Your upcoming film The Zombinator - in a few words, what is
it going to be about?
A fashion blogger documentary turns into a zombie horror nightmare when
college students come face to face with the undead in Youngstown Ohio.
Their only hope of survival is a former soldier turned zombie killer, The
With The Zombinator
being a zombie movie, is that a genre at all dear to you, and your genre
It's a genre I wanted to venture into as a
filmmaker for a long time. I'm glad I did and I've received an amazing
response from zombie fans around the world.
The Zombinator starts out as a
documentary about a fashion blogger before things turn ugly. Why on earth of
all things a fashion blogger?
In our present times people
spend a lot of time on social
media, they live online and it reflects the current state of
society. Joanne as a fashion blogger seems to be a person the social media
generation could relate to. I wanted to make it feel as real as possible
and keep the audience wondering... unable to predict what will happen
What were your main
inspirations when writing the story for The Zombinator?
The inspiration for The Zombinator character came 30 seconds after
meeting Joseph Aviel. I meet this gentle giant in Florida and before we
could finish our hand shake told him "I'm going to put you in a
movie, there's no script but trust me it will be great". I felt like
Johnny Depp playing Ed Wood, lol.
The inspiration for the story came when I visited Youngstown Ohio. The
vacant buildings, the people of Youngstown who are working as hard as
they can simply to maintain and survive. Living a life like this can
make you feel like a zombie. The stories from some of the people I met
inspired me to put a spotlight on this city and create a movie centered
around them and give them something that they can be a part of.
Zombinator was filmed without an actual script as such, right?
Why, and as the director, how do you see to it that your actors make it
from point A to point B nevertheless?
takes a lot of trust from your actors. The idea is to get a perfect
balance of what, when and how to tell them what you need at precise
moments. Then of course they have to trust you. All of the ideas and
scenes are flowing around in my head like puzzle pieces and I just pull
out one piece at a time, and this is what I give to the actors.
According to my
information, The Zombinator was filmed in a short 4 and a
half days, which I suppose must have lots of pressure on you and your cast
and crew. So what can
you tell us about the shoot as such and about the on-set atmosphere? And
would you ever consider making another (zombie-)movie in 4 and a half
Joseph Aviel, Patrick Kilpatrick, Sergio Myers
It went extremely well. I was extremely surprised at
how well everything went, considering at times we had upwards of 300
people on set who just wanted to be involved. I would do it again in 4.5
days and right now working on ideas for The Zombinator 2.
Your lead villain is played by veteran actor
Patrick Kilpatrick. Why him, and what was it like working with him?
Kilpatrick is simply an amazing actor and all around great guy. When he
speaks on camera, just simply just want to watch what he says. Funny thing
when I first spoke with him about the movie which was about ten days
before filming began, he said this was the first time in 30 years he'd done
a movie without a script. I thank him for trusting in me and my process.
He also came on board as a co-producer.
Zombinator himself, Joseph Aviel - a few words about him?
is a gentle giant and a great friend. The fact this guy isn't starring in
major blockbuster movies is a shock to me. People simply love him. He's
extremely talented, works really hard on being his best. I believe he
trained every day preparing for this role.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast and crew?
were 8 other cast members that applied to a casting I sent out. I had over
5000 submissions from NY, Chicago and LA. I held casting by skype and
ended up with 8 other main cast members. The cast are extremely talented.
They truly did an amazing job improvising the scenes and trusting me as a
director. As for the crew, I can't say enough about how greatfull I am for
their hard work and commitment to the movie. Most of them were from the
Youngstown area and just wanted to be involved. The zombies were also from
the Youngstown area and were great with to work with. Everyone was really
committed to the project. The movie would not have been possible without
the help of the Youngstown people.
course, no zombie film without blood and guts - so what can you tell us
about the gore effects in your movie, and was there ever a line you
refused to cross regarding on-screen violence?
to go old school with The Zombinator. Basically the gore and zombie
effects team consisted of 3 people who are hardcore zombie and horror fans
and most importantly artists who created everything on the spot. As far as
crossing a line, I think should be up to the individual filmmaker to make
a choice on how they want to be represented.
be too early to ask, but when and where will your film be released,
Officially not sure but planning on a few
special screenings in different areas, starting with Youngstown sometime
Any future projects beyond The Zombinator?
The Zombinator 2.
go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in
the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
first project I ever worked on was an horror film and since then I've
always enjoy this medium. I studied communication theory.
far as I know, you actually started out as a documentary filmmaker. What
can you tell us about making documentaries as opposed to shooting fiction,
and could you talk about your documentaries for a bit?
are unpredictable, you never know what story you will get. My first major
documentary was on the Heaven's Gate Cult and then I ended up producing,
directing E! True Hollywood Story. The cult story was extremely tragic
and moving. Documentaries take a lot out of you emotionally (and
financially).With fiction you have control of the story.
have also had your hands in reality TV, right? What can you tell us about
that aspect of your career?
Reality television seemed an
obvious field to jump into. It was a way of telling stories over multiple
episodes and focusing on individual stories around characters and creating
character arcs. I really enjoy making reality television.
After documentaries and
reality TV, what made you take the plunge and start filming fiction?
felt it was time. I wanted to great a new genre and blur the lines between
reality and fiction.
of your pre-Zombinator-movies you'd like to talk about?
Love Story Part 1 and LA Love Story Part 2. They are short dramas inspired
by a few events in my own life as a reality television creator/producer.
would you describe your directorial style, and could you talk about free
flow filmmaking for a bit?
the audience guessing. Due to the massive success of reality television
and the collapse of the independent film industry back in 2008, I created
the "Free Flow Filmmaking" genre as a new way for future indie
filmmakers to make a powerful, interesting and cheap movies. This is the
age of Youtube, the social media. This genre "Free Flow
Filmmaking" is current with the age we live in. A lot of big
blockbuster movies spend millions to get this look. I've made two other
movies with this genre. Jordon
Saffron: Taste This! starring Rachel Hunter, Steve Schirripa and
myself, and Becoming Pony Boi. If any filmmakers want to give this genre
a try and would like some help, advise, send me a message at
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
My official FaceBook:
The Zombinator official: www.facebook.com/thezombinator
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Thank you for taking interest in The
Thanks for the interview!