The opening day of Macabro 2013, Mexico City's annual horror film festival, kicked off with a screening of The Battery
, with director/star Jeremy Gardner and co-star Adam Cronheim in person. No need for more. One cleverly funny zombie movie (with a great soundtrack) and a couple of energetic and very kind guys (Gardner and Cronheim) were more than enough for a memorable evening at Cineteca Nacional (the Cinematheque).
The crowd started gathering around 5 PM, more than two hours before the showing. It was a sold out event but some people didn't know that and soon the festival's organization became a little messy. There was just too much demand (some members of the press had to leave), confirming that Macabro keeps growing as a festival and requires a better organization next year.
Inside the movie theater things were calmer and the opening speech by Edna Campos (the festival's director) was discreet, leaving everything to Gardner and Cronheim. Gardner introduced The Battery with the following words:
"We made this movie on a very small budget and a very short amount of time: fifteen days with $6,000 dollars. The reception all around the world has been amazing but this, right here, is the biggest crowd we've ever had! We are going to stick afterwards, so tell us how much you hated it or loved it, ask us questions, find us and have a drink with us."
The Battery is definitely a lesson in how to make a zombie film work with no money and not much screen time for the zombies. You don't have the creepiest creatures? Then don't show them and play with that element. Your zombies are slow and not always dangerous? Then create a character that enjoys beating the shit out of them no matter what. And of course, follow the guerrilla filmmaking manual book and direct, perform, produce, edit and sell your (own damn) movie yourself!
Gardner is a clever filmmaker but also just a straight fun dude (in the film and in real life). When the credits rolled, he took to the stage once more and, together with Cronheim, began singing to the closing song ("We've Got a Lot to Be Glad For" by Rock Plaza Central). I'm not sure why the organizers didn't give them a microphone for the Q&A but, fortunately, they spoke loud enough for a decent audio recording. Hence I'm bringing you the best quotes from Gardner and Cronheim!
Check the gallery to read them, and stay tuned for more of my Macabro 2013 coverage.
Jeremy Gardner (Ben):
“In a movie if you go to the doctor and want to get a diagnosis, they just cut to the doctor and he goes “you have cancer”. In real life, you have to go and sit in a waiting room, wait to go to the doctor’s office. And that is way more terrifying to me than just cutting into the diagnosis. I thought it would be really good to watch them wait, because they don’t have anywhere to be, nothing to do. It sets the audience up for having to wait through that long shot at the end.”
“I wanted to make a movie but where if the movie sucked and failed nobody would lose any money! I asked ten friends for $600 dollars, and said, “just give me $600 dollars and then if the movie fails and no one ever watches it, you can’t hate me because I have seen you lose more than $600”. I knew we could make something that looked real.”
“What’s the easiest thing to do? Two guys who are in the woods. Why would two guys be in the woods? Because zombies are in the cities. It organically came together.”
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