Insect Fear Film Festival

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The Insect Fear Film Festival has been held annually at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1984.[1] Its format has generally consisted of two or three feature-length films alternating with animated or live-action shorts that illustrate various aspects of insect biology.[2]

The film festival's founder, entomology professor May Berenbaum, conceived the idea as a graduate student at Cornell University, where it was deemed undignified. Berenbaum was able to execute the project after joining the University of Illinois faculty in 1980.[3]

The festival is usually organized around themes. These have included insect invasions, as exemplified by The Naked Jungle and The Swarm, metamorphosis, cockroaches, mosquitos, and entomologists themselves.[3] The most popular offering at the festival, according to the National Wildlife Federation's magazine, has been Beginning of the End, which features giant grasshoppers invading the city of Chicago after consuming radiation-treated vegetables.[3]

Media outlets covering the festival have included the Canadian Broadcasting Company, National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and The New York Times.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Professor's 'insect fear film fest' to focus on beetles, real and imagined". University of Illinois. Retrieved December 11, 2008.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Insect Fear Film Festival Update..." University of Illinois. December 9, 1999. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d Kuznik, Frank (1995). "Revenge of the bugs 101 - University of Illinois's Insect Fear Film Festival". National Wildlife Federation through Bnet. Archived from the original on March 23, 2007. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
  4. ^ Angier, Natalie (February 18, 1991). "What's Creepy, Crawly and Big in Movies? Bugs". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2008.