clearn.png
Friday April 16th, 2021 6:52AM

New film follows 2 zombie moviemakers with Down syndrome

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Two best friends with Down syndrome who caused a sensation four years ago when they created their own gory zombie movie are back, this time in a documentary championed by a Hollywood luminary.

“Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie,” released Tuesday on Apple TV, follows Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt on their tenacious 10-year quest to storyboard, script, produce, cast and star in 2016′s “Spring Break Zombie Massacre,” a comedy slasher movie complete with severed heads and spurting arteries.

The original movie earned national attention and an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show for the two Rhode Island natives.

Suchmann and Zufelt, both 25, loved the attention then — and they're loving it again now.

“I’ve always been the shy guy,” Suchmann said. “Now I’m experiencing what the cool kids are experiencing.”

But talk to anyone who knows them, and it’s not overcoming a disability that makes their story remarkable — it’s the sheer determination they showed in getting the movie made.

“They’re a whirlwind of energy and happiness,” Peter Farrelly, a fellow Rhode Islander and executive producer of the documentary, said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “These guys are really sharp and they knew what they wanted. Our job was to help them but not get in their way.”

Farrelly, producer of the Oscar-winning film “Green Book,” and his brother, Bobby, have for years cast actors with disabilities in their movies and pushed for other Hollywood powerbrokers to do the same. Their 2005 movie “The Ringer,” about someone pretending to have a disability and competing in the Special Olympics, had about 150 extras with Down syndrome.

The Farrellys were named the 2020 recipients of the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion, given by the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation for demonstrating outstanding accomplishment in the field of disability inclusion.

The documentary doesn’t even mention Down syndrome, said Sam’s brother, Jesse Suchmann, who along with friend Robert Carnevale codirected the original movie, enlisting friends in the industry to help out with their time, expertise and equipment.

The hope is that the film inspires others to put neurodivergent minds in charge of the creative process, like Sam and Mattie were, instead of simply writing them into a script in the name of inclusion, Jesse Suchmann said.

Suchmann, of Providence, and Zufelt, of Bristol, have been best friends since they met participating in the Special Olympics during elementary school. They found they had a mutual love of horror movies.

“We’ve always been into horror movie and zombie movies,” Zufelt said. ”‘Saw’ and ‘Purge’ were always my favorites.”

They thought they could put something together as good as what they saw coming out of Hollywood. The result was “Spring Break Zombie Massacre,” a 45-minute film in which they play brothers who save the world from a zombie apocalypse spawned by the devil himself.

Farrelly, who has become a mentor and friend to the pair, said he's watched it maybe 10 times — and it never fails to make him smile.

“This is about what anybody has to do in life to get a movie made, or do anything in life that is hard to do,” he said. “People shouldn’t see their movie because two kids with Down syndrome made it. They should see it because it’s a damn good movie.”

Zufelt and Suchmann aren’t done either: They're planning a sequel.

Suchmann promises it will be “epic.”

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
New film follows 2 zombie moviemakers with Down syndrome
Two young men who caused a sensation four years ago when they created their own gory zombie movie are back, this time in a documentary championed by a Hollywood luminary
7:32AM ( 9 minutes ago )
N Ireland leaders call for calm after night of violence
Young people set a hijacked bus on fire and hurled gasoline bombs at police in Belfast in at least the fourth night of serious violence in a week in Northern Ireland, where Britain's exit from the European Union has unsettled an uneasy political balance
7:26AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Biden seems ready to extend US troop presence in Afghanistan
President Joe Biden appears ready to let lapse a May 1 deadline for completing a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan
7:26AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Tiger Woods was driving more than 80 mph when he crashed SUV
Tiger Woods was going more than 80 mph — nearly twice the posted speed limit — on a downhill stretch of road when he lost control of an SUV outside Los Angeles
6:00PM ( 13 hours ago )
Bill Owens, uncle and musical mentor to Dolly Parton, dies
Country songwriter Bill Owens, who was a mentor and early songwriting partner to his niece Dolly Parton, has died
5:15PM ( 14 hours ago )
Woods was driving almost 90 mph when he crashed SUV near LA
Tiger Woods was going nearly 90 mph — twice the posted speed limit — on a downhill stretch of road when he lost control of an SUV outside Los Angeles
5:03PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
'Chernobyl' and 'Harry Potter' actor Paul Ritter dies at 54
Versatile British actor Paul Ritter, whose roles ranged from a hapless suburban patriarch in sitcom “Friday Night Dinner” to a Soviet engineer who helps cause a nuclear disaster in “Chernobyl,”  has died at 54
1:13PM ( 1 day ago )
New this Week: 'Kung Fu,' 'Rebel' and 'Thunder Force'
This week’s new entertainment releases include screen options with women taking charge
1:16PM ( 2 days ago )
'Trial of the Chicago 7' takes top honors at SAG Awards
The starry cast of Aaron Sorkin’s 1960s courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” took the top prize Sunday at a virtual, pre-taped Screen Actors Guild Awards that saw Netflix snag Hollywood actors’ highest honor for the first time
10:35PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Online Movies News
N Ireland leaders call for calm after night of violence
Young people set a hijacked bus on fire and hurled gasoline bombs at police in Belfast in at least the fourth night of serious violence in a week in Northern Ireland, where Britain's exit from the European Union has unsettled an uneasy political balance
7:26AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Biden seems ready to extend US troop presence in Afghanistan
President Joe Biden appears ready to let lapse a May 1 deadline for completing a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan
7:26AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Turkey rejects claim it snubbed von der Leyen, blames EU
Turkey is rejecting accusations that it snubbed Ursula von der Leyen — one of the European Union’s most powerful executives — during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because of her gender
7:23AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Holocaust survivors use social media to fight anti-Semitism
Holocaust survivors are taking to social media to share their experiences of how hate speech paved the way for mass murder
7:22AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Man faces charge after Chicago road rage shooting wounds boy
Police say a man has been charged with unlawful use of a firearm by a felon in connection with a shooting that wounded a 21-month-old boy who was riding in a car with him on Chicago’s famed Lake Shore Drive
7:21AM ( 20 minutes ago )