Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview: Chris Green (Zombie Werewolves Attack)

Chris Green has come into the theatre in a bit of a rush. He has the frazzled look of someone who has been run ragged, but still manages a smile. He had just come straight from dealing with a minor financing issue with his latest film, but nothing that couldn't be handled with several frantic phone calls. All in a days work for Chris, who is not only working on as a writer/director/producer of an anthology film titled The Last (now in production), but he is also the writer/director of Zombie Werewolves Attack which, after having its Canadian big screen debut at the Toronto Underground Cinema this past August, will be available for digital download from Lloyd Kaufman's Troma Entertainment in the near future. On top of all that, Zombie Werewolves Attack will be screening at the National Film Board (150 John Street) on Saturday, October 30th at 7:00pm. Chris joins us to talk about Troma and his upcoming projects.

Andrew Parker: Let's start with an easy one. Let's talk about the film you are currently working on since you just came from there.

Chris Green: The project is called The Last and it's a six part anthology film about the last man on Earth. It's different short stories. We're getting six different directors. They have each written one of the six segments as week. And since every writer/director has their own specific style, each segment is told in a different style. One is a slasher movie. One is a zombie movie. One is a suspense thriller...

AP: Now Charlie [Lawton] from the Underground is part of one of the segments, right?

CG: Charlie is directing one of the segments. He is directing the one that is found footage style.

AP: And what is the segment you will be working on?

CG: I am doing the one that is zombie movie style. The whole thing is about the end of the world in one way or another. Mine takes place the day after and the world is different in a drastic way. There are mutant zombies everywhere in this apocalyptic world.

AP: It's a great concept because when you have an end of the world film there are so many different directions you can take it in. Do you have any favourite post-apocalyptic films at all?

CG: I will give full credit to Brendan [Welton] who came up with the idea for the six stories and he was a huge fan of anthology films like this in the past. He was a big fan of Creepshow and Tales From the Crypt. Now, there's an anthology for you. He really liked Phobia which came out a few years ago.

AP: Now, how long have you been working on The Last?

CG: We've been working on The Last for just over a year, mostly just waiting to raise money to finish filming the segments. We've finished shooting two of the six as a preview to show to potential investors to raise money. I was also working on my first feature film, Zombie Werewolves Attack, which is coming out very soon for digital download from Troma.

AP: Let's talk a little bit about Zombie Werewolves Attack.

CG: Well, that one is pretty self explanatory. The title describes the zombie werewolves and they pretty much attack stuff (laughs). The whole film takes place on one full moon night and a pack of werewolves start attacking towns and anyone they chew up to the point of death becomes and undead as well as a werewolf.

AP: And how long was the production on that?

CG: That one has been four years in the making. It was about a year of writing and saving money. Then we shot over 15 days and I spent about a year editing and a year shopping it around.

AP: How did you get involved with Lloyd Kaufman and Troma?

CG: Well, I have always been a fan of B movies and cult films and Troma was famous for that, especially the Toxic Avenger series. I've actually met Lloyd Kaufman a few times when he was at FanExpo. When my movie was up for sale and the editing was completed I gave screeners to Troma at FanExpo as well as a few other people and we decided to go with Troma as it seemed like the best fit. Lloyd and his book Make Your Own Damn Movie was so inspiring. It just makes you want to go out and do it.

AP: The film recently had its premiere at the Toronto Underground Cinema. How did that go?

CG: That went really well. That was the Canadian premiere.

AP: And you have a screening coming up at the NFB on the 30th. Do you think its a little funny that Zombie Werewolves Attack is showing at a place like the NFB.

CG: It's a little funny. The Wild Sound film festival does screenings there and they were looking to do a Halloween special, so they were looking for films to do with horror and Halloween and decided to go with us.

AP: When people first view the trailer for Zombie Werewolves Attack the first thing they tend to comment on is how good the transformation sequences look, which are crucial to any werewolf movie. How do you manage to make such effects on a small budget?

CG: It was and it wasn't hard. I did the transformation sequences myself using Adobe After Effects. It's a great tool if you have a good home computer. You can pull off some great stuff. While I was working on it I learned how 300 used a home computer to do some of their effects using After Effects. So its amazing what you can do with computers these days. I basically taught myself After Effects until I could... I did my first film using some pretty cheesy effects, but I just kept practising.

AP: We had a conversation recently where you said horror really isn't your favourite genre. Yet you seem to find yourself doing two horror films back to back. Do you see them as an easy way into the filmmaking business or as easy films to make? Do you find it interesting or is it just a happy coincidence?

CG: A little bit of both. It is the easiest way to get in because horror tends to be made easily on a low budget. But then again there are those that are made with a huge budget. One of my favourite horror films of all time is The Shining and that is a huge movie. Horror films are just a lot of fun to work on and to make. I do love horror films, but I also like sci-fi and drama. That's also what I want to do. I just came up with ideas I could do for films on a low budget and Zombie Werewolves just seemed like the coolest one. Now that we are working with bigger budgets I am now working on developing a science fiction thriller. But as I was writing that, Brendan came to me with the anthology idea and it was so compelling and so well put together that I couldn't pass it up.

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