“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.