What’s Eating Edina? New Zombie Movie, ‘Sound of Nothing,’ Features Footage Shot in Knox County Town
Watch out, zombies are everywhere! 'The Walking Dead' is the most popular show on television, 'World War Z' is a summer hit at the box office, in October there was a Zombie Run in Hannibal, then a Zombie Pub Crawl, and now a new zombie movie debuting this month features footage shot in Edina, Missouri!
There's quite a bit of the town that made it in (the final cut of the film), and one really spectacular crane shot of Edina!" - Chris Grega
'Sound of Nothing' will be debuting at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase on July 18. Filmmaker Chris Grega shot footage for the movie in Edina, using local extras, including several students from Truman State University.
Grega was kind enough to answer a few questions about his project.
Tell us about your film
It's a father-daughter story set in a post-apocalyptic world, with some American western overtones. With zombies, of course! Because everything nowadays has gotta have zombies in it! The main characters live on an isolated farm until a stranger shows up and forces change upon them. It's really a story about people living in a world that has basically returned to a 19th-century lifestyle - no electricity or running water, lots of manual labor as part of your everyday life. To be honest, it has more suspense and drama than blood and guts. The bloody elements are there certainly, but not at the forefront of the story."
Tell us about yourself
I've been making films for going on fourteen years now, and this is my fourth feature. I formed 88mm productions in September of 1999, a month after the death of a very close friend of mine, Tom Biondo. Tom worked with local filmmaker Eric Stanze (of Wicked Pixel Cinema) making horror films, and for years tried to get me involved with the film scene, but I always found an excuse not to do it. I had been playing around with camcorders since about 1992, making little goofy short films with Tom, but the thought of making an "actual" movie seemed like too much work to me. When Tom was killed in an accident in August of 1999, that served as the catalyst that catapulted me headlong into filmmaking. I haven't stopped since."
Have you always wanted to make a zombie movie?
Yes. I've been a fan of the genre since the early 80's, and since I started making films, it's been on the list films that I'd like to do."
Why are zombies so popular, right now?
I'm not sure, exactly. For me, the genre has always been one that I've liked. I find "they're taking us over one-by-one" type of films very unsettling, like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' and 'The Thing.' As far as the current popularity goes, I would imagine '28 days later,' 'Shaun of the Dead,' 'Zombieland' and finally 'The Walking Dead' have gone a long way to put zombies into the mainstream consciousness. I think what gives the zombie genre such appeal is that unlike most other supernatural horror, zombie horror feels like it's something that could actually happen. Not that the dead will rise, exactly, but more like some type of biological disaster could infect the population. Highly unlikely, of course, but I think that thought is sitting in the back of people's minds...and that makes it scary."
Shooting a movie like this must have particular challenges, between makeup, effects, genre. What did you learn while making 'Sound of Nothing?'
Well, this was actually my first foray into horror. My first feature, AMPHETAMINE, was a neo-noir gangster movie. My second feature, RHINELAND, was a WW2 film. My third, GAME OF THE YEAR, was a mock-u-mentary about role-playing games. Each one has presented it's own set of challenges, although the biggest across the board tends to be logistics and scheduling. From a purely artistic standpoint, what I learned the most after SOUND OF NOTHING was the art of cinematic storytelling. What I mean by that is letting the camera tell the story, rater than the dialogue. I've probably grown as a director more after this film than any of my previous work...but of course you can't really know that for certain until after you've finished the NEXT film!"
How did you end up shooting in Edina?
When we were location scouting for the film in 2010, I was looking for very specific things. I wanted a town that had a square or a strip of older businesses that were either closed down, or at least not modernized. Even if it wasn't abandoned, I didn't want it to look "fresh." One of the early contenders was Cairo, Illinois, but we ended up going with Edina because we had a local connection. Probably the biggest headache of the entire pre-production process was finding a proper farmhouse which was going to be one of our main locations. Missouri and Illinois are dotted with mid-ninteenth century farmhouses, which is what I wanted. We looked at a LOT of them before we finally settled on one in Grubville, Missouri. However, one house location we scouted was in Owensville, MO. The house didn't work out, but the person we were scouting with mentioned that his brother and sister-in-law lived in this small town in northern Missouri named Edina, and maybe it might work out for the town we needed for the film..."
Your film will be debuting at the St. Louis Filmmaker’s Showcase. What happens after that? Will you take it to festivals? DVD/Download release?
We'll be hitting the horror festival circuit (which is huge, and a big factor in my decision to make a horror film) and possibly various regional film festivals. Depending on how that goes for us, I may approach my RHINELAND distributor (VCI Entertainment) about this film, or we'll go with another. For low-budget affairs such as ours, the big festivals like Sundance are basically a non-factor. Of course, the entire distribution system is changing so rapidly, I can't say exactly how it will be delivered to the public, other than the fact that it will be!"