DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

It is with considerable delight that I declare the second annual MidWest WeirdFest open for submissions!

Fest director Dean Bertram (right) hosting a Skype Q&A with Wakaliwood, Uganda filmmaker Isaac Nabwana and cast and crew after the screening of BAD BLACK at the inaugural MidWest WeirdFest. (Photo by Luong Huynh.)

Fest director Dean Bertram (right) hosting a Skype Q&A with Wakaliwood, Uganda filmmaker Isaac Nabwana and cast and crew after the screening of BAD BLACK at the inaugural MidWest WeirdFest. (Photo by Luong Huynh.)

I've been a film festival director for a over a decade (founding A Night of Horror International Film Festival, in 2006, and then Fantastic Planet, Sydney Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival in 2008). Just as my love of film extends back to the distant memories of youth, my fascination with the weird has been with me for as long as I can remember. Television shows like In Search of..., documentary films in the style of Chariots of the Gods, and books such as Mysteries of the Unknown: Ghosts, Monsters, UFOs informed childhood's curiosity. As someone who now calls the American Midwest home, I'm fascinated with my new environs. Particularly its weird byways, and the strange critters and mythical beasties that lurk in their fortean shadows: lake monsters,  the Dogman, Wendigo, the Grassman, and the Loveland Frog to name just a few.  My own state of Wisconsin is haunted by all kinds of entities that one doesn't mention in civilised discourse: From legendary cryptids like the Beast of Bray Road and the Hodag, to the all too real monsters of memory Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer. And it's loaded with strange locations, some real,  some imagined, and some sitting squarely on that point where the real and imagined intersect: Dr Evermor's Forevertron, the House on the Rock, a UFO landing port, and the mythical town of killer midgets known as Haunchyville.... It's the perfect territory for a festival that focuses on weird cinema from all around the world.

I dream of MidWest WeirdFest evoking the awe and chills of the sideshow alley of a dark carnival, a place filled with terrors, wonders, and forbidden surprises. The cinematic equivalent of a collection of pulp magazines and underground comics from Fate and True Detective, through Weird Tales and Amazing Stories, to Ripley's Believe It or Not and Zap Comix.  A film festival that celebrates not only independent genre cinema -  horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action, thriller - but one that welcomes all types of underground film. From experimental and avant-garde to offbeat documentaries. A broad, if shadow filled, tent, for all cinematic creations weird and wonderful.

After our wonderful inaugural festival in early March of 2017 - filled with the type of films which I had dreamt of finding and curating when we first launched MidWest WeirdFest -  I can speak for the entire festival team when I say that we can't wait to see what wonders await in MidWest WeirdFest's second season of festival submissions!

Come get weird with us,

Dean Bertram