian Bliss. Featuring the character viewers have seen him portray in his Vlune and Vlogvember series, it’s Adrian in his prime, with him showing viewers how to be one with nature. There’s some spot on comedy moments and incredible highlights, which we won’t spoil. You’ll have to wait for him to upload the video to find out what we’re talking about.
Jack was there to premiere his and Dean’s latest comedy sketch, Who There That?. It features Dean as a school teacher, whose students keep throwing objects at him, which keep getting more and more extreme as the sketch goes on. Fellow YouTuber Myles Wheeler makes an appearance as well, putting on a stellar performance and reminding everyone why he’s one of YouTube’s shining stars.
Tom premiered the early edit for the video accompaniment of his upcoming book, Sam Kills Christmas. We’re going to say this now, if you think you know what to expect from this book, think again. If the video is any indication, it’s going to be a wild ride that’ll illicit laughs from adults and children alike.
“I just wanted to make this full narrative,” explains Tom in an interview with TenEighty. “I made this sketch in 2012 called Christmas Demolition and it was planned to be a three-parter. […] I took the whole planned narrative and tweaked it into being this book and make the hero someone who could appeal to everyone.”
Laura premiered her new comedy sketch, The Dating Game, which featured a group of women playing a board game about the ups and downs of dating. (Totally relatable.) We especially loved the hilarious twist of the men’s version of the game – it left us dying with laughter! It was followed not long after by Elle’s I TURNED MY MOM’S HOUSE INTO A FRAT, which closed out the screening.
The third screening of the day was the Music Screening, which featured premieres from Sammy Paul and Jon Cozart. Sammy premiered a new, currently unreleased dodie video, while Jon premiered for his new original song, Coming Out.
Closing out the weekend’s screenings was the Short Films Screening. This saw the highest attendance, with the room filled with those eager to see what films their favourite creators had been keeping under their hats. It saw new releases from Hazel Hayes, Tim Hautekiet and Kelsey Ellison.
Hazel premiered her new short film, ANXIOUS, which gave attendees an insight into the daily struggle those who deal with anxiety go through. Its animation fit perfectly with Hazel’s poetic narration, and throughout she details the mental anguish that feels also inescapable. Toward the end it takes a turn, offering hope and guidance to those who might be struggling, with its standout line, “Life is to be lived, not to be feared.”
Kelsey gave attendees a sneak peek at her upcoming film, Sisters of House Black. The film, which follows the three Black sisters – Bellatrix, Narcissa and Andromida – during their time at Hogwarts, is currently in production and is set to feature Kelsey, alongside Hannah Snow and her sister. According to Kelsey, she had the idea for the film for four years before coming up with the script. An official release date is currently planned for sometime in 2019.
Tim closed out the screening with his new short film, The Receipt. One of the films fundraised through his Extraordinary Alien Films crowdfunding project, The Receipt is a silent film that blends flawless animation with gorgeous choreography, created by Ava Gordy. It tells the story of a waiter who loses a girl’s number to the wind and the journey he goes on in order to retrieve it.
Speaking to TenEighty about the film, Tim said:
“The silent film thing almost came from my dad. My dad for a really long time […] would say, very much in the tradition of classic films, ‘You need to make something that transcends any culture [and] any boundary, you should make something that anyone can understand,’ and so in that I was like, ‘Okay, something like silent film. Something that is visual and that anyone can grasp.'”
So there you have it, a look at TenEighty’s fourth trip to Toronto’s annual Buffer Festival! It was a weekend filled with mind-blowing talent and incredible videos. As with previous years, we throughly enjoyed ourselves and we look forward to seeing what next year’s festival has in store!