Your new film Ridge War
Z - in a few words, what is it about?
The horrors and brotherhood that young men experience in war - any war.
been in the army yourself - is any of Ridge
War Z based on personal experiences or actual battlefield accounts
(apart from the zombie stuff of course)?
Some is based on
personal experiences in dealing with frustration with leadership and long
hours. I have never been in combat personally. A major influence on this
project was Eugine Sledge's book With the Old Breed and how he
described the horrors of war.
Why zombies, is that a subgenre at all dear to you, and why (not)?
is not particularly dear to me but we wanted this to be about a war that
would remind people of the modern war that is going on currently in
Afghanistan without directly portraying that war. We had no real budget
and needed an enemy for our boys to fight that would be a metaphor for the
horrors of an unseen enemy.
other sources of inspiration when writing Ridge
The Forgotten Soldier - Guy Sajar's
memoir about serving as a German on the Russian Front, and With the Old
Breed by Eugine Sledge about the horrors he experienced in the Pacific
theater of WW2.
Of all the characters in Ridge
War Z, who do you identify with the most, and why?
- not for his bravery nescessarily but for his faith in Jesus and
attempted kindness towards his buddies.
would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?
Our goal is to make it feel as realistic as possible. For this one we had
a vision but had numerous people drop out of the filming. Nearly all of
the roles that people played in the film were supposed to be played by
other individuals. But when we made this we has no clout and had to depend
on the time available to friends and family. So in the end the approach
was to finish it no matter what or who we had.
times, Ridge War Z
gets quite violent and bloody, so for the sake of all the gorehounds among
my readers, do talk about your gore effects for a bit!
we had so few people and resources that we mostly just used after effects
and hamburger meat for the gore you saw.
can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Bell and Manuel Eduardo Ramirez are great actors and are really the only
ones with acting experience. The others Such as Travis and Dane O'Leary
(Briggs) are good friends of mine who know what it is like to be in stressful situations. Dane was in the Navy and works as a fire fighter for the
forest service - Travis works as a hotshot for the US Forest service. Kyle
Gordon basically plays himself flawlessly - he was my chainsaw partner
when I was a hotshot for the forest service, and some of his outbursts and
comedy in this film are based on things he does and has done.
few words about your locations, how easy/hard to find were they, and what
were the advantages and challenges of filming there? And what can you tell
us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
filmed in Phelan, Ca - guerrilla style. We descided we were going to
make it there and without permission began construction on the large
combat outpost at the top of the hill. People could see it but in order to
get to it to mess with it they would have quite the hike ahead of them. It
still stands today. We had no problem with people and were left alone. The
war portion was filmed in 2 days - the return to the ridge was filmed in
one and the type-writing stuff and narration was filmed in 2 hours. We
treated the first two days as a camp-out and kept high spirits while
making the film no matter who left or who didn't show up. It was a fun
time filled with beer drinking and camp fires.
few words about critical and audience reception of your movie so far?
people are thrown off by the Ridge War Z
title and that there is limited
zombies- some hate it for that. They believe that it was made to rip off World
War Z but it wasn't. It was made before that film came out and is more
about being a modern infantryman than anything. People are coming around
and are seeing it for what it is and are enjoying it. Many soldiers can
see that we kept the proper jargon and manarisms of soldiers.
future projects you'd like to share?
We made a successful
full length fan film about the origin of the Joker
called Joker Rising
that was popular online. We are going to make a sequel to that, The
City with Two Faces, and will
then begin pre-production on a new film called Agape about 8 different
stories throughout time connected by a single act of selfless love -
films should be done next year.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
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What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
No formal training. I watched a documentary
about Steven Spielberg and the making of Saving Private Ryan and knew I
wanted to do this with my life.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Ridge War Z?
short films over the years. Took a long break from it in 2008 till 2012
for army and the forest service then started to go back at it.
would you describe yourself as a director?
Quick and un-trained by school and Hollywood.
who inspire you?
Terrence Mallick, Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia),
and Steven Spielberg.
Your favourite movies?
Schindler's List, Children Of Men, The Thin Red Line, Babe 2 Pig in the City (no joke),
and of course, films you really deplore?
Crank 1 - 2, Saw-series (besides the first one), Hills
Have Eyes 2.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!