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INTERVIEW: Kevin ‘The Zombie Diaries’ Gates


By Vera Brozoni

RR: What do you think of this year's Film4 Frightfest and what would you recommend for a zombie movie aficionado?

KEV: I'm personally looking forward to Pascal Laugier’s 'Martyrs' and Ryuhei Kitamura's 'Midnight Meat Train'. Also the insane 'Tokyo Gore Police' and 'Bad Biology', will appeal to the gorehounds among us! The diversity of the horror films shown at Frightfest each year is excellent and 2008 looks to be another great festival.

RR: Your film was selected by many film festivals. Which one was the most enjoyable? Where and when did you feel the audience was really getting it?

KEV: Frightfest 2007 was an incredible experience. We had a West End premiere of The Zombie Diaries to a sell-out crowd and the film was released the same day on DVD. And there was the zombie walk to promote it - which attracted an enormous crowd, several news channels and caused chaos in Leicester Square!

I'd also like to give a mention to the Spanish audience at the Sitges festival. The crowd certainly loved their zombies! They were screaming in a very 'vocal' appreciation of the horror scenes, it was a party atmosphere. On the more unsettling scenes in The Zombie Diaries however, they were silenced and I knew they had been affected.

RR: What did you learn from your experience of shooting The Zombie Diaries? What are the mistakes, if any, you want to avoid?

KEV: Each film you make is a progression. With The Zombie Diaries, certain scenes ended up on the cutting room floor as they were trying to say too much, rather than just being in the reality of the moment - which is what the film is about. So we learnt a lot about what works and what doesn't within this pseudo-documentary style. I think this worked well in Cloverfield, the characters are just thrown into the situation without an explanation.

Generally, film-makers dwell on the things they wish they could change, rather than celebrate the parts that work. But in the end you're similar to a chef who spends a long time cooking up this huge meal and by the time it's ready, it’s for others to taste.

RR: What was the critic response to your film?

KEV: Whilst The Zombie Diaries has attracted very good reviews, given the low budget origins and Blair Witch approach, it isn't for everyone. I loved Blair Witch, but others think its the worst film ever. One thing I have certainly learnt is if you are planning on shooting a film on a very low budget, use the low budget to your advantage and try to create something that hasn't been done before.

RR: Have you ever thought of shooting The Zombie Diaries 2? Such a display of talents must be very inspirational.

KEV: The movies at Frightfest are very inspirational, especially the lesser known indie horror films. A lot of the inspiration is from the horror fans themselves, they make it all worthwhile. At Frightfest many buy weekend passes and go to see every single film! That dedication to the horror genre is incredible.

As for The Zombie Diaries 2, I am writing a script for a possible sequel. A much more full-on movie that never relents in its atmosphere, tension and horror. There has been plenty of interest so far, so its an option we are carefully considering. We have been so tied up with work on The Zombie Diaries until recently, but we are now ready to sink our teeth into something new!

The Film4 Frightfest ran from August 21 to 25 at the Odeon West End.