Comedy film pioneer David Zucker to chair BIFF 2013

Staff Report

BELOIT, Wis. — Legendary Hollywood writer, director and producer David Zucker will serve as honorary chairman of the eighth Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) when the curtain goes up Feb. 14, 2013.

One of Hollywood’s most successful filmmakers, Zucker’s worldwide box office hits include Airplane!, Ruthless People, Phone Booth, A Walk In the Clouds and the record-breaking Naked Gun and Scary Movie franchises.

Zucker will attend BIFF screenings and events and will introduce several of his films Saturday and Sunday.

Every one of his 15 studio films has been profitable, setting an unparalleled track record in a highly competitive industry,” noted BIFF President Ron Nief. “And this year, he attains another milestone as he joins the select list of BIFF honorary chairs.”

BIFF Executive Director Roddie Beaudoin is in conversations with Zucker regarding the films that will be presented at BIFF.

We hope to show at least two Zucker classics over the weekend and have him here to introduce them and answer questions,” Beaudoin said. “He has also agreed to meet with filmmakers, donors and sponsors during his visit.”

Starting out after college with a borrowed videotape deck and camera, the Wisconsin native recruited his brother, Jerry, and friends to join him in creating the Kentucky Fried Theater in Madison, Wis. They moved the show to Los Angeles in 1972, and parlayed their success into an iconic independent feature, Kentucky Fried Movie.

The Zucker team conceived the idea that would create a whole new film genre with Airplane!. The film broke all conventions, featuring dramatic actors like Robert Stack and Leslie Nielsen performing hair-brained dialogue with straight-laced sincerity. The spoof became the surprise hit of 1980, and their streak of successful movies continued with the secret agent spoof Top Secret! starring Val Kilmer, and the biting farce Ruthless People, with Bette Midler and Danny DeVito.

In 1988, Zucker went out on his own to direct The Naked Gun followed by Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33 1/3. His successes have continued with A Walk in The Clouds, BASEketbal and the revitalized Scary Movie comedy series. He is writing and producing Scary Movie 5, to be released in 2013.

Previous honorary chairmen have included Robert Lee Morris, internationally renowned designer (2008); Steven McEveety, executive producer of the Academy Award-winning Braveheart and producer of The Passion of the Christ (2009); Gregory Lamberson, internationally celebrated creator of horror films (2010); independent filmmakers CK Lichtenstein and Jack Bennett (2011); and last year, the youngest chairman, actor Bobby Coleman, whose performances and participation in the festival won over the crowds two years in a row.

BIFF will launch the 2013 season on Valentine’s Day, Thursday Feb. 14, and continue through Sunday, Feb. 17. The BIFF-Year-Round program will continue to present popular films from past BIFF showings at local venues in coming weeks. For more information, visit BIFF at

From the Dec. 19-25, 2012, issue

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