MIDLAND, MI – The community of Sanford has been busy picking up the pieces after dealing with historic flooding in 2020. Now Sanford residents could see “zombies” this year as two actors-turned-filmmakers plan to use the dramatic, flood-damaged landscapes around town as the backdrop for their upcoming zombie virus film.
“Sadly, the flooding that happened last year provided a sort of perfect backdrop for something that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world,” said producer Chris Krause.
Krause and his girlfriend Megan Meyer are preparing to produce an independent zombie film in Sanford called “Followers”. Filming for “Followers” is scheduled to begin in August of this year.
Krause was born and raised in Sanford who went to New York City to work as a professional actor for about six years before being brought back to his hometown thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that he’s back home, Krause is determined to go ahead and direct his film while also aiming to raise awareness of what happened in the Sanford area during the 2020 floods.
“I thought, ‘Hey, it would be cool if I could make a movie that also has the added benefit of drawing attention to what’s happened to our city,’ to show people what happened here. because it was really devastating, ”he said. .
“This town still needs help, it didn’t look like this because we had $ 20 million to dress us up, it was like this… if I can help it’s an added bonus,” Krause added. . “I’m an actor, I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m not a millionaire or whatever, I just can’t donate money to rebuild things, so if that’s my own way of doing it , that would be great.”
The movie isn’t your typical zombie apocalypse movie. In addition to raising awareness of the Sanford flooding, Krause explained that his film sets out to comment and address systematic race and interpersonal relations. He said that only white people can get infected with the zombie virus in the film world. Thus, to ensure their safety, groups of other whites follow the infected hordes. But this security comes at a price.
“It creates a culture of followers who follow hordes of infected people because it offers a level of protection,” he said. “But the trade-off is that you take a step back and don’t do anything when it attacks other people.”
Krause explained that this touches on a concept he calls “the followers,” which is referenced in the name of the film. Krause defined a follower as someone who is willing to take a step back and let others get hurt if they think that by doing nothing they will stay safe.
“It’s something that really spoke to me over the last couple of years besides making a scary, fun horror movie, which is always fun,” Krause said. “My favorite horrors are the ones that really examine the deepest issues.”
Inspired by horror films such as “Blaire Witch Project” and the series “Paranormal Activity”, Krause and Meyer launched a Tik Tok channel called “Follow Pete and Ash” to promote their film by drawing audiences in through clips. apparently real video. . The couple launched the channel under the names of their respective characters in the film and began to tell the stories of the characters as if it was actually happening to them. Krause and Meyer explained that they started to act like a couple hearing a strange noise in the woods, and their subsequent videos started to get more and more intense. Krause and Meyer quickly had a horde of Tik Tok followers who wondered if their paranormal clips were really real.
Once they got to the point where they had a large viral following and fans arguing in the comments whether the videos were real or not, it was time to let the cat out of the bag.
“We eventually released that this was a movie with some sort of trailer and we got both negative and positive reviews, but mostly positive to be honest,” Meyer said.
Meyer said the Tik Tok channel had amassed more than 200,000 subscribers in just two weeks. The Tik Tok channel is available at: https://www.tiktok.com/@followpeteandash?lang=en
“We were just able to engage people at a level we never thought of, which is really cool,” Krause said.
An actress by training, Meyer had to branch out to learn the ins and outs of social media marketing as she worked to promote the film through means such as Tik Tok while also working on additional tasks such as marketing. sound design.
“I’ve done a lot of things that I would never do for myself on social media, like interacting with comments, trying to follow people,” she said. “So it was a lot to find the tips to develop a fan base on social media.”
Once the film is shot, edited and ready to watch, Krause said his plan ideally was to sell the film directly to a distributor, but that he also planned to show it at film festivals, both locally and Across the country.
“We are also planning to do the old school model that submits to film festivals, especially the big ones,” he said.
In the meantime, Krause and Meyer are raising funds for the production of the film on GoFundMe with an ultimate goal of $ 30,000. As of Tuesday, June 29, more than $ 4,000 had been raised for the film. Click here to view the GoFundMe page.
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