Interview with Filmmaker Mark Oguschewitz (THE DEAD THAT LIVE)

THE DEAD THAT LIVE, 9min., USA, Drama/Horror
Directed by Mark Oguschewitz
A lonely zombie must fight for his life during the zombie apocalypse.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Writer/Producer Mario Mabe brought me the 7-page script and I immediately fell in love with the last page and a half.

This is where the script turned into something different – it showed some real humanizing elements still present within the zombie character. Unlike most zombie films, this script took the zombie’s perspective and challenged us to understand him. The zombie wasn’t just a mindless body walking around trying to kill people. I thought that was interesting and wanted to explore that idea more.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

It took about a year and a half to complete. But you must remember that we were in post-production during Covid times and the lockdown. Not being able to be in the same room with the music and sound person made that process take much longer than we hoped. The same thing was true with the CGI effects people. Ultimately, though, it was well worth it.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Though the film would probably get an R rating, during pre-production Mario and I would often refer to it as a “Family Film.” Those who have seen it will understand.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

On such a low budget, we were met with a lot of challenges which made the shoot difficult. It was a tough one-day shoot. We actually ran out of time and had to do some rewriting on set to make it work. Then working through the editing was difficult because, like a lot of films on a tight budget, we weren’t able to shoot everything that we wanted but still had to figure out how to make it come together. The audience must see a complete film that feels like it was made without any issues. As an experienced editor, I just did what I always do, I let the footage tell me what it wanted to be and I think it worked out. I am very proud of the finished product.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Happy. I was so stressed about whether people would get what we were going for and when the reviews came in it felt good to see that not only did they get it, they enjoyed it.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

1985 – After watching the film WITNESS for the first time. Up to that point, movies were just entertainment. Peter Weir’s film showed me how much more a movie could do. On the surface, the film is a cop drama, but underneath it is so much more…

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I don’t think I can answer this. I watch so many films, and sometimes just scenes, over and over to learn from them.

The filmmakers I watch most often though, are Peter Weir, David Cronenberg, Sidney Lumet and Alan Parker. I should also mention the work of Jim Henson. I don’t think anybody understood character development more than Henson.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I loved the feedback portion of your festival and wish others would incorporate that in theirs.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Very positive. Having everything needed to submit to so many festivals in one place makes everything soooo much easier for the filmmakers.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Strange question, but I think the Zombies in my film would agree when I say a nice slice of Prime Rib.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently working with a writer on a script for an independent feature film. The goal is to make it on a low budget utilizing locations that we already have access to, as well as the talented crew from THE DEAD THAT LIVE.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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