Festival Director’s Statement

This festival was not supposed to happen, I’m not supposed to be here. Strange events after last years MUFF put great Chaos Under Heaven. I’m not going to rehash events too much but I said something a little OTT on private FB page, it went viral and I was subject to what Jon Ronson calls “a public shaming” over what I said. The SJW (Social Justice Warrior) and New Left, their keyboard retinue came after me, past MUFF venues and sponsors, past filmmakers, friends the full Neo McCarthyism. Considering the fact it was only a question of speech, and that I apologised for it a few days later, it seemed a tad OTT itself. It felt like starring in a ridiculous online improv version of The Crucible.

But a week later it cooled down and I did the MUFFplex at Earthcore and not a single punter mentioned the controversy to me. Funny net land vs the real world. Spiro, the Earthcore promoter stood by me and told the SJW’s “to go stuff themselves” basically and it went ahead. I have provoked and enjoyed media attention from many controversies over the years and I came to realise this would all just make the festival more notorious, interesting and radical in the end, so onwards! Some Left Wingers cant understand how someone with a sometimes New Right politics (I’m left on the Economy, on some issues) could still be counter culture and underground. Well, I assure you this years MUFF sure is Underground! A new type of Rightist and Conservative is in some ways the New Counter Culture!

We have a new venue in Moorabbin and another secret venue announced here. This is to stop the SJW hornets a little in their mischief. Frank Howson had offered to step in and run MUFF for a year or two, but at our first meeting he realised he’d like to start his own festival, The Oz International Film Festival, so he has decided to go do that and I will keep MUFF, the wild, crazy and rebel Indy Film Festival, just the way I like it. I say a “FUCK YOU” to my critics. Get a life, start your own damn festival, and run it for 20 years. See how easy that is!

So we are moving forward. We have the usual good selection of MUFF treats: New Mark Savage on Opening Night and Closing Night with Mike Retter’s Youth on the March. Steve Bannon’s Trump at War and Farmlands by Lauren Southern – get their Oz fest debuts. A new film from the LGBT’s number one Indy filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, happy to show a sign of solidarity, gives us Ulrike’s Brain, he was a past guest and MUFF award winner. Same Terry McMahon from Ireland whose new short plays with the Bruce’s, even though both are avowed left wingers. There are many good left wingers out there, still, who like Free Speech and we love and support you!

It’s our usual fare at MUFF 19, check out catalogue, it’s actually diverse in thought, unlike EVERY mainstream fest that claims to love Diversity as window dressing, ours does in content. We are going to continue to support the vital, aggressive and exciting new voice in Oz and Indy cinema – like we have in the past.

The bottom line is this – if you don’t want to come to MUFF, then don’t. If you do – do. The choice is yours, not some Politburo of SJW bullies.

My politics should have nothing to do with it, esp on my private FB page. I try and leave it out of actual programming decisions and most of the notes (this year excepted as we had to face it and then leave it be). My politics might filter in with selection of a film or two. But again, so what? Don’t like MUFF and don’t like me? Don’t enter, don’t come, win/win. But if you don’t give a fuck, don’t care and don’t like people like SJW’s telling you what to say, do and think, well come along and say “fuck the nay sayers” to the new moral puritans and bullies. It’s still a free country…for now! So enjoy it and Enjoy MUFF 19!

Best Regards
Richard Wolstencroft
MUFF Fest Director

Patron’s Statement 

Frank Howson

19 years of MUFF (The Melbourne Underground Film Festival). Just take a second to think of the significance of that. During that time many talented local filmmakers have been discovered and quite a few have gone on to become big names in the international world of movie making. Time and time again MUFF has proven its much needed worth as an outlet for the weird, the wacky, the controversial, the outspoken, and the not so politically correct filmmakers who push the envelope of acceptability. But without these brave voices, and the outlet for them, where would the excitement be? Looking at the current cinema releases, it strikes me that MUFF is more important than ever.

Hollywood is making less and less movies, and the ones they do are becoming safer and safer, ie., comic book franchises, sequels, and remakes of films that have worked before. If ever there was a need for new original voices it is now. MUFF has long been a forum for free speech and at times been attacked for that. But in this world where political correctness has all but shut down healthy debate and brought in a new era of conservatism and censorship, we need voices that question things. In the words of the genius American comedian Lenny Bruce, who was persecuted to death for shining a light at the absurdity of the establishment’s calculated conservatism, “You need mad men like me to tell you when you’re going off the rails!” So, speak up, think, don’t accept absurdity, don’t fall in line, don’t take the stupidity pills being handed out by the New World Order along with their propaganda. We are not the confused, silent mass. We are the filmmakers. We are the risk takers. We are the cutting edge. We see what’s

Visit Frank Howson’s website frankhowson.com

Paul Moder

There is a war being fought as you read this. Probably the greatest war in the history of mankind. It will be bloody, it will be long and it will be fought to the death. At stake, is nothing less than the freedom to be simply you.To apply no limit to your thoughts, to openly voice those thoughts into words and to follow those words with assured actions that anchor your unassailable right, power and place in this world.Look around you and within you and ask yourself, are you truly free?

If the answer is no, then ask yourself, what is it or who is it, that is binding your freedom, dictating every aspect of your God given right and lifelong pursuit to make decisions for yourself.
We all choose our battlefields. Often these are decreed by the paths we take in life, or find ourselves upon. My path is creativity and Art with a capitol A. I have sacrificed much for it, fought tirelessly to preserve my love for it and made the decision to create it til the day I die. For me, Art is War, Art as War and War for Art and I am forever its faithful warrior and seasoned veteran.
Now, stepping in and up to join my lifelong friend, colleague and spirited fighter, Richard Wolstencroft on this, his 19th MUFF. I feel privileged, emboldened and unafraid. Art and politics, for me have always been uneasy bed partners, yet there are times when they can and must fornicate like banshees, stirring the muddied sludge of societal norm like nothing else can. But if the cause is just, the intent pure and the value incalculable, then it’s indeed a worthy fuck.

MUFF is Art, Richard Wolstencroft is MUFF and for all the above reasons and more, the festival’s right to exist with its creator at the helm, should be beyond condemnation, sabotage and the erosion of his right to gift the festival’s unique cinematic treats to you, the free audience, the free thinker and the seeker of truth.
Outrageously, that right is not assured and like most worthwhile endeavors, must be fought for tooth and nail and this is where I come in.

Now is the time to stand tall and be counted on the abacus of liberty. To enjoy the freedom that comes not from labels, cliques, trends, ideologies, faiths or agenda, but from the common good that Art is gifted to all regardless of politics. Skakespeare knew this only too well, which is why his works were performed for the hoi polio and gentry in equal measure. In this spirit, MUFF has and always will be, for you, the faithful audience.
You don’t have to fight the war that aims to cripple, crush and erase the gift we offer, that’s our charter. All you have to do, is show up.

See you at the barricades
Paul Moder  —  Sept 2018