Film Comedy

UWEC Grads Premiere ‘Chop & Steele' The Movie at Tribeca Film Festival

After a controversial fraud lawsuit came to an end, the comedy duos' adventures are ready for the big screen. 

Sawyer Hoff |

TRICKS INTO A TRIAL. Nick Prueher and
TRICKS INTO A TRIAL. Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett star in a documentary about their local Chop & Steele lawsuit. (Submitted Photos)

If you’ve been in the Eau Claire area for a while, you’ve probably heard of Found Footage Founders, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, or one of their famous alter egos, Chop & Steele.

Prueher and Pickett are Wisconsin natives and UW-Eau Claire graduates that started finding strange and hilarious videos from garage sales and thrift stores around the country. They created the Found Footage Festival in 2004 where they travel around the country showing off their video collection. The festival has been to Eau Claire several times over the years.

The Found Footage Festival has been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, National Public Radio, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and much more. 

Pickett is a writer and director and Prueher has written for The Onion, Entertainment Weekly, and was a researcher on the Late Show with David Letterman. Together, they have traveled the country showing off their footage collection and playing a series of stunts and prank comedy.

In 2017, the comedy duo was sued by WEAU 13’s parent company, Gray Television, for their performance on the WEAU Morning Show where they presented as strongman duo, Chop & Steele, and showed off their ridiculous workout routines like stomping easter baskets, chopping small sticks in half, and lifting jugs of gravy. 

The lawsuit was sought after by Gray Television for fraudulent activities and copyright infringement since the show producers didn’t realize Chop and Steele were made-up comedy characters until they were already on the show and they subsequently posted the interview on the Found Footage Festival’s webpage and YouTube. 

The lawsuit was dismissed in 2018 and now the two will be the subjects of this documentary following the lawsuit and its aftermath. The movie will be premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival which will take place between June 8-19. The hope is that a streaming service will pick up the movie so that people around the world can watch it as well.

Chop & Steele was directed by Berndt Made and Ben Steinbauer and will feature interviews and commentary from David Cross, Bobcat Goldwaith, Reggie Watts, Albertina Rizzo – a noted writer for the Tonight Show, and of course, Prueher and Pickett. After the movie is premiered, Pickett and Prueher will be performing the Found Footage Festival at the Tribeca Film Fest with surprise special guests.


To learn more about the festival, you can go to