Artists' Television Access

Bearded Child Film Festival Tour

Thursday, September 8, 2005, 8:00 pm, $5

             Northern Minnesota’s Bearded Child Film Festival will be taking the nation by storm this Fall with a selection of experimental, low-budget, and extremely bizarre short films. For the past five years, the festival has thrived within the obscurity of Grand Rapids, Minnesota– a mill town of under 8000 people located 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis. In order to develop a niche within the crowded world of festivals, the Bearded Child specifically seeks out work that is often “too weird” or too “lo-fi” for many festivals. The festival has encouraged filmmakers to push the boundaries of corporate film culture, while entertaining local crowds of pseudo-lumberjacks and old women in the process– a curious venture to be sure. According to Dan Anderson, festival founder, the festival was a near wash back in 2002– in large part due to an area fiddle contest taking place that same weekend.
              “I’m not sure if anyone really understands the festival up here, but at least they seem to appreciate it,” says Anderson. “People are so polite here, that it’s actually kind of hard to tell…”
              “It’s really about giving them the option more than anything else. Plus, there are very few festivals out there that show anything really crazy– we try to tap as far into the fringe as possible.”
                After five years of obscurity, the Bearded Child Film Festival will spend the next three months criss-crossing the nation with a selection of “All Star” films from the past five years. While the tour will hit major cities such as San Francisco, Montreal, and New York, their main focus is on smaller towns and rural areas. “Cultural missionary work!” says Anderson. The tour will hits such sites as Kirksville, Missouri and Harrison, Arkansas, along with several stops in the Deep South. The tour will kick off at the Burning Man Festival in late August, and will continue well into the Christmas holidays. To assist in travel expenses, Anderson will be selling wild rice roadside out of a 1978 Chevy van during off days. “Even Brakhage needed to work for a living!” he says.
              Attendees should expect a mix of experimental films, oddball comedies, and the bizarre. Many of the films have never been shown outside of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. “Craziness is our number one priority. After that, it better really rock our socks!”

Bearded Child Film Festival Tour
Grand Rapids, Minnesota

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