THE LAST ZOMBIE, 16min., USA
Directed by Adam J. Vaughn
At the conclusion of a zombie apocalypse, a lone zombie wanders the planet, isolated and threatened by every human in sight. When Nova, the last zombie, comes across a little girl who knows no fear, the two form an unlikely - and tragically short lived - friendship.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
During my studies at Stevenson university, I conceived, scripted, shot, and finalized many student film ideas, many of which went on to be award-winning films. "The Last Zombie" was a project from my studies that I had scripted, revised, but never actually filmed while in school. Partnering with Charm City Filmmakers, I was able to complete "Last Zombie," inspired by the influences of such things like "The Walking Dead," "Warm Bodies," as well as the famous 'Maria and the Monster' scene from the 1920's Universal film, "Frankenstein."
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Pre-production took several months, as the script underwent many peer reviews and revisions, budgeting and planning with my Producer, and casting and coordinating with the various talents in the film. Filming took place over the course of exactly one weekend! And the editing process took another round of months to finalize the film.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Man Meets Monster! In a polarized world where zombies are the enemy, two unlikely beings form a loving, but sadly tragic, bond!
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
This was my first short film produced outside of an academic space. Ergo, I was completely in charge of the project, its success, but also the fate of the project lay completely in my hands. The nerve-racking feeling of knowing you are finally an independent filmmaker started to kick in for me, and tackling tasks that I would have previously sought guidance and supervision from my professors now relied solely on me (as well as mentors from Charm City).
As low concept as the film was, I had taken a bit of a "sabbatical" from filmmaking to handle my finances (about 2-3 years). So brushing up on technique, practice, and serving as both Director and Cinematographer for the project was a huge challenge!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Truthfully, it was amazing!! I had left "Last Zombie" alone for about a year to tackle other endeavors, not sure if I would continue to run the festival route with the film. To have submitted the project, and to have received the positive responses from member of WildSound, was truly gratifying, and boosted my confidence in my craft and abilities to tell a story!
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
As a child, I grew up with all sorts of cinematic experiences. Most notably, when I was only two years old, my mother introduced me to two major films: her favorite film, "The Wizard of Oz," as well as my soon-to-be favorite film of all time, "King Kong" (1933). Both films captured my imagination, and sent me down a path of creativity. Initially, my artistry led me to Theater, where I would act/perform in all the school plays, as well as workshops and summer camps outside of school. As I approached choosing college, however, I chose to fully immerse myself in a Film and Moving Image degree, while still minoring in Theater and Media Performance.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
It wouldn't be my favorite film if I didn't answer with "King Kong," both the 1933 classic as well as Peter Jackson's phenomenal remake (also I have mad love for the 1976 remake by Dino de Laurentitis). Some more notable favorites are "Jaws," "Jurassic Park," "Alien," and "The Exorcist."
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
The biggest, consistent struggle that I (and I can imagine other filmmakers) encounter is ways to find funding for the next project. The beautiful thing about art is we all love and support each other, and while we strive to be the best version of ourselves, we also love to see others succeed :)
That being said, resources for funding or writing grants for future projects would increase my capabilities tremendously, and it is information I would gladly share with my peers and fellow filmmakers.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway is easy to use, and the process of searching and submitting to festivals is flawless. I will say, the festival circuit can get very expensive, but if I've always looked at it like this - the things you're passionate about require investment, be it filmmaking, acting, painting, etc. as well as endeavors outside of the arts. The more you give, and the more work you put into something, the more comes back your way!
10. What is your favorite meal?
Wasn't a question I expected to see here! Haha but I am a sucker for a good, homemade cheeseburger! (<< and I'm partial to sweet potato or steak fries to go with it!)
While on the topic, another quick shoutout is lasagna! I could eat that all day and never get bored (though I might get a stomachache after a while, haha)
11. What is next for you? A new film?
It's a bit of a secret :) BUT what I can tell you is I have a very strong relationship with Charm City Filmmakers in Baltimore, MD, and they are a tremendous group to collaborate with.
What I can also tell you is I have my eye on creating a proof of concept for a particular renowned video-game franchise! Knowing a pool of stunt actors and martial artists, I look forward to brining this video-game franchise to life ina short form content (of of course sharing it with all of you! Stay tuned!!)