Discussing the state of found footage

BY HEATHER POOLE
Daily Arts Writer
Published March 22, 2010

From YouTube to avant-garde cinema, previously shot footage has become increasingly integrated in diverse forms of media. As an experimental filmmaker, Matthias Müller’s films embrace this popularized use of “found footage.”

Matthias Müller


Thieves Like Us
Tomorrow at 5:10 p.m.
Michigan Theatre

Thursday, Müller will add himself to the long list of noteworthy and cross-disciplinary lecturers as part of the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speakers Series. His lecture will surround the history and use of found footage in his own work and other mediums.

The wide-ranging uses of found footage are as diverse as its sources. According to Müller, found footage can include educational films, propaganda footage and commercials.

As part of his lecture, Müller plans to discuss the ambiguity between duplication and originality associated with the use of found footage.

“In film, the question about what constitutes an original and what makes a copy is a rather delicate one, for the medium is based on the very idea of reproduction,” Müller wrote in a first draft of his speech he provided to the Daily.

In addition to this controversy, Müller will discuss the multiple purposes of found footage as its use becomes increasingly widespread.

“Over the years, in music videos and commercials, on YouTube and even in big-budget-box-office-hits, found footage has become a well-established aesthetic standard, something global TV-audiences are quite familiar with,” Müller wrote.

“The terminologies applied to this practice range from collage and compilation film to mash-up and recycled cinema,” he added.

Müller has won several international awards including the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and a special mention at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. He has also organized and served as a curator for the Found Footage Film Festival.

In addition to his lecture, a series of Müller’s films, including “The Memo Book (Aus Der Ferne)” and “Alpsee,” will be shown at the Michigan Theater on Saturday as part of the Ann Arbor Film Festival.