The film Winnebago Man traces a legacy of viral videos from the days of VHS tape trading to the early intersection of web videos and YouTube. Inspired by a montage of outtakes in which a motorhome pitchman curses wildly while making television commercials, documentarian Ben Steinbauer tracked down the man in the montage, Jack Rebney, and found a rather unique personality.
Winnebago Man has been making festival rounds for over a year, but is just now poised to open in theaters across the US this July. Now there is finally a trailer. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 by David Chen
About two decades ago, Jack Rebney filmed a Winnebago commercial that would change the world of viral video forever. In the punishing heat of an Iowa summer, Rebney’s two-week Winnebago shoot made Rebney extremely irritable, which consequently made the entire video crew miserable. In fact, the crew got so incensed with Rebney’s oppressive treatment that they made a blooper reel of the shoot, which was then unleashed upon the world. The video shows middle-aged Rebney screaming profanities and other nonsensical statements. It is, in a word, remarkable. In the years before internet video, this reel was passed around from person to person using VHS tapes, but since the advent of Youtube, the clip has been seen by over 1 million people online. I could continue describing how funny it is, but instead, here it is for your viewing pleasure [Warning: THIS VIDEO IS EXTREMELY NSFW]:
Director Ben Steinbauer’s hilarious and powerful new documentary, Winnebago Man, asks the universal question that many of us have probably wondered about: What happens to people like Aleksey Vayner and Ghyslain Razaafter they became viral video sensations? Steinbauer was fascinated with Rebney’s video and became determined to track him down to find out how the video had changed his life, if at all. Along the way, he interviews people involved with the actual Winnebago shoot depicted in the video to find out exactly what happened that fateful summer that resulted in the creation of the blooper reel (the dissemination of the reel resulted in Rebney being fired). He also talks with people who have enjoyed Rebney’s video; if you’ve seen the video yourself, you know that there’s something cathartic, even therapeutic, about watching an old man completely lose his shit. In watching the film, I got the sense that there’s also something a little bit profound about sharing that experience with millions of other anonymous viewers out there in the world. Read More »