Found Footage Festival Comes to Milwaukee
2016 event includes new film by Mark Borchardt
Displaying treasures found amidst the junk of a disposable culture has always been the mission of the Found Footage Festival. The annual touring film festival is a showcase for oddball videos rescued from dumpsters and thrift shops by Wisconsin-reared curators Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett. For the Milwaukee stop on their 2016 tour, Prueher and Pickett go beyond their stated mission and include the preview screening of a film that should not be dismissed as junk, the new documentary by Milwaukee’s Mark Borchardt, star of American Movie.
You can’t help but think of Werner Herzog as you hear Borchardt’s dryly-stated yet somehow poetic narrative—the voice of someone who comes to observe and to learn, yet without pretending to suspend his own sensibility and judgment. Borchardt’s documentary, The Dundee Project, visits the annual UFO Days in the otherwise unremarkable hamlet of Dundee, Wis. Questioning in a gently probing tone, he interviews participants who speak as if knowingly on the “electro-magnetic propulsion” of the alien craft they believe are drawn to this rural lakeside town. One of the saucer buffs maintains that he has established radio contact with the aliens.
Borchardt’s camera glances at the paraphernalia surrounding the event: the plastic effigies of extra-terrestrials, the UFO t-shirts, the parking lot full of Harleys and even a pink flamingo on a nearby yard. The “Tyranny Response Team” t-shirt worn by one participants suggests a survivalist, maybe even alt right dimension to saucerdom. As night falls on UFO Days, the saucer buffs turn their eyes skyward and are convinced that they see alien ships. Borchardt points his camera and captures a flashing green light. “That might be a satellite,” he tells one of the believers, who becomes indignant at the suggestion.
The Found Footage Festival takes place at 7 p.m., Nov. 27 in the Back Room of Colectivo, 2211 N. Prospect Ave. Tickets can be purchased for $12 at www.foundfootagefest.com or $14 on the night of the show. Among the junk unearthed for the festival is a 1980s video called “The Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults.”