Thursday, November 5, 2009

Flyway Transmission One: Tonight of the Living Dead

I recently had the pleasure of premiering a video from the 400 Lonely Things album Tonight of the Living Dead as part of the Flyway Film Festival's International Zombie Summit in Pepin, Wisconsin.

The video for the song Tonight is an internet-based collaboration with Phil Harrell (a Denver-based film-maker, currently working with the editor of Rusty Nails' forthcoming documentary Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George Romero), and was created using visual treatments from the original Night of the Living Dead similar to the methods I employed in the audio construction of the album.

It was our great privilege to have it shown in between two of the most critically-acclaimed international releases of this year - films that have been praised as game-changers in their ability to challenge what can and can't be done in the zombie sub-genre: Cannes breakout hit - the U.K. "$70 zombie movie with a heart" - Colin and the Stephen McHattie driven Canadian production and "intellectual zombie-film" Pontypool, which had been named by Entertainment Weekly the previous week as one of the 25 Greatest Zombie Films of All Time.

Our video was well-received by both audience members and attending film-makers alike. Encouraged by the warm reception, we've decided to expand Tonight of the Living Dead into a feature-length black and white "fish-tank" of haunted ambiance, creating a unique video for each of the tracks on the album - emphasizing the disturbing visual poetry found in the original film of Night of the Living Dead that I attempted to capture, tweak and loop aurally in the construction of the album. We'll be making the rounds at various film festivals in the months to come and will be rolling out a video or two online very soon (and hopefully we'll premiere the feature at Flyway next year).

In addition to the soothing and beautiful scenery, delicious food and warm hospitality of the people of Stockholm and Pepin, WI - Phil and I were also flattered to take part in a "Zombie Panel" with the other IZS film-makers in attendance. Pictured L-R are Festival Organizer Rick Vaicius, Phil Harrell, myself, Jeffrey Coghlan (Producer, Pontypool), Ed Bishop and Pericles Lewnes (Producer and Director of Redneck Zombies), Jay Cheel (Director, Colore Non Vedenti) and Gary King - director of New York Lately, (who is currently filming a zombie film of his own in Cleveland).

A delicious dinner at Gelly's Pub the night before led to a great discussion of our favorite films (mostly horror) between Phil, Jay Cheel and myself with Matt Gamble of Where the Long Tail Ends. Matt, along with Andrew James of Row Three, setup their laptop in Gelly's and interviewed all of the film-makers throughout the course of the next day for their "pubcast". My interview is at this link or just subscribe in iTunes and listen to the whole series.

All in all, the experience at Flyway was one of the better times in my life. I very much look forward to going back, and have appreciated getting the chance to make new friends and see new and wonderful films from all over the world. Many thanks to Rick and Diana Vaicius for making Flyway such a memorable time. That Flyway is so unique and wonderful is no accident; it's the inevitable result of their enthusiasm and warmth.

In the days to come, I'll be posting at length about some of the films I had the privilege of viewing.

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