The 2016 Buffer Festival broke ground in Toronto last month by premiering Vlogumentary, a new documentary about the world of Internet vlogging.
Held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the fourth annual festival is the event of the year for aspiring filmmakers, creators and of course vloggers, who use YouTube as a platform to jumpstart their careers in the entertainment, beauty and gaming industries. For the creators in attendance, this is an opportunity to share their art with like-minded artists.
The documentary, directed by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame, is undoubtedly intended for the young people growing up in the digital age. However, Spurlock insists that the film is capable of reaching another audience: Their parents, the ones who may be unable to grasp the concept of putting one’s life online for millions of people to view.
“As a hardcore fan, it’s the type of thing you show your parents. You show your friends who don’t get it, you show the people who make fun of you, you show the people who are like, ‘why does anyone watch this crap? What’s a YouTuber? That sounds dumb,’” says Corey Vidal, one of the co-founders of Buffer Festival.
Vlogumentary was first announced in 2013 and is the product of a joint collaboration between Vidal and fellow YouTube star Shay Carl Butler, both of whom are daily vloggers. Part of Spurlock’s inspiration in his direction for the film was showing that vloggers are ‘documenters’ and the struggle it takes to balance something that for these creators, is both a passion and a business.
“I feel like this movie is the greatest primer for you to give to everybody who asks what vlogging is, because it lets them suddenly understand that these people are great storytellers,” says Spurlock.
Mike Falzone, a vlogger and stand-up comedian who is one of the stars of Vlogumentary, was in awe of the validity of the project.
“When I first heard that they were doing a project like this, I was like, ‘it’s all starting to become a little more legit.’ People started to take it a little more serious or at the very least they’re making a movie about it now,” says Falzone.
YouTube stars have achieved varying degrees of mainstream success in the last year, one of the most notable examples being Miranda Sings landing her own Netflix series, Haters Back Off. However, the talented individuals responsible for the viral videos, tutorials and vlogs, realize that they have always been successful. Vlogumentary stands as a testament to the mark YouTubers have made on the entertainment industry.
“We knew the power of YouTube and the power of the YouTubers and it’s only now that traditional media is seeing it and recognizing it, hopefully not exploiting it and for us it’s like, ‘this is old news,’” says Vidal.
Vlogumentary is now available for streaming exclusively on YouTube Red.
Luke Elisio is the film editor of CanCulture.