The seventh instalment of Buffer Festival occurred in Toronto, Canada from 4 – 6 October. It was a celebration and showcase of online filmmaking, and TenEighty was there to take it all in firsthand.
This was TenEighty’s fifth year in attendance, and as with previous years we took in everything Buffer Festival had in store, including the screenings, as well as the Awards Gala and the newly rebranded Context at Buffer, formerly known as the festival’s Insight Series.
The first screening to kick the weekend off was the Documentaries Screening, which featured premieres from Ariel Bissett, Hannah Witton, Louis Cole and Melanie Murphy. As with each of the screenings, the creators came on stage to offer insights into their videos, with things wrapping up after with a group Q&A period.
Ariel kicked things off by premiering Inside An Indie bookstore. Focused around Vernon, Canada’s Expressions of Time, it features interviews with the owner and staff, offering a look into the close connections one can form when operating and working at an independently-run business.
Hannah’s documentary is one she would later premiere on her new channel, More Hannah. Title Grandma, it’s a look at her late grandmother’s life and the impact she had on those around her. It’s a truly touching and heart-warming piece, which features not only a look at her grandmother’s life, but interviews with the women in Hannah’s family.
Speaking with TenEighty about creating the film with her family, Hannah says, “It was amazing. Everyone was so onboard. We filmed it on iPhones to make sure that it was less intimidating for them because they’re not on-camera people. It was really lovely.”
Melanie debuted Is Social Media Making Us Lonely?, an examination of social media and how it affects not just our mental health, but the way we view relationships. Featuring interviews with her fellow creators, such as Jessica Kellgren-Fozard and Lucy Moon, as well as ones with those who see social media’s impact on the younger generation firsthand, it’s a piece that made us think and has prompted us to re-examine how we utilise sites like Twitter and Instagram.
As with last year, Louis shared another clip from his upcoming documentary, Beyond Borders. This part of the documentary focused on Europe’s refugee crisis, with a look at one refugee in particular, named Alaska, whose story is one everyone needs to hear. Paired with interviews from those helping refugees in Greece, it’s a video that really shows how big the current situation is.
The Music Screening occurred not long after and saw Deepraj Singh share one of our favourite dance videos of the year. Title Don’t Tell, it was directed by Sammy Paul and premiered on Deepraj’s channel back in April. The animation paired with his dance moves make it a video that you’ll find yourself revisiting time and time again.
The next day saw us attend the Comedy Screening, which saw premieres from some of the funniest creators around, including Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs, as well as Tom Ridgewell. Unfortunately, Dean was unable to attend the festival due to illness, so Jack had the sole responsibility of representing them both, which we feel he did a pretty good job at.
Jack and Dean’s sketch is titled Emotional Baggage and is a literal take on the term. Drawn from both their experiences with mental health, it’s a short that brings awareness regarding bad mental health and the thoughts that come with it in a way that’s funny and easy to digest.
Tom premiered Bible Time, which features the ever-wonderful Harry Brewis. The sketch tells the tale of how the Bible was actually written. Throw away what you learnt in church, for it’s a proven fact it was written by a historian and a drunk time traveller. This explains all the plot twists!
“It was cool having him down and do a vid,” says Tom when asked about how it was working with Harry. “I had no idea going into it [if] he [could] act, but I write my sketches in a way that you just get one line of dialogue at a time and then [Elliot] fixes it.”
The sketch, along with the ones Tom has premiered at Buffer Festival over the past few years, resulted in him taking home the Festival Honour award during the Awards Gala.
The final screening we attended was Short Films, which helped to close out the festival. Featuring premieres from Hedy Clark, Hazel Hayes and Elle Mills, Sammy, Elliot Gough, and PJ Liguori, it was definitely the most anticipated premiere of the entire festival.
Sammy premiered Bicycle, which features fellow creator Chris Kendall and discusses bisexuality through the use of standup comedy. It would see him win the award for Excellence In Performance at the Awards Gala. Hazel and Elle twisted our reality with their video, I Trapped My Friend in a Horror Film Without Her Knowing, which saw Elle treat Hazel to the scariest night of her life
Animation appeared to dominate the screening. PJ Liguori premiered The Life of a Sad Ghost, a Japanese-language short that follows the life of a ghost and shows the goings on of someone after they have passed away. It was produced with the help of Sophie Newton. Hedy debuted The Lamb, a film about a group of young girls planning the perfect murder. This was Hedy’s first time premiering a video at Buffer and she was the youngest creator to showcase a film at the festival.
Elliot’s film, Hiccups, closed out the screening. Four years in the making, it’s a beautiful film about turning our toughest days into some of the best through a change in perspective. (Or beat.) Elliot was one of this year’s Uplist winners, alongside Deepraj, and Hiccups ended up winning the festival’s Excellence in Music, Sound, Score award.
So there you have it, TenEighty’s fifth trip to Canada for Buffer Festival. We know we say this every year, but this one was definitely a weekend to remember. We love the festival’s focus on creator talent, and we can’t wait to see what everyone delivers next year!