Out of Focus Music Video Festival

The Out of Focus Music Video Festival (OOFTV) returns for its fifth iteration on Wednesday, May 29 at Oakland’s New Parkway Theatre. With an ever-increasing wave of submissions each year, this music video festival still manages to remain uniquely unpretentious, serving as an epicenter for DIY filmmakers, musicians, artists, and storytellers; each showcasing music videos, animations, and shorts that run the gamut of the silly to progressive, to heartful to psychedelic, to the “zero-F*cks-given” aesthetic variety. And through it all, a vein of nostalgia for that old school MTV-era when music videos reigned supreme. 

On top of just being a whole lot of fun, OOFTV co-founders, Tina Liao and Loren Risker, have made it a point to keep the festival accessible by making it 100% free for filmmakers to submit their videos. The event also purposely falls on Wednesday, which is New Parkway Theatre’s “Karma Cinema,” a day in which means everyone can pay what they wish and no one is turned away for a lack of funds. At the end of the month, 20% of Karma Cinema ticket sales are donated to the New Parkway’s community partner, a non-profit group that serves Oakland residents.

When Tina was asked why they had originally started the festival, (not that they really need a why—because any excuse to share rad music videos is good in my book) Tina points to “community and to share their love of music.”

“It kinda made sense for us to combine our love of music and video and move on to creating videos for our friends and family. We also started helping out bands with their videos, and got to know folks from the scene beyond the music - the directors, animators, stylists, editors. Everyone was super creative, and we wanted a way for everyone to share their stuff, both online and on a big screen, and be able to share what they created and inspire others to create as well. That's sorta how the OOFTV stream and music video fest started...If you ask Loren the same question, he probably had a more futuristic view for OOF. He's always wanted to recreate an experience similar to the best of radio and MTV2.  

Even before starting the festival, Tina and Loren had, (and continue to have), their own creative projects they work on. As Tina recalls, “I think Out of Focus started out as a documentary project to capture and archive a year of bay area underground music. It was also a way to justify going to 3-5 shows a week and getting to know each other. Loren and I had just met each other a few months prior at the Edinburgh Castle...I used to play drums in the Passionistas, a punk band in SF and had just gotten back from an ayahuasca trip in Peru and was looking for something new. Loren was working on a web series on female comedians Welcome to the Stage and had started shooting live music at the shows.”

As with past years, the two-hour screening closes out with a viewer’s choice award. And true to their ethos, there are no medals, trophies or long-winded thank you speeches—we’ll leave that to the Grammy Awards. Instead this is just a fun opportunity for a humble internet brag (take it or leave it) and some high fives for the winners. The top 3 winners from last year were Shannon Shaw (best known from Shannon & the Clams), Cryderman, and JuiceBumps.

While there are still some videos in review, some of this year's participating artists include Sonny & The Sunsets, Crysta Bell, Shannon Shaw, Love Jerks, Perhapsy, Nopes, Twompsax, Half Stack, No Vacation, the Residents, and Michael Nesmith!

Out of Focus Film Festival

Wednesday, May 29, 8:30pm

New Parkway Theatre, Oakland

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