J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Slamdance ’17: The Dundee Project (short)

If you make Mark Borchardt, the director of Coven, sound like the voice of reason, then you must be way out there on the fringe. Once a year, you can easily see the fringe from Dundee, Wisconsin, where they hold the annual UFO Daze festival. Basically, Wisconsin’s most paranoid annually gather to drink large amounts of beer during the day and then, lo and behold, see UFOs at night. Intuitively sensing a story, Borchardt grabbed a camera and documented the latest UFO Daze in the short doc, The Dundee Project, which screens during this year’s Slamdance Film Festival.

As the host of UFO Daze, Bill Benson, the owner and proprietor of Benson’s Hideaway Bar & Restaurant knows his clientele and duly caters to them. Most have just listened to too much Art Bell, but the impending UFO invasion is downright personal for UFO Bob. You will know him when you see him. He is a true believing, veteran UFO watcher. Yet, Borchardt throws him off-stride with devious questions like “how do you know that” and “do you have any proof?”

Man, it is nice to have Borchardt back in action. The Coven helmer was meant to make films—doing cameos in lame movies like Modus Operandi just isn’t sufficient. Dundee is a good way shake off the rust, but we can’t help wondering if Coven II could be in the cards. Regardless, Borchardt definitely captures the participants’ eccentricity and their Wisconsinness.

Ironically, Borchardt gives the UFO Dazers the sort of gawking treatment he received from Chris Simth’s American Movie. Yet, he will probably boost Dundee tourism ten-fold. It is just good to know Borchardt is outing there doing the reporting on issues the man doesn’t want you know about and asking all the hard questions the wingnuts can’t answer. Highly recommended because obviously, The Dundee Project screens again this Thursday (1/26), as part of the Documentary Shorts program at the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival.

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