We Assure You RI Comic Con is Open: “Clerks” Reunion & Beer

RI Comic Con is back after the 2020 hiatus and it’s going to be bigger than ever. Starting Friday, November 5th through Sunday the 7th, the Rhode Island Convention Center will be overflowing with artists, vendors and celebrity guests, including a nearly complete reunion of the cast of Clerks. Clerks was the first movie by director (and Comic Con headliner) Kevin Smith. The black and white film indie was a true labor of love for Smith and didn’t come to be without any sacrifice. In efforts to scrounge together a bare-bones budget, the future comic book store owner ironically sold his extensive comic book collection, maxed out his credit cards and depleted his college fund. The film — depicting the mundane yet magical everyday life of two convenience store clerks — became an icon for the everyman, and a beacon of hope for DIY filmmakers and artists everywhere. 

Local breweries are no stranger to the hard-working do-it yourself-spirit, so it’s fitting that Proclamation Ale of Warwick, RI is partnering with Altered Reality Entertainment and RI Comic Con for a third time to create a Clerks themed beer for the event. The beer is the successor to 2019’s “Take a Vacation to Rhode Island ComicCon,” an IPA featuring the Griswold family station wagon from National Lampoon’s Vacation, honoring that year’s headliner Chevy Chase. 

“Beer? Do people still even drink that? At Quick Stop we had a strict weed-only policy!” says Bryan Johnson – Kevin’s real-life friend of whom the film was based off of. 

The Clerks Beer will be a 7.2% Abv Double IPA conceptualized by Proclamation owner Lori Witham, offered throughout the con for Clerks and comic book fans alike. 

Beer won’t be the only concession collaboration from Smith this year, as he also presents “Mooby’s Pop-up” – the fictional fast food chain from Clerks II

Kevin and his team kicked offPin his hometown of Red Bank, NJ in September of 2020. Since it’s debut the fake food chain appeared in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis and Boston. Now Rhode Islanders will have a chance to get their hands on a Mooby’s signature Cow Tipper with a side of Hater Totz 

Be sure to check out the  rare panel, featuring the film’s main cast. Actors Brian O’Halloran (Dante Hicks), Jeff Anderson (Randal Graves), and Marilyn Ghigliotti (Veronica) will be joined by director and Silent Bob himself Kevin Smith and his counterpart Jason “Jay” Mewes. Other View Askew guests include Trevor Fehrman and Kevin Weisman of Clerks II, and Scott Schiaffo of Clerks

All guests will be available for photos and autographs as listed on the RI Comic Con website. The 2021 con-beer will be offered throughout the Rhode Island Convention Center and at select vendors through Craft Collective, so fans should take advantage of the opportunity to crack a cold one with their favorite Clerks cast member. Have one, have 37, we don’t judge! 

The SENE Scene:Post Covid Camaraderie

Filmmakers from other states and other countries converged on Rhode Island once again for the annual SENE celebration of film, music and art. On a somewhat restricted scale due to the planning uncertainties, this festival took place October 13 – 16, 2021 at the Artists’ Exchange, where screens at 50 and 82 Rolfe Sq. allowed simultaneous screenings.

Still SENE

The spirit of collaboration and love of film was in evidence throughout the festival, with filmmakers and enthusiasts comparing notes between screenings. There were several examples of films created by collaborators who had met at previous SENE events and gone on to work together, and the social atmosphere created by festival founders Phil Capobres and Don Farias made it easy for strangers to talk to each — seeing each other’s films made for instant ice-breakers.

The SENE festival focuses on thematic collections of short films, including animated, sci-fi, horror, comedy, international and drama. It also saw the RI premier of the award-winning horror feature Seeds by long-standing local filmmaker Skip Shea. Among the shorts, one could catch everything from creepy undead teen girls to URI-based alien predators, from the Weinsteinian straight white guys who solve sexism for all of us to haunting raven-girls who solve bullying.

This year’s award winning films are posted here: senefest.com/awards.html

SENE is an annual event, with a few films being rescreened as part of Motif’s ongoing monthly film series and at other events through the year in RI and other parts of the country.

Women Trailblazers in Music: Film to Premiere at RIC

Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky — when thinking of great composers, there is no shortage of household names. It is unlikely, however, that many, if any that come to mind are female. Dr. Judith Lynn Stillman is remedying that imbalance. 

Stillman is a professor of music and RIC’s artist-in-residence and has been producing prolifically through the pandemic. The film of her quarantine opera, “Essential Business” which she composed towards the beginning of COVID-19, won first prize in the international OperaVision #OperaHarmony competition, and featured Metropolitan Opera star baritone Will Liverman. The film was also presented earlier this year at RIC. 

Most recently, Stillman was inspired to create a film about talented and inventive yet often forgotten female composers of the past.

“My talented mother and grandmother’s musical careers never took off in the male-dominated societies,” she said. “This propelled me to champion women composers who were repressed, undervalued, discouraged, and forgotten due to the politics of their existence.”

Women Trailblazers in Music: Noteworthy Composers, which premiers November 4 at Rhode Island College, depicts the extraordinary lives of these female composers across a span of twelve centuries and features their revolutionary compositions. Stillman cites her inspiration to create the film as part of her ongoing dedication to giving voices to the voiceless. The incredible ways these women changed music should have earned them recognition and acclaim, but instead, their music has been routinely forgotten when it should be lauded. Previously, she has also created projects addressing the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, refugees, artists of color, and the climate crisis. 

The film begins in Constantinople with the 9th century Byzantine composer Kassia. “She became an abbess, and that ensured the longevity of her music for twelve centuries,” Stillman said. “Hers was a calculated career choice. Many of her hymns are used in the Orthodox Church liturgy to this day.” 

She added, “Women composers had to be quite clever. For example, several of the featured composers [in the film] married music publishers to secure the survival of their music. Some adopted male pseudonyms. It took a lot of ingenuity.” 

She also emphasized the importance of recognizing Florence Price, another composer featured,and the first Black woman to have her compositions performed by a major symphony orchestra.

 “In Western music history, women were permitted to be the interpreters, but not the creators,” Stillman said. “They were not encouraged to pursue music professionally. Gender inequality has been rampant throughout the industry.” 

The world is still not close to redressing this historic imbalance, but progress is slowly being made. “The climate for female composers is still problematic as the dominance of male composers remains strong, but the tide is shifting. Slowly,” Stillman explained. “Statistics confirm that only a handful of male composers comprise the majority of all programming. We need to encourage and empower women and women composers and make a concerted — pun intended — effort to redress the historic imbalance and harness momentum for change. Many [women] should have earned a crucial place in Western history and should be household names, but are merely in the process of being fully recognized and celebrated.”

While COVID-19 caused difficulties in made producing the film challenging, it also gave her opportunities to build connections resulted in opportunities for building connections for Stillman. “The pandemic created the necessity for a remote platform,” Stillman said, which afforded me the opportunity to work with artists from all over North America. Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Chicago, Vancouver, Hartford, in addition to Boston and Providence. ,” says Stillman. She adds, “I am filled with so much gratitude to all my amazing colleagues who joined forces with me to be a part of this groundbreaking film and help bring the project to fruition.”

The film will premiere for the public on November 4th at 7:30 PM in Sapinsley Hall. Presented by FirstWorks and Artists & Activists Productions, it will be followed by a live concert featuring the works of both historical composers featured in the film and contemporary women composers as well. Admission is free, but registering for tickets in advance is mandatory because of social distancing and contact tracing protocols. Unregistered guests will not be admitted. Tickets can be obtained through the box office at Rhode Island College, by emailing boxoffice@ric.edu or calling (401) 456-8144.

Out this September: Looking for some new entertainment? Look no further!

Motif contributor Katarina Dulude rounded up her top picks for entertainment this September, including a few local selections. 

September 2: If spooky season can’t come soon enough for you, check out What We Do in the Shadows, which will be returning for its third season on September 2. This horror comedy mockumentary was created by Jemaine Clement and produced by Taika Waititi, who is perhaps best known for directing Thor: Ragnarok and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. The show is based on the creators’ earlier film of the same name and tells the story of four vampire roommates and their familiar living in modern times in Staten Island. Its third season will be available on September 2 on FX and Hulu. It’s worth taking a bite out of this incredibly hilarious and absurdly fun show.

September 3: The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and Loki and follows Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist, who is drawn back into The Ten Rings, a shady organization, to confront the past he left behind. Director Daniel Cretton described the film as both funny and “a cross between a classic kung fu film and a family drama.” The film will receive a 45-day theatrical release.

September 9-17: Looking for a live performance? The Historical Fantasy of Esek Hopkins by Haus of Glitter will be presented outdoors through the Wilbury Theatre Group at the former home of Esek Hopkins. The activist dance opera is described by co-directors Anthony Andrade, Assitan Coulibaly, ​Steven Choummalaithong, Matt Garza and Trent Lee as “a story of mermaids, revolution and resilience [that] exposes how our BIPOC lineages intersect with Hopkins’ legacy of white supremacy.” Tickets are available here.

September 14: For those who enjoy a good romance, Farah Naz Rishi’s It All Comes Back to You will be released midway through September. The contemporary romance book centers around teens Kiran and Deen. Kiran doesn’t know what to make of her sister’s new quickly moving relationship. Deen is thrilled his brother has found a girlfriend so that the attention can shift off of him for a while. However, when Deen and Kiran come face to face, they agree to keep their past a secret. Four years prior they dated until Deen ghosted Kiran without an explanation. Now, Kiran is determined to find out why and Deen is equally determined to make sure she never finds out. 

September 17: Netflix’s hit British dramedy series Sex Education makes its return this September. For those who haven’t seen the series, it begins with Otis, the teenage son of a sex therapist, who discovers that despite his own inexperience, he is adept at giving sex advice to others. With his best friend and crush, he turns this into a business. The series explores the emotional (and sexual) likes of teens in a way that is funny, awkward and incredibly heartfelt. Much of the third series has been kept under wraps, but it’s clear that a new headmistress will be changing things up at the teens’ school, for better or worse.

September 21: Inspired by the story of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history, the book Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao will be released this month. Described as Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale, the sci-fi reimaging follows Wu Zetian, who seeks vengeance for her sister’s death at the hands of an intensely patriarchal military system that pairs boys and girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots used to battle mecha aliens. While boys are revered, girls must serve as their concubines and often die from the mental strain. When Zetian gets her vengeance on the boy responsible for her sister’s death and emerges unscathed, it is discovered that she is an Iron Widow, a special type of female pilot, much-feared and much-silenced. She is paired with the strongest and most controversial male pilot in an attempt to tame her, but after getting a taste for power, Zetian will not give it up.

September 30-October 24: Opening their 37th season, A Lie Agreed Upon will be premiering at The Gamm Theatre on the last day of September. This play, written and directed by Tony Estrella, modernizes Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. “Inconvenient truths fight alternative facts, minority rights battle majority rule, and individual conscience clashes with economic interest in this powerful reinvention of Ibsen’s masterpiece.” More information is available here.

SENE on Screen: The beloved film festival returns for its 13th year

For more than a decade, the annual SENE (rhymes with scene) Film Festival has celebrated film, art and music, and this year’s festival, which takes place October 13 – 16, will screen 130 films from around the world.

SENE was created by producing director Don Farias and artistic director Phil Capobres, who work to create a welcoming atmosphere for festival entrants and attendees. And their efforts paid off — for four years in a row, SENE was named one of the Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee by MovieMaker Magazine, one of the most respected voices in the film industry, and was rated one of the best reviewed festivals by FilmFreeway.

The festival made its COVID comeback over the summer. “We were thrilled that we were able to host fun events for visiting filmmakers in June,” said Farias. “It’s the first time in over a year that the world felt almost normal. I was impressed with the attendance, especially since I was not sure if people were actually ready to leave their homes. It was nice to see the filmmakers meeting new friends at our networking events. Everyone was ready to collaborate and begin creating films again. We expect October to be bigger with more filmmakers attending.”

SENE has been a powerful force in building community within the local film world, and while the festival receives films from all around the world, it makes a point to highlight all things local.

The festival will kick off on Wednesday, October 13, with a special screening of local filmmaker Christian De Rezendes’ SLATERSVILLE, a much-anticipated episodic documentary on the 200-year history of the first industrialized mill village in the U.S., located in the heart of the Blackstone Valley. The screening will take place at the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket.

If you need more local film, a block of New England-made shorts and music videos will play on Thursday, October 14, and many of the filmmakers will be in attendance. “I enjoy meeting the filmmakers and hearing their stories,” said Farias. “Everyone learns something new when the filmmakers share their experiences during the casual, fun Q&A sessions after each program.”

The festival will primarily take place at the Artists’ Exchange in Cranston, with screenings going on simultaneously in both the Black Box theatre (50 Rolfe square) and Theatre 82 (82 Rolfe Square). Detailed film and schedule details are available at senefest.com.

On the Big Screen: SENE Film Fest premieres LGBT shorts

SENE Film Fest, or Southeast New England Film Fest, one of the longest-running film, music and arts festivals in the country, premiered a series of LGBT short films at Theatre 82 in Cranston. 

The 10 films selected for the festival were: Reshaping Beauty: Round In All The Right Places (dir. Tom Goss), Summer Vacation (dir. Matthew Brennan), Night and Day (dir. Peter Anthony), Plunge (dir. David James Holloway, Samuel Lawrence), Sunset Park, warehouse (dir. Dazhi Huang), Friends Like That (dir. Francesca de Fusco), Ticking Boxes (dir. Robert Metson), Doesn’t Fall Far (dir.  Joshua Michael Payne), Kama’āina (Child of the Land) (dir. Kimi Howl Lee), and TarGay (dir. Rachel Garlin). The shorts ranged from three minutes long to 15. More information about each film can be read here

While I thoroughly enjoyed all the films, my favorite had to be Doesn’t Fall Far, directed by Joshua Michael Payne. Doesn’t Fall Far tells the story of a father and son who both are hiding secrets about themselves. One night, these secrets come disastrously, and hilariously, to a head, and the two men must figure out how to move forward after learning more about each other than they ever wanted to know. 

Two of the directors were also in attendance: Dahzi Huang and Rachel Garlin. Huang, a recent graduate of California Institute of the Arts, created Sunset Park, warehouse. The film depicts a short-term romance between two immigrants in New York City while juxtaposing how prosperity is portrayed on social media versus the reality that many are excluded from prosperity in late-stage capitalism. Huang also spoke about his next project: a love story between two exes that includes an airport chase scene. 

Garlin, a folk songwriter based in San Francisco, created TarGay, a lighthearted critique of rainbow capitalism through song. She spoke about her impromptu creation of the film. She decided to make it while she was walking through a Target in San Francisco. She noticed just how much rainbow apparel they had already stocked in May for Pride Month and recruited fellow shoppers to participate in the film’s creation. Garlin is currently on tour for her most recent album and will be performing in several cities across the Northeast through August. 

Something I appreciated from this festival was though all the films centered around queerness, each was distinct and unique in its portrayals of queer experiences. The varied depictions of queerness in the films help to do away with the idea that LGBTQ experiences are monolithic, a lesson many creators in Hollywood and many people not a part of the LGBTQ community more broadly have not yet learned. 

Hitting New Heights: One of the most innovative and exhilarating movie musicals since Chicago

This week in Variety, the headline spoke of the “disappointing” box office take of the film In the Heights. The movie adaptation of the smash Broadway musical brought in $11 million, and while it was also available to stream for free on HBO Max, films with similar release patterns like Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat still managed to pull in more profit, leading to theorizing in the magazine that perhaps either the lack of celebrities in In the Heights or the fact that it’s not as well-known an IP as some other recent releases may have worked against it.

So let’s talk about all that.

First of all, nobody can create an online echo chamber like a theater person can. I remember the day after Smash debuted, when every theater friend I had was convinced it was the biggest television premiere of all time, because everyone they knew was obsessed with it. The ratings told a different story, and all that meant was that what you see on your newsfeed is a carefully curated reality that you and people like you live in. It is not a surprise to me that despite everyone I know raving about a musical that is not nearly as well-known as Wicked or Hamilton, people in Des Moines were not flocking in droves to see it.

Secondly, who the #$%& cares?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not naive when it comes to what matters in Hollywood — even in the early days of the post-Panda Express. Money counted before, and it counts now, but I am fairly certain there is a decent-sized section of the population who has no interest in the 43rd reboot of Lizard vs. Monkey, but was chomping at the bit to watch In the Heights on HBO Max, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if those people were in a more desirable financial demographic than the people who wanted to watch live-action Tom & Jerry.

See? I can speak capitalism with the best of them.

I also don’t expect that Warner Bros. was anticipating that this movie would break box office records. Movie musicals, even the best ones, rarely rake in the dough, and usually, if you sign off on producing them, it’s because you expect the sort of long-term return that a film like The Greatest Showman brought in, and the kind of critical acclaim and awards consideration that is going to be sorely needed if come Oscar time the only thing you’ve produced up to that point is the weakest entry in The Conjuring series.

One pivot I would love to see in the after-times is telling the story of a film by valuing its artistic achievements alongside its monetary accomplishments since the first can sometimes produce the second. For example, it seems to be agreed-upon that Anthony Ramos is going to become a superstar now that this film has landed. It might be one of the best cinematic debuts I’ve ever seen, and that will surely translate into a long and lucrative career for both him and anyone smart enough to hire him in the future.

Any time a movie makes an effort to highlight and celebrate an underrepresented portion of the population, especially in a genre that’s failed to do them justice, it’s rare that it comes out of the gate swinging. Instead, we’ve seen movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Wiz develop cult status that has kept their relevance in the culture ignited for decades after their “disappointing” premieres. In case you were wondering, “cult classic” in Hollywood terms means “It didn’t make us money right away, but then all it did was make money and that’s not the business model we prefer, so we attach the word ‘cult’ to it to try and deter other films from not ponying up during their opening weekend.

If you think I’ve spent far too much time already speaking about box office, that’s only because there’s no point in me ladling any more accolades on a film that’s received plenty. There is not a single bad performance in the movie. Director Jon M. Chu and screenwriter Quiara Alegría Hudes have given us one of the most innovative and exhilarating movie musicals since Chicago. It is a film about community at a time when we desperately need movies that champion learning to lift each other up and not perpetuate the “one man and one man only is coming to rescue us” narrative that is so often present in the stories we tell. Anthony Ramos should be heavily considered for an Oscar for Best Leading Actor, and, if he won, it would be the first win for a Puerto Rican actor since Jose Ferrer won for Cyrano de Bergerac in 1950.

Daphne Rubin-Vega should be considered for Best Supporting Actress. Jimmy Smits for Best Supporting Actor alongside Corey Hawkins, who also turned in one of the most charming performances I’ve ever seen. The film is drenched in charisma — something that has been noticeably lacking in films even before the world was brought to a halt. That comes from telling a story about people who experience conflict through love — not fear and tension. And if there’s ever been a better musical number put on film than “96,000” I’m having a hard time coming up with what it might be. The fact that the film only had a matter of days to accomplish it is confounding.

But as I write this, I keep coming back to Olga Merediz’s performance. After originating the role onstage, she now turns in a performance in the film that should garner her every award we have and some we haven’t created yet. It’s her number– “Paciencia y Fe” — that will be seared into my memory for years to come. What a marvelous gift to audiences to be able to witness that kind of artistry in a major motion picture — regardless of whether they’re seeing it in a theater or from their homes.

In theater, we often talk about the impact we can have beyond the normal confines of our regular audiences. Every year when the Tony’s are on, you’ll hear people saying that some kid in the Midwest might be watching and a new interest in theater might spark simply by catching that telecast. The cynic in me always politely dismisses that in my mind. It’s nothing against the Tony’s, but to me, it sets the bar too low. A five-minute musical number in between doling out trophies might be enough to inspire a blossoming theater aficionado, but what about those who can benefit from the artform even if they never participate in it or have no access to it?

That’s why I think In the Heights might just be that kind of transformative theater event that we all hope for when our chosen passion is given this kind of national exposure. Not just because it’s excellent, but because it’s cool. Because you can sell as many tickets as you want, but if you’re not cool, you’re not long for the cultural world. That’s why I can’t quote you one line from Avatar but if you give me two hours, I can perform all of The Devil Wears Prada complete with costume changes and a fairly decent Meryl Streep impersonation.

In the Heights is profoundly cool.

And I would not be surprised if we were still talking about it for years to come.

In fact, I would bet good money on it.

Kevin’s Culture Picks: What kept our culture expert busy in May?

© 2021 Disney

Every week, I’ve been doing a deep dive into cultural issues, usually theater-related, that are bothering me or that deserve a second look. But who needs another thinkpiece, right?

I host two weekly programs on my theater company’s Faceboook page (Facebook.com/EpicTheatreCo) where I ask guests what has been keeping them creatively engaged or excited, and I thought I could put together some of the movies, television shows, books and music we discuss. I’ll do this at the beginning of every month (until we’re out of … this), and hopefully it’ll keep you busy as we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, here’s what I enjoyed in the month of May:


The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Streaming on Netflix)
Shiva Baby (On Demand)
Together, Together (On Demand)
WeWork (Streaming on Hulu)
Cruella (Streaming on Disney+ and in Theaters)


“The Real World Homecoming: New York” (Streaming on Paramount+)
“Last Chance U: Basketball” (Streaming on Netflix)
“Girls5Eva” (Streaming on Peacock)
“Mare of Easttown” (Streaming on HBO Max)


The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Olympus, Texas, by Stacey Swann
Yes, Daddy, by Jonathan Parks-Ramage


Rosegold, Ashley Monroe
Outside Child, Allison Russell
Sour, Olivia Rodrigo
The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania, Damien Jurado
The Marfa Tapes, Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall

Kevin’s Culture Picks: What did our expert watch in April?

Every week, I’ve been doing a deep dive into cultural issues, usually theater-related, that are bothering me or that deserve a second look. But who needs another thinkpiece, right?

I host two weekly programs on my theater company’s Faceboook page (Facebook.com/EpicTheatreCo) where I ask guests what has been keeping them creatively engaged or excited, and I thought I could put together some of the movies, television shows, books and music we discuss.

I’ll do this at the beginning of every month (until we’re out of … this), and hopefully it’ll keep you busy as we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, here’s what I enjoyed in the month of April:



French Exit

The Last Blockbuster (Streaming on Netflix)

Bad Trip (Streaming on Netflix)

Come True

The Father

Tina (Streaming on HBO Max)


All Creatures Great and Small

Drag Race

Sasquatch (Streaming on Hulu)


Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner

Peaces, by Helen Oyeyemi

100 Boyfriends, by Brontez Purnell


Today We’re the Greatest, Middle Kids

OK, Orchestra, AJR

Our Country, Miko Marks & The ResurrectorsMusic, Benny Sings

Six Cover Songs, Wild Pink

Californian Soil, London Grammar

Flu Game, AJ Tracy

Best Streaming Theater of the Month

The Belle of Amherst — Granite Theatre in Westerly chose a perfect show for the digital form in William Luce’s The Belle of Amherst. The one-woman show all about the enigmatic Emily Dickinson was smartly directed by Paula Glen and featured a must-see performance from Steph Rodger. I didn’t review it for this magazine because I’m friendly with all involved, but since this is a space where I can laud my favorites unapologetically, I’ll take this opportunity to say that my very talented friends knocked it out of the park.

Sam and Mattie Make a Zombie Movie: The documentary behind Spring Break Zombie Massacre to be released April 6

Photo credit: Small Frye Photography

“On a mission to save spring break, two badass bionic bros must fight and (more importantly) party their way through the zombie apocalypse. And hopefully defeat Satan, who killed both of their moms.”         

That is the IMBd description for the film Spring Break Zombie Massacre. The film is the brainchild of two friends from Rhode Island, Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt. The pair met 12 years ago at a Special Olympics event and became fast friends. They both were on the Wampanoag Warriors Team (shout out WWT!). Within seconds of talking to them, anyone can easily see the connection they share.

Inspired by their love of the film medium, they wanted to make a movie. “We storyboarded the whole thing and had it ready to go,” Sam says. They shared their idea with Sam’s brother, Jesse Suchmann, in Thanksgiving 2013, and Jesse became one producer on the film. Jesse saw something special in the storyboards and consulted one of his old friends in the film business. 

That friend was Bobby Carnevale, who ended up directing the film. Bobby and Jesse helped Sam and Mattie write the script and refine it.

They put their movie on Kickstarter in 2014 and raised $68,936 to shoot the movie and an accompanying documentary about the making of the film. Filming the movie in 2015 took 13 long days and endless energy and creativity. Spring Break Zombie Massacre is the result, and it helped along with friends and celebrities, but the final creative choices always came back to Mattie and Sam. The result is a creative and funny gore fest bursting with unbridled joy. 

Because they were working with a “student film” budget, Jesse said, “We called in literally every favor we had,” to shoot the film. It became a journey, an adventure. They met a lot of people along the way who threw them support and love. 

“One of the best things about this project is that it brought so many wonderful and creative people together, way more than we possibly could have imagined,“ says Bobby. Sam and Mattie, when asked about their supporters, went on to list a bunch, including Mattie’s favorite DJ Pauly D (the two have a friendship now). 

Another supporter was the Oscar winning filmmaker Peter Farrelly, also from Rhode Island. Farrelly even executive produced the documentary about the making of the film. 

That documentary, Sam and Mattie Make a Zombie Movie is available this week to purchase on Apple TV app, iTunes and more. It is the punctuation on one heck of a journey for these two young men.

As for what is next for the two? Mattie shared, “In the works, we’re making a sequel.”

“We’re making a sequel!” Sam echoed.

Mattie then said, “We have two ideas.”

The group also has started Rock On Go Wild Inc., a nonprofit to help aspiring filmmakers make more projects like this one. 

The chemistry and collaboration that comes out of this group proves that we will see many more projects from this creative duo and their filmmaking team. Near the end of our interview, they all showed me their “Rock On Go Wild” tattoos that they got during filming. That seems fitting.

Rock on, go wild Sam, Mattie, Jesse, Bobby and the crew and family you have created together.

Stream Sam and Mattie Make a Zombie Movie on Apple TV. For more information, go to samandmattie.com