Breathing new life into a sub-genre that, it can be argued, has become somewhat stagnant, is new director Ryan Lieske
, with his adaptation of horror author Elizabeth Massie's
very subversive, very gory, zombie tale Abed
First printed in Skipp and Spector's Still Dead
, an anthology of tales by the top names in horror literature, which was loosely based in the Dead
universe created by George A. Romero
tells the story a couple torn apart by the effects of the zombie apocalypse, and one woman determined to finally be a grandmother.
What helps makes this project extra special amongst the horde of other zombie movies both feature length and short form, is the inclusion of one Mister Philip Nutman
. If his name rings a bell you are probably one of the people that as kids, like me, read him in the pages of Fangoria
, where he remains still, as their longest-running writer. He's also the author of the novel Wet Work
which was pretty much the kicked the doors open to the zombie lit craze, along with Skipp and Spector's Book Of The Dead
(which Wet Work
appeared in as a short story) and aforementioned Still Dead
anthologies. Mr. Nutman
was kind enough to send over the new trailer, and answer a couple quick questions. Stay tuned for more on Abed
, as film festivals and screenings are announced.TWITCH
- You previously produced The Girl Next Door
, a feature. Abed
is a short. What are the differences in production? What is easier about the process of making a short, and what may prove more difficult?
- Let's clarify. Daniel Farrands, my co-screen writing partner, on Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door, were only "Associate Producers" on
that movie. It was in our contract. The "producers" didn't listen to our
casting suggestions, rewrote the ending of the movie without consulting
us...I could gripe for an hour, but it all came out in the wash. 22
world-wide festival screenings, awards, global distributions deals...a
five star rating on Netflix and an unprecedented 2,500 -- plus reviews.
My producing role on that film was minimized, but we had a small,
devoted crew and the filming went very smooth.
Now, ABED: in my 37 years of film making -- I
started out like the kids in Super-8 -- this is the best crew I've ever
worked with, the best cast. And although there were days when we started
late, the synergy between writer/director Ryan Lieske and our DP, Ben
Strack, was terrific. They could pull off a full eight hours of filming
in four...and with amazing results. They worked fast but Ryan was so
good with our principal cast -- Rachel Fanin, Vicki Deshaw-Fairman and
Daniel E Falicki, who is also a visionary film maker, we could nail a
scene in three takes. Ryan directed his socks off; Ben and his AC,
Dustin Kunkel shot the heck out of the film. Our wonderful cast took
huge emotional chances with a very controversial, emotionally
challenging roles. Everyone gave 150% on almost no pay.
Whether making a feature or a short -- making a movie is "making a
movie" -- I believe the results speak for the time, effort, energy which
went into this film. I have high standards and everyone exceeded my expectations. I could not be happier.
- You are a professional writer by trade, both as a journalist, and as a
fiction writer. Wearing the producer hat, a role normally despised by
the creative end of many productions, how do you do things differently,
then other producers?
- I am a creative producer. I am also a "hands-on" producer. I ran
cable, helped with lighting, sound, ran craft services, made coffee and
bagels...Orson Wells once said "a film crew is like an army, it marches
on its stomach: Me and my co-producer, Jenny Lasko, made sure there was
always food for everyone, heat to keep them warm during the Michigan
snow, ice, cold weather.
A good producer creates a safety bubble around his director to allow him
to work, then backs off to let him to get his vision on camera. Other
than that, I raised the finance, edited the three drafts of the
script....and am up to my ears in legal/contracts (that part of the
process is necessary but *boring*)
What I could bring to the table was my understanding of narrative, my
ability to raise money and let my director do what he is best at ---
work with his actors and get great performances out of them.. But I
could not have made this movie without Jenny Lasko. She's never produced
a movie before, but she took care of the detail stuff, which I hate,
and that's part of the reason I promoted her from line producer to full
I also learned, don't waste money on good food: pizza and crap from MacDonalds' keeps your crew shooting!
Besides food, what the world needs now? Love! Sweet zombie love! Check it out below the break, and keep an eye out for Abed
this festival season.