The cinematic celebration of all things fantastic, frightening, paranormal, and just plain weird known as MidWest WeirdFest returns to the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, from March 6-8. Cinema fans who love supernatural horror films, paranormal documentaries, and offbeat, unusual film fare will find plenty to drool over in this fourth edition of the festival, which includes special side events, more guests, more films (including three world premieres), and two additional venue partners: Ivy Creatives and the Volume One Gallery.
“When we started to plan on screening Hellier, we knew that Midwest WeirdFest had to be the first festival we submitted to, said Greg Newkirk, renowned paranormal investigator, co-creator/star of the hit paranormal series Hellier, and one of the fest’s headlining guests. “The festival’s commitment to celebrating the underground, the independent, and the just plain weird is a mission that’s very near and dear to our hearts, so we’re beyond thrilled to be attending this year. We can’t wait to see what Midwest WeirdFest has in store for 2020.”
Linda Godfrey, the world famous paranormal researcher and writer, will present the world premiere screening of her highly anticipated documentary Return to Wildcat Mountain: Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus at the Micon Downtown Cinema. She will also discuss the background to her film and her broader cryptid research at a special event and book signing at the Volume One Gallery.
“Return to Wildcat Mountain is a true mom and pop — and son — creation,” said Godfrey. “We made it to tell the story of the many mountain lions returning eastward to old habitats, along with a slew of the mysterious ‘black panthers’ that scientists say do not exist. I am especially thrilled to be part of Midwest WeirdFest as co-author and author of Barnes and Noble’s Weird Wisconsin and Weird Michigan volumes of their ‘Weird US’ series. It’s a grand, weird world out there.”
Feature filmmaker and TV series guests presenting their work at the 2020 MidWest WeirdFest — some of whom will also part of the Weird Filmmaking Forum at Ivy Creatives — include the following:
Greg Newkirk, Dana Newkirk, and Karl Pfeiffer, the creators and stars of the ground-breaking paranormal series Hellier.
Linda Godfrey, Stephen Godfrey, and Nathan Godfrey, the creators of the fascinating and chilling documentary Return to Wildcat Mountain: Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus.
Eric Silvera and Sean Kenealy, directors and stars of the festival’s closing night film, the hilarious and frenetic action/buddy comedy In Action, which has its world premiere in the fest’s closing night slot.
Dane Mainella (director) and Jay Jadick (director/star) of the genre bending drama and Bigfoot-focused head trip Squatchmore, which is also having its world premiere at MidWest WeirdFest 2020.
Joshua Land and Victor Fink, the directing duo behind the bloody-hilarious horror comedy Bad Witch.
Filmmakers in attendance to present their short films at the festival include Mac Cushing (The Visit and The Basement), Steve Chappel (Trilogy of Tears), Maxwell Frey and Dominic Reno (Welcome to Helltown), Paul von Stoetzel (Carnage the Executioner — Eat to Live), and Zeshaan Younus (Prefigured).
MidWest WeirdFest’s full 2020 feature line-up follows:
BAD WITCH (directors: Joshua Land and Victor Fink)
Xander is a witch whose abuse of black magic has led him to disaster after disaster. After trying to go clean of witchcraft, Xander befriends a young loner, helping Roland with bullies, girlfriends, and other teenage atrocities. A bloody fun horror flick that’s sure to bewitch genre cinephiles.
THE FEAR OF LOOKING UP (director: Konstantinos Koutsoliotas)
While chasing a serial killer inspired by the god of sleep, a cop’s life is overturned by the death of her lover. Looming monsters and the need for revenge cloud the border between her nightmares and reality in this atmospheric and hypnotising descent into Lovecraftian madness and terror.
THE HATMAN: DOCUMENTED CASES OF REAL EVIL (director: Kyle J. Macias)
Imagine waking up in the middle of the night, to find a tall man wearing an old fashioned hat, his face shadowed, looming over you in bed. He’s intently examining you with pure evil radiating from his cold death-like stare. He lingers in your bedroom. You grip your bedsheets, you’re terrified to the core and shaking profusely. Just when you think he’s going to attack, he disappears. He’s gone, without a trace. In this documentary, eyewitnesses share their true stories of how they encountered this “Hat Man.” A being who torments their dreams, seemingly in conjunction with sleep paralysis and night terrors — terrors that, in some cases, also affect daily life. Will you see him . . . ?
HELLIER (director: Karl Pfeiffer)
A small crew of paranormal researchers find themselves in a dying coal town, where a series of strange coincidences leads them to a decades-old mystery with far-reaching implications. HELLIER is the most original and paradigm-shaking paranormal documentary series ever produced. Come and watch the haunting finale to Season 2 – “NIGHT OF PAN” – on the big screen, with the show’s creators and stars!
IN ACTION (directors: Sean Kenealy and Eric Silvera) WORLD PREMIERE!
Sean and Eric are just two bumbling screenwriters working on the “next big action flick,” utterly oblivious to the shit storm that awaits when the government intercepts their script, believing it to be a veritable terrorist plot.
MAKING MONSTERS (directors: Justin Harding and Rob Brunner)
When a celebrity couple famed for their YouTube scare-prank channel are invited to a friend’s converted church in the countryside for a weekend getaway, a series of startling events unfold that spiral them into an inexplicable nightmare.
ON THE TRAIL OF UFOS (director: Seth Breedlove) SNEAK PEAK!
From MidWest WeirdFest alumni filmmaker Seth Breedlove (MOMO: THE MISSOURI MONSTER, ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT) comes the latest Small Town Monsters documentary. With host Shannon LeGro, ON THE TRAIL OF UFOS takes viewers from the gates of Area 51 itself to the snow-capped White Mountains of New Hampshire. Filmed in several states across the country, no stone was left unturned in putting together the most comprehensive look at the subject ever produced. The first public screening of episodes from this highly anticipated miniseries!
PUPPET KILLER (director: Lisa Ovies)
While celebrating Christmas at a cabin in the woods, a group of high school students are stalked by a psychotic killer obsessed with horror movie icons. This laugh-out-loud horror comedy is overflowing with clever homages to the genre, and serves up a perfect mix of gore and gags.
RETURN TO WILDCAT MOUNTAIN: WISCONSIN’S BLACK PANTHER NEXUS (directors: Linda Godfrey and Nathan Godfrey) WORLD PREMIERE!
Strangely, in some parts of North America, black-furred big cats make up over half the eyewitness reports of mountain lions — but zoologists say black pumas don’t exist. If that’s true, then exactly what are these ebony felines? Might one small central Wisconsin town hold a clue to this growing mystery? The directorial debut of one of the world’s leading writers and investigators of the weird: Linda Godfrey (WEIRD WISCONSIN, MONSTERS AMONG US, I KNOW WHAT I SAW).
THE SOUL CONDUCTOR (Director: Ilya Maksimov)
Katya is a disaffected and gloomy young woman endowed with a mystical gift: she is a conduit between the world of the dead and the world of the quick, and helps earthbound souls to regain peace. Her already weird world spirals even further out of control when a demonic serial killer targets both her and her twin sister. A beautiful and creepy supernatural thriller, THE SOUL CONDUCTOR is loaded with twists and frights that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end credits roll.
SQUATCHMORE (Directors: Dane Mainella, Jay Jadick, and Benjamin R Davis) WORLD PREMIERE!
Two men from rural Western Pennsylvania embark on a quest to track down the legendary monster, Bigfoot. They will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the great American myth, even as their journey leads them ever deeper into the mind of the beast itself. Part mumble-core, part early Wes Anderson, part psychedelic trip down the rabbit-hole of Sasquatch belief, SQUATCHMORE delivers the weird like few others.
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS? (dir: Aaron Daniel Annas)
Psychics, scientists, skeptics, and a film professor delve into the paranormal, attempting to answer, “Do ghosts exist?”. Director Aaron Annas states: “As a child, I remember my dad reassuring me, ‘There’s no such thing as ghosts’; however, when I would ask my mom about the supernatural, she would never give a definitive answer. I grew up fascinated by the concept of the supernatural and why people believe the way they do. It is amazing to me how even one’s religious belief system can allow for some elements of the supernatural while negating others. This film, THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS?, is my journey to understanding why people believe what they believe when it comes to the supernatural.”