This week’s episode of Found Footage Files Podcast featured special guest Eduardo Sánchez, co-creator of The Blair Witch Project (1999) and executive producer of the much-anticipated sequel, Blair Witch (2016). Sánchez discussed the possibility of creating an extended version of The Blair Witch Project using untapped raw footage from the original 1999 film.
The filming of The Blair Witch Project culminated in close to 19 hours of usable footage. Sánchez described how this raw footage was edited down to the 90-minute theatrical version we all know today: “During the original process of the editing of the film we started off with a 3 hour cut and then we trimmed it down to about 2.5 hours, and that was the first time we showed it to an audience. We knew it was way too long. We knew we were going to have to cut at least an hour out of the movie.”
Sánchez continued: “So we showed the movie and it was a good reaction. It was definitely too long, but that was really the first time where people had seen it like that and just kind of experienced this thing, which was a 2.5 hour version of Blair Witch.”
We asked Eduardo Sánchez if there were any plans to release the original 2.5-hour version and here’s what he had to say: “I think unfortunately the 2.5-hour version that we screened originally we haven’t been able to find anywhere . . . That’s just what happens when you have to reuse Beta SP tapes because you have no money.” Sánchez was reflecting back to his early days as a filmmaker when he and co-creator Dan Myrick created The Blair Witch on a shoestring budget.
I think in a couple of weeks I could probably take the original movie and edit a longer version if I wanted to. . . I know the fans are like ‘everybody wants to see it’ . . . it would be cool to do
19 Hours of Footage Waiting to be Found
Ever since The Blair Project’s theatrical release, Blair Witch fans and found footage aficionados have been clamoring to see more of the coveted 19 hours of raw footage from the original shoot.
As for the possibility of a new edit of the film, Sánchez said there are currently no plans for a new version of the film. He added, “We’d have to go back and figure out where the files are and all that stuff. And it would be a nightmare. But yeah, I think in a couple of weeks I could probably take the original movie and edit a longer version if I wanted to. . . I know the fans are like ‘everybody wants to see it’ . . . it would be cool to do, honestly. I wouldn’t hesitate to do that if for some reason Lionsgate hired me to do that. I think it would a lot of fun.”
Do You Want to See an Extended Version of “The Blair Witch Project”?
The Blair Witch Project is among the most historically significant found footage films ever created. Releasing additional footage in the form of an extended version of The Blair Witch Project would provide new insight into this groundbreaking film and reinvigorate fans worldwide.
Let us know how you feel about the possibility of an extended version of The Blair Witch Project — take our reader poll and post your comments at the end of this article. We’ll pass your thoughts to Eduardo Sánchez and Lionsgate!