Two best friends from Rhode Island are living their dream of making an epic zombie movie and becoming celebrities. Their movie, “Spring Break Zombie Massacre,” is getting a lot of media attention, and they’ve been invited to several film festivals in North America.
Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt, both 20, have Down syndrome. Suchmann, of Providence, and Zufelt, of Bristol, grew close after they met while swimming in the Special Olympics during elementary school. They started working on the movie about five years ago. A Kickstarter campaign for the movie raised about $70,000 in late 2014.
Suchmann’s older brother, Jesse, asked his high school friend, filmmaker Bobby Carnevale, for help. Carnevale directed the movie. He, along with editor Tim Forster and producer Suzy Beck, convinced others in the industry to volunteer their time and equipment. They filmed the 45-minute movie in Rhode Island over two weeks in August.
The two friends play brothers in the movie, two cool guys with bionic powers capable of saving humanity forever. The devil chases them through high school, college and spring break, trying to steal their powers and turning bullies into zombies and demons to help him in his quest. Suchmann and Zufelt’s friends acted in the movie and worked on it. Some have Down syndrome and others are on the autism spectrum.
The friends are already planning for a sequel and they’ve been filming a documentary about how the movie was made. Their families are working to start a nonprofit to help people with disabilities fulfill their creative dreams by connecting them with professionals in the industry. Its name will be “Rock On. Go Wild,” the friends’ catchphrase.