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UFOs is Dundee? Mark Borchardt investigates.

Mark Borchardt basks in the weirdness of a local UFO gathering in The Dundee Project

Meet the unusual attendees of a small town Wisconsin UFO festival who have been watching the skies and communicating with extraterrestrials for decades.

Filmmaker Mark Borchardt, subject of the 1999 documentary American Movie about his struggle to produce an independent horror film with friends and family, returns with his first short film in over 20 years. The Dundee Project is a 19-minute doc that examines the unique characters who populate a local UFO hotspot in Dundee, Wisconsin.

Strange things have been happening around the small town of Dundee for a long time. Located in the heart of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, the area draws hundreds of thousands annually for it’s bountiful hiking, fishing, and camping. But for decades, visitors and residents alike have been baffled and sometimes even frightened by oddly-shaped objects in the sky over Long Lake, lights in the watery depths beneath, and numerous other unexplained phenomena like lake monsters and wolfmen.

In 1988, following a particularly bizarre incident in which reeds were found flattened and woven into a circular formation thick enough to walk on without falling through into the water, tavern owner Bill Benson and the late Robert “UFO Bob” Keuhn decided to host a gathering where everyone could share their experiences.

Decades later, UFO Daze is still held every year on the third Saturday in July. Believers and skeptics alike gather at Benson’s Hide-a-Way, the “UFO Headquarters,” to enjoy a cup of spiked green punch and wear artfully crafted tinfoil hats.

The Dundee Project

The Dundee Project opens with Borchardt’s drive north into the hinterlands (passing right behind the Cult of Weird hive along the way) as he recalls in voice-over about learning of the festival on the “sad, infinite wastelands of cable television.”

He first attended UFO Daze in 2001 after discovering it was within driving distance of his hometown of Milwaukee. “I consulted the charts and realized that it was practically in my own backyard,” he says.

He brought his camera along and filmed a series of interviews with the festival’s curious participants as he returned year after year to what he calls “a lakeside haven for the thirsty and the curious.”

UFO Bob
Robert “UFO Bob” Keuhn

Mark speaks to several attendees who have personally witnessed extraterrestrial activity, but the primary reason to watch are his conversations with UFO Bob. Bob was a radio personality who used his show to transmit messages to extraterrestrials. The same ones, apparently, who tune in to Green Bay Packers games.

Bob is even in direct communication with a female alien named Eveata whom he refers to at one point during the film as his girlfriend.

Mark doesn’t seem to buy it, prodding Bob with questions that challenge his claims. My favorite moments occur in the outtakes and deleted scenes (thankfully included in both DVD and digital download formats), with Mark’s frustration over Bob’s unshakable beliefs. This is particularly evident when Bob informs Mark that aliens “tampered” with a photo of a UFO over Benson’s that Mark feels is obviously digitally manipulated.

People watching for UFOs in Dundee, Wisconsin
Waiting for aliens to arrive at UFO Daze

I’ve spent the last several years researching the phenomena around Long Lake, including several recent expeditions to the area and a hike to the top of Dundee Mountain, an ancient glacial formation at the southern end of the lake that some believe is the origin of the unusual activity. I even attended the 30th annual UFO Daze in 2018. I haven’t seen anything myself, but it doesn’t really matter. Whether it’s actually aliens or just hi-tech trickery (I’ve heard rumors of hoaxes perpetrated during UFO Daze) the evidence is irrefutable to the denizens of Benson’s, who sit in their lawn chairs at the edge of the lake patiently awaiting visitors from outer space.

As UFO Bob says, “What we’re seeing out here is there.”

The Dundee Project is part humor and part mystery, guaranteed to either ignite your conspiracy theory-fueled paranoia or leave you scratching your head in bewilderment.

Either way, keep looking up.

The Dundee Project trailer narrated by Wisconsin native Jason Vernon of Bon Iver

Order The Dundee Project now right here.

Beetlejuice documentary

Documentary for the Recently Deceased

Watch the teaser for the upcoming documentary about the making of Beetlejuice.

The Documentary for the Recently Deceased: The Making of Beetlejuice takes a look beyond the veil into the making of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice with original behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew.

According to the Kickstarter campaign, the film will include:

  • Interviews with cast and crew
  • Behind the scenes photos and videos
  • Rare production archives such as concept arts, blueprints…
  • Tour of filming location East Corinth, Vermont
  • Interviews with people of East Corinth who were there for the filming
  • Meet fans that create great stuff about the movie
  • Meet Props Collectors
  • Meet Tom Spina, who worked on restoring the props, 30 years later
  • Meet poster designer Kyle Lambert

Making of Beetlejuice documentary

The documentary will also feature never-before-seen archive footage, including stop-motion sequences digitized in 2K especially for the occasion.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to complete the film with some great Kickstarter-exclusive rewards, including Blu-ray and DVDs, t-shirts and other merch featuring original poster art created by Stranger Things artist Kyle Lambert, and unique rewards from The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg, who is executive producer of this doc.

Making of Beetlejuice documentary
Poster art by Kyle Lambert

Back the Documentary for the Recently Deceased on Kickstarter right here.



Chalk and powder for hiding bruises and black eyes on corpses. From the Michael McDowell Death Collection.

The screenplay for Beetlejuice was written by Michael McDowell. The horror novelist spent three decades amassing a collection of death and funeral-related ephemera, including post-mortem photos, salesman headstone design samples, Victorian mourning hair work, spirit photographs, coffin plaques, accident and crime scene photography, funeral advertisements, and more.

McDowell’s collection was purchased by Northwestern University following his death in 1999.

He left behind an incomplete sequel to Beetlejuice.

Mark Borchardt's new UFO documentary

Documentary Reveals Small Town “UFO Capital of the World”

Filmmaker Mark Borchardt visits a local UFO hotspot to document the curious characters who have been experiencing strange things in the area for decades.

Remember Mark Borchardt, the Milwaukee filmmaker whose struggle to produce a short horror film was the subject of the award-winning documentary American Movie? Mark is back, this time with a documentary about a UFO festival that’s been happening here in the backyard of Cult of Weird HQ for decades.

2018 marked the 30th anniversary of UFO Daze. The gathering began in the 1980s after residents of the unincorporated community of Dundee, Wisconsin decided they should get together to discuss the bizarre phenomena they had been experiencing in the area.

Bill Benson, owner of Benson’s Hide-A-Way on the shore of Long Lake, has been keeping track of alien encounters in the area since crop circles appeared on a neighbor’s farm in 1947 when he was a child. Since then, he has personally witnessed his own share of unexplained activity over Long Lake and around nearby Dundee Mountain. He hosts the annual gathering, and has converted his tavern into a shrine to little green men.

According to Benson, Dundee is the “UFO capital of the world.”

UFO Bob from the film The Dundee Project
Robert “UFO Bob” Keuhn

Borchardt’s film The Dundee Project is the result of years of filming at UFO Daze, from 2001 through 2007 or 2008. The film includes interviews with some of the area’s most fascinating characters.

Robert “UFO BOB” Keuhn, for example, co-founded UFO Daze with Benson in 1988. He once told a local news outlet that he maintained ongoing telepathic communications with an alien named Ezeata from the Plaidian star system. “Ezeata visits Long Lake occasionally,” he said, “even though the journey takes about 500 light years.”

The Dundee Project by Mark Borchardt on DVD

The Dundee Project made the film festival rounds last year, and is now available to order on DVD and digital download from the Found Footage Festival website right here.

The Bray Road Beast

Bray Road Beast: Documentary Tracks Down Wisconsin Werewolf Legend

The latest documentary from Seth Breedlove and Small Town Monsters tracks down one of Wisconsin’s strangest legends, the beast of Bray Road.

Small Town Monsters has produced a series of fantastic documentaries about some of the strangest backroads legends and lore from around the country. But, as a native of the great weird state of Wisconsin, I am the most excited about their latest project: The Bray Road Beast.

A clip from the film was released earlier this week of an eyewitness discussing the possible occult origins of the Beast of Bray Road, but now we have a full-length trailer exploring the phenomena of werewolf sightings in Wisconsin and around the country.

About The Bray Road Beast

“In 1989 a country road outside of the Wisconsin town of Elkhorn became the center of a media frenzy unlike anything the world had ever seen,” Small Town Monsters writes. “‘People were seeing, what looked to them, like a werewolf…’ said Linda Godfrey the newspaper reporter who brought the story to light in a local publication called ‘The Week’. In fact, many people -locals and out-of-towners alike- had sightings and encounters with the creature that came to be known as The Beast of Bray Road. Many of these sightings were largely ignored or under-reported… that is, until October 5th when the new documentary film, The Bray Road Beast will unlock decades of history relating to ‘werewolf’ sightings around the US.

“The film explores not only the infamous Elkhorn creature sightings but also centuries of Werewolf legends and myths from across the globe. From the predominant theory that witnesses merely saw an undiscovered species of large wolves to more bizarre aspects of the phenomena, no stone is left unturned in this 66 minute film, shot on location in and around Wisconsin. The seventh film from award-winning filmmaker, Seth Breedlove, arrives on streaming platforms and DVD.”

The Bray Road Beast

The film, directed by Seth Breedlove and narrated by Lyle Blackburn, hits streaming platforms and DVD on October 5th. There will be a special sneak-preview screening of The Bray Road Beast at HorrorHound Indianapolis on Saturday, August 25th, and a Wisconsin premier at this year’s Milwaukee Paranormal Conference.

UPDATE: The Bray Road Beast is now streaming on Amazon right here.

Ghana fantasy coffin

Stream this Documentary About Ghana’s Most Celebrated Fantasy Coffin Maker

Paa Joe is working to revive his once thriving business of producing fantasy coffins to Ghana’s deceased, as well as collectors worldwide.

Paa Joe creates the kind of art that is intended to be six feet under with a dead body inside. But this coffin artist makes more than just a pine box, and his work can be found in private collections and museums around the world.

The 2016 documentary Paa Joe and The Lion following Paa Joe and his son Jacob’s work to revive the once thriving business is now available to stream on Amazon Video in the US.

From the film’s website:

Paa Joe dreams of his bygone days — bringing money home in briefcases and work being shipped to galleries the world over. Now, he sleeps as the cars hurtle passed. There are no customers, no tourists — there are no coffins to make. His son, Jacob, dreams too, he dreams of returning his father to his glory days and rebuilding the family legacy together. Over the next four years they stand side-by-side, conquering love and death and embracing a life changing opportunity to travel to the UK to undertake an artist residency. It is the start of their future together — master and son… Paa Joe & The Lion

Death is celebrated in Ghana, where Paa Joe once made a living on this unique tradition of sending the deceased off in extravagant coffins that represented their lives.

“It reminds people that life continues after death,” Jacob told The Guardian in 2016, “that when someone dies they will go on in the afterlife, so it is important that they go in style.”

 

Watch Paa Joe and The Lion now on Amazon Video.