GEORGE BONILLA: THE LATE, GREAT “ZOMBIE PLANET” EARTH

Whoops, forgot to ask the boring stuff. How long have you been a filmmaker? How did you get into it and what do you love/hate about it?
I have been in the industry for over twenty years. I started out doing commercials for a local television station. I then began to write and produce my own spots. Eventually I began to dabble in independent features always working for someone else. I finally came to the point where I wanted to captain the ship. After several years trying to locate the right area and crew, I ended up here. I could go on for pages about the process, but I won’t bore you. I love everything about filmmaking. Even the most stressful days are looked back upon with gratitude and fun. I know a lot of your readers out there think making movies is all fun and games and to me it is! But it is also a tremendous amount of work. Many days I start at dawn and quit deep into the night but that is what you must do to get the job done. When you are getting a scene ready with a cast and crew of eighty people you have to think of everything. This is not Hollywood, you don’t have a person for every job. Sometimes you have a person doing five jobs! It is up to you to pull it together. I do love it though.

The thing I hate are those people who want to play moviemaker and who do not want to work to get it done. Avoid them, they will pull you down. You’ll know them and it may take awhile to recognize them, but when you do get away. You only want people who put the movie first. People who will do whatever it takes to get the movie done. Loyal to the core people. Surround yourself with the best! Remember though to not overlook the diamond in the rough. Sometimes that guy with no experience, but the intense desire to be in the movies, is the guy you want, instead of the guy with 10 years experience who could care less if the movie gets done as long as he’s paid on Friday.

Very true. How has “Zombie Planet” been received by the general populace?
Great! Just great! Sales have been very brisk and the future looks very good for the picture! Even the reviews have been mostly positive! I have always told our people to expect the worse in reviews because most reviewers pretty much look down on indie movies unless they are subtitled. If it does not have a big budget or a star in it (or subtitled) then it must be crap. Half the time they don’t even watch it! I read a review recently where the reviewer couldn’t even recall any of the characters names, what an idiot. Anyway, we have had some great reviews! Even some that have been only OK at least take the time to give an honest opinion. We have had eleven reviews that I have seen and nine have been good. We are very proud. Thank you to everyone who has seen “Zombie Planet” from the bottom of our hearts. And thanks to all of the critics who have taken the time to give us an honest review (good or bad). Not that one guy though, he is an idiot (you know who you are).

Did (distributor) J. R. Bookwalter kick you in the shins upon first watching the movie? That’s what he did when he saw mine. What was J. R.’s take on it, being a fellow zombie connoisseur?
He did mention that the movie ran a little long, but only after we viewed it several weeks after the initial showing. I had told him I intended on doing a director’s cut and he thought it could use some tightening. That’s about it. We have been very pleased with the great effort that Tempe Entertainment has put forth in promoting “Zombie Planet”. We have seen the movie listed in just about every major industry trade and the press has been great! I think they are a model on how to promote an independent feature. Every week we find that J. R. has found a new outlet to get “Zombie Planet” in front of the public gaze. We have every confidence in Tempe Entertainment and we hope to continue to do business with them for many decades to come! I really hope that other independents get the chance to work with a distributor like J. R. He is a filmmaker first and foremost, so he knows how hard you have worked on your feature and he will do what ever he can to get it out there.

I couldn’t agree more! And what are your plans for Adam and the gang in the future, a.k.a. “Zombie Planet II”?
I just walked away from the editing bay right before I began this interview! I really can not tell you a lot about “ZP II “except to tell you that every question you have about all of the characters will be answered. I think everyone will be more than surprised at all of the twists and turns the story takes. Adam is back and you must know that the world is not big enough for he and Kane. “ZP II” is done except for music which is being done as we speak by John Price and Sundown Studios. I wish we could have had Klevin Scott for part two but he was hired by another company.

But we wish him well. What can you tell us about “Dance With A Vampire” or (my personal new favorite title of all time) “The Edison Death Machine”?
I will begin editing “Dance With A Vampire” next week! I can promise you that you have never seen a story like it! One thing you will also see is just how far our production company has come. The production values are fantastic! The effects are just wonderful. We were lucky enough to get Linda Goforth to continue on as head of the effects team. Our effects team has become top notch! Tammy and Xyleina continue to handle the foam rubber appliances. Our foam rubber make-up appliances are as good as anything you have seen come out of Hollywood! We even managed to get Sven Granlund to help, but he went on to do his own projects, we wish Sven good luck.

“The Edison Death Machine” will begin production in January. Look for the launch of the website soon. It is a great story and will be the best thing we have done to date. Without giving too much away I can tell you that we will be bringing back, like, six historical figures in all of their zombie glory! Who would you bring back if you could bring back anyone from history? We have a contest! You can win a writing credit or other prizes!”

For more info, check out the “Zombie Planet” and “Dance With a Vampire websites.




Posted on January 19, 2005 in Interviews by

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