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'Rest' is a Zombie Film That's Not a Zombie Film, Connecting with an Audience is What Matters

03.23.12 @ 3:20PM Tags :

We are going to try to get more short films on this site, because that’s what many of you are making out there, and it’s important to watch them if that’s your end product. The short format can be very tricky, and most festival shorts can be a completely different animal than what many are used to. Courtesy of Short of the Week, we’ve got a zombie art-house film. Rest was created by Sunday / Paper, a collaboration between Cole Schreiber and David Parker. This is just one of many examples where the story and the emotional connection take precedence over the world that the story takes place in. It’s a slow burn, as many art-house films tend to be, but it’s a nice change of pace from most other zombie flicks you’ll see online or in a theater.

The film is beautifully shot, and the music is expertly composed, but you’ve got to give it a chance before turning off, since it runs about 12 minutes:

It comes as no surprise to me that Sunday / Paper was also behind this fantastic short that I had seen awhile ago:

Something that we as filmmakers need to always remember: if you can connect with the audience, nothing else really matters. Get people hooked and the sets and the costumes and the cinematography all become seamless, and it becomes an experience – transporting people to a different place for a short period of time. Pretty pictures will only do so much for you – they can get your foot in the door, but if there’s nothing behind the facade, then people aren’t going to have a lasting impression.

Link: Sunday / Paper

[via Short of the Week]

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  • McBlakewich on 03.23.12 @ 3:29PM

    I just watched this yesterday (big thanks to whoever posted the link). I thought this was a brilliant short about a rather simple concept yet offering amazing imagery. Job well done and thanks for posting!

  • Am I missing something? What is the Sunday-Paper film about? Seems like it’s just an experiment in cool imagery.

    • To clarify, I’m talking about the short one with the dripping lights.

      • If I remember correctly, it was some sort of P.S.A. piece about all the wasted electricity caused by the random lights that stay on when we aren’t using them…

  • Zombie film was great, the story was so simple, loved it

  • i’m trying to write an ‘emotional’ zombie short at the moment so this was a good bit of inspiration, i did have a tiny issue with it though…

    i know its an art film…but are we really to expect a zombie made it all the way from france to a graveyard in california without causing one person to turn their head and go “argh! a zombie!”

    did the guy on the boat just go “sure you can come along” and did he steal the shovel? or pay for it with zombie money?

    and then there’s the fact he could actually do things like get a boat over the atlantic ocean, buy a shovel, and use the shovel to dig a big hole

    but it is an art film and this just could be their ‘version’ of a zombie, but it does go against a lot of common accepted zombie norms…

    • It’s a zombie film, you’re watching a guy rise from the dead! So if accept that you should surely accept The rest of the plot, no?

        • not necessarily, we accept for the ten minutes that we are seeing a dead man walk, but that doesnt make it easy to believe that all these people in the city walk past a dead guy as if nothing…

    • Robo,
      I didn’t buy into it either – I think for me it actually broke the concept and the punchline

      It’s pretty – and I do get the point and the symbolism – but my mind was distracted by the reality that a zombie wasn’t traveling an interesting way – maybe near misses of some sort with the public would have been interesting – heck I would have bought into it even more if he would have just walked into the ocean and emerged later – but the being ignored outright and not creatively introducing the shovel etc – made this film pretty but in the end i was still trying to figure out how he got the boat ride and the shovel without issue…

      Actually after rereading this – I think Zombie in a penguin suit is a far better film…

  • I didn’t really feel this.
    I would have liked it had it been 4 minutes not 12.
    I also thought the punch line (yes I think it’s a punchline) could have been hashed out more.

    Who else thought this was very unnecessarily long?

  • Would be much more interesting if they more closely followed the structure of a basic story format of a character overcoming a series obstacles. A zombie walking into a city or a store grabbing a shovel without conflict is not likely.

    Doing shorts is great but people need to study what makes a great story first.

    • Agree. The process of getting to the wife’s grave had no fight, no effort, just seemed to flow along. It seems its only purpose was to show off beautiful shots. Although, I did find the ending to be its saving grace, I just wished that the wife didn’t have to move her hand at the end. Kind of the norm with peeps trying to create an unexpected element of surprise at the end but it’s too cliche and ruins the husband’s effort in getting there. Otherwise visually brilliant.

      • yes. When he got to cali I knew the end. If i was distracted with some mini stories along the way ( like ppls reaction to him or chasing him or just scared faces from time to time ) , then I would be more surprised with the punch line. I also hate shaky camera work.
        Nicely shot, colored, costumes and makeup :)

      • This lacked dramatic structure of any kind. The concept of a zombie with brains is fine but you need to set up a world of some kind to support the invention.

  • So… What’d they shoot on?

    • I couldn’t find that information anywhere. I would think DSLR of some short – but I thought it looked great regardless.

      • Based on the varied locations, costume and make-up, I would have to guess the zombie flick used a digital cinema camera like the red epic/scarlet or c300 for the big beautiful shots and a 5D for the POV/Uber Guerrilla scenes.

  • Obvious re-iteration, too long, and although the ending was beautiful, did not justify taking that much boring time not developing a story.

  • Lachlan Huddy on 03.24.12 @ 10:14PM

    I do agree it was overlong, but I think it’s missing the point to criticize its lack of overt conflict. Quiet, simple stories like this always go subtler. Here you’ve got a guy rising from the dead and literally sailing the seas to be with the one he loves. I mean, as far as obstacles go that’s not exactly peanuts. I felt like this was like a poem about how far people go for love, and having people react to him in horror would have distracted from that and, let’s be honest, driven it into Hammer Horror territory, a place to which it clearly doesn’t set out to go. So for what it aimed to be, I think it succeeds remarkably, despite the length.

    • I have to disagree that it would have detracted. How perceived monsters have a capacity to love, even though they are hated by society at large, is a longstanding trope of monster genre. From cinema version of Frankenstein, to Phantom of the Opera, to Beauty and the Beast etc. it can make his journey seem more difficult for the viewer, ergo the viewer is more likely to feel a sense of relief for the dead things sake when he accomplishes his goal. My 2¢.

  • John Jeffreys on 03.25.12 @ 12:35AM

    zombie, vampire, werewolf, and other supernatural subject films are so cliche. come on guys, get some originality

    • Everything is a remix as Kirby Ferguson would say (http://www.everythingisaremix.info/). If you’re going to do something, at least do it well, but if you can, try to do it differently than most have done before. I think they succeeded on both counts.

    • Daniel Mimura on 03.30.12 @ 8:03PM

      my first thought was that. “Yikes…another damned zombie movie…that’s as dead as another damned vampire teen movie”. (Pun.)

      …but it did something very original with it, and it was a nice payoff. I too thought it was a bit too long. Yes, on slow for mood…no, on nothing “happening” for that long. In that time, we could’ve seen him working harder on being unseen by people (cuz at the speed a zombie walks, across america…there would’ve been thousands of people who would’ve killed him if he weren’t crawling around off the main roads…etc…)

  • Also I dunno if I’d so much consider it arthouse, isn’t that term more set aside for non-linear abstract stuff. For someone who finds most films too long i really thought this piece was paced perfectly.

    • I would typically use it as a term to describe non-mainstream films – as do some critics. I just pulled it from Short of the Week’s description, but I agree with the assessment they gave it. There isn’t a single line of dialogue and it’s paced in a much more gradual way than most mainstream affairs. I’m sure the term has changed quite a bit over the years, as art-houses were exactly what you’re saying – experimental films mostly or stuff way out on the fringes of society. Art-house also can refer to independent films with uncomfortable content – Shame and Blue Valentine come to mind as perfect art-house films.

    • Steven King once said “Horror goes the long way to find moral.” I think this in a sense applies to this film. Not because it’s a horror film, which it really isn’t, but because it like a horror film goes one or two steps more than a more ‘properly’ paced film with that sort of simplistic story would do. Yet, where horror makes these extra steps to make us experience things we might not even want to experience (for the cathatic effect), this film makes the length of the journey sensible to us by doing so. So in a sense it is not ‘well’ paced, but one could argue whether this was intentional or not. It’s possible that it’s not, don’t get me wrong ;).
      Some of the shots are very beautiful, some didn’t look interesting at all. As a European being fed up by desaturated images employed by TV stations here as a standard feature (to indicate seriousness, I guess), I had some issues with the desaturation. Probably some shots looked just better this way so they did it for the whole thing, but I just don’t see anything special in desaturation anymore. Better choose your color palette more carefully instead of desaturating the hell out of it.

      • PS: What i forgot to say: If the slow pace was fully intentional, this could be regarded as an art film, as it avoids mainstream-ingredients on purpose. That was my actual point I was trying to make :).

  • McBlakewich on 03.25.12 @ 5:31AM

    Peter, I agree with you. Also…Joe, I think you’re doing an amazing job with NFS. I really enjoy that you stick with the discussion and comments (positive and negative). I’ve also really appreciated the content you’ve brought to the site. Quick question…any plans to work on Man-Child? And can we get an update on any progress from Koo on pre-production, writing, or difficulties on producing a feature script? Thanks.

    • Thanks, I appreciate it. E.M. and I are working hard to keep this site going and live up to the standards that Koo set for us!

      I’m not sure what the future might hold, but I do know that I’ll continue posting updates to this site on a daily basis. I’ll try not to speak for him, but Koo has just completed a major revision on Man-Child, so things are starting to move quickly.

      • Completely agree with McBlakewich! You’re doing an excellent job Joe ;)

        I find myself visiting the site more since you’ve been on the scene* as your focus on the content and emotional resonance in conjunction with the technical/business side is a breath of fresh air.

        Thanks and keep up the good work!

        * not taking anything away from Koo when I say that as he also has a strong focus with the entire ‘no film school’ angle, the actual founding concept of the site!! :P

        • I appreciate the support. We’re all working really hard to make this site better everyday!

  • I’m not one for plugging my own stuff usually, but I produced/edited a short film recently which I think is quite relevant to this story. Check it here, and I’ll say no more: http://youtu.be/FPGajeDRAM8

    In case anyone’s interested, we shot on Red Epic, and edited in FCPX.

    Regarding “Rest”, I’ve seen it before and agree that it is overlong. The opening plays out brilliantly, as does the close, but all in-between could have been compressed and still had the same impact I believe. Still, great work and an interesting angle to take on the sub-genre.

  • Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!

    What a fresh and unique take on the zombie genre. Simple concept done fantastically well.

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