“I am nothing but a blank canvas”: Buffer Festival 2015

“ I’m selfish. I make videos, and I want to see them in a theatre, and I felt that other YouTubers felt the same way,” said Corey Vidal, YouTube filmmaker and founder of the Buffer Film Festival.

Fans and creators attended Friday night’s formal gala where the first films of the weekend were premiered inside Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.

Corey Vidal, Samantha Fall, and Corrado Coia are the founders of the Buffer Festival. As young, fearless entrepreneurs, the trio set out to make the Buffer Festival a reality in 2013. “One of the projects we wanted to do was a YouTube film festival. We didn’t really know how, and so we put it on a back burner as one of a billion ideas,” said Vidal.

Samantha Fall, Corey Vidal and Corrado Coia (left to right); Photo courtesy of: Mariana Monzon

Samantha Fall, Corey Vidal and Corrado Coia (left to right);
Photo courtesy of: Mariana Monzon

In 2012, the idea of a YouTube film festival sprung up when Vidal and Coia went to TIFF to shoot a couple of videos on the red carpet which was sponsored by Air Canada.

“I was lucky enough to see a screening of the movie 50/50, with the director and the cast, and that really stood out to me; I want to do a film festival,” said Vidal.

To achieve their dream, the three founders worked with the Canadian Film Centre and applied for the accelerator program. “The CFC said that if we joined them, then they were going to help fund one of our ideas,” said Vidal.

“Year one we got seven premiers, year two we got forty premieres, this year we got over two hundred premieres,” said Vidal in front of an applauding audience at Friday night’s gala. Akilah Hughes and Mike Falzone comically hosted the gala with smiles and lots of laughter. The rest of the films were shown on the lower floors of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Fall, who is part of Vidal’s team on their YouTube channel ‘ApprenticeEh’, feels appreciated as a creator at Buffer.

“Watching my videos in front of my fans brings it to a whole new level that something online could never bring. People would ask me a question and they were interested in what I was saying. Other YouTubers felt this too; everyone had that same reaction,” said Fall.

Hundreds of fans came to meet and greet with various YouTube filmmakers. “The YouTube community is there, but it’s there because we’re making videos. One is not more important than the other; we are celebrating the videos at the Buffer Fest specifically,” said Vidal.

Coia offers some advice to young entrepreneurs; “The best form of encouragement is committing to your project. Once you sign that paper, just figure it out and go from there. You’ll do a lot of reading and a lot of learning, but you can figure it out.”

In a teasing mood, all three of them analysed how they collaborate with one another. Fall, being the voice of reason said, “We can’t do it.” Vidal, being the optimistic one said, “We can do it!”, but doesn’t fully believe it himself. Coia is mentioned by the team to usually say, “We can’t do it, so let’s go do it.” That is how the Buffer Festival was born.

Alex Boye, an African singer who partnered with ‘The Piano Guys’ in 2012, performed live at the gala singing a cover of “Paradise” by Coldplay.

“Alex came up to me after his performance and thanked me for everything,” said Vidal. “I told him ‘I am nothing but a blank canvas. We have provided you with a canvas.’… We didn’t tell him what to do on stage, it’s his performance. So we are the canvas, or we are the stage. We got a stage, that wasn’t even our stage. We just got it for the night and we set it up, so he could be him. I think that’s true for all the YouTubers. We got the theatres so that the YouTubers could be themselves. In that way it’s just an amplification of what they’re already doing,” said Vidal.

-Mariana Monzon

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