Zombie films have slowly stumbled into focus at film festivals since George A. Romero made the first ‘modern’ zombie film, “Night of the Living Dead.” Once just late night programing, films with zombies (like “Life After Beth” at Sundance) have become more and more part of mainstream programming. Now the Portland Film Festival have taken it one decomposing step further, letting the zombies take over their entire festival for a day.

On Labor Day, the final day of the September 1-7th festival, PFF Executive Director Josh Leake and George C. Romero, son of the iconic horror director, will attempt to set a new Guinness Book of World Records for ‘most extras in a short film.’ Randall Jahnson (The Doors, The Mask of Zorro) wrote the screenplay for ZOMBIE DAY APOCALYPSE, Romero will direct and Leake, a producer who has had films at Slamdance and Tropfest, will produce, apparently around his schedule of running that week’s festival. Award-winner Conor McCullough (The Hunger Games) and Jason Collins (The Maze Runner, Firefly) will oversee makeup effects. Additional collaborators include the Pander Brothers (Dark Horse Comics), who are creating graphics and imagery (including this awesome graphic to the left).

An anticipated cast of thousands are expected for the all-day holiday event, which will also include a late night surprise zombie film graveyard screening. Says Portland Film Festival founder Leake, “Zombie Day Apocalypse perfectly captures the renegade spirit and vision of the Portland Film Festival, and we’re honored to be working with George Romero Jr., and a truly talented group of filmmakers to redefine cinematic history and set a new Guinness world record. I invite all zombie lovers, cinema fans and filmmakers from around the world to join us in creating an unforgettable zombie film experience this Labor Day.”

Everyone knows by now Portland is the Austin of the Northwest, so I am all in favor of this event and its crazy way to drum up publicity for a very young but very cool festival. The 2015 Portland Film Festival will announce the full festival lineup the first week of August, including all competition films, special events and guests, master classes, and more. Lineup and ticket info are available at www.portlandfilmfestival.com.

Bears Fonte covers indie film for AMFM Magazine and programs and consults for film festivals nationwide.  He is the Founder and Executive Director of Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival as well as the former Director of Programming for Austin Film Festival.  His short The Secret Keeper played at 40 festivals, his feature iCrime was released in 2011 by Vicious Circle.


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