LLFF Speaks With Filmmakers John Pata and Adam Bartlett

October 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Adam Bartlett & John Pata

Adam Bartlett (left) & John Pata (right)

How do you feel about Zombie movies?

Walking Dead is a major television hit in it’s third season, every costume for Halloween is Zombie-fied, even high schools and colleges are holding Zombie Proms.  Zombie is where it’s at.

But even my 16 year old son (HUGE Walking Dead fan & everything zombie & shared the privilege of pre-screening this excellent film with me), said this was more than a zombie film.

And he said that two days AFTER he saw the movie.

I think when something sticks with you for days afterward, that’s a good film.

Especially if you are 16.

Dead Weight Movie

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Dead Weight filmmakers John & Adam, and here is what they had to say:

LL: How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a filmmaker? Describe your moment.

Adam Bartlett:
 It was never really a dream or deep seeded desire I had. I never realized it was a goal until it was happening, really. John and I simply started writing the story, and didn’t expect that it would become a film, but hoped. I have, however, been interested in storytelling since I was 17 or 18. That’s when I realized I loved the written word, and it’s when I discovered the power of good literature.

John Pata:
 It’s a two-fold answer for me. I saw Jaws when I was around seven or eight years old, and absolutely loved it. My parents told me about all the problems the crew had with the Bruce (the shark) and how they had to change the way the made the film to troubleshoot the issues they were having. It’s safe to say that was the first time I truly realized there was a behind-the-scenes aspect of filmmaking, and I was super intrigued.
A couple years later the TV show, Movie Magic, came on air and instantly became one of my favorite shows. Movie Magic focused on special effects and creating the impossible of filmmaking, and from that day on I was all about what takes place behind the camera rather than in front of it.
LL: What is currently your favorite movie of all time?  Why?

 It always bounces between The Thing and Se7en, depending on the mood I’m in at the time. The Thing is the perfect story of isolation and paranoia. Amazing atmosphere, performances, and special effects. Se7en, to me, is the most beautifully miserable story I’ve ever experienced. It invokes more emotion and anxiety within me than any other film ever has.

 I saw The Evil Dead when I was ten years old and it blew my mind. At that point, I grew up on horror, but it was more of the mainstream type horror. When I popped in The Evil Dead, I must have been expecting the same and it was anything but. This was the first time I witnessed true independent filmmaking, getting a small cast and crew to spend weeks in the woods and create something not for fame or money, but for passion and the urge to create something different. Those 85 minutes threw me into a world I never knew existed, and it was so bloody and relentless… I loved it. To this day, no film has impacted me like The Evil Dead, and I never expect another one will.
LL: How did you decide on the title for your film? 

 It just sort of came along, popped into my head. I mentioned it to John, he liked it, and there was never another word on the subject. We knew people would think of “zombies” or infected creatures when they heard the title, but we’ve always wanted it to reference the emotional burdens that many of the characters carry throughout the story. We hoped people would catch different meanings from the title as they view the film.

LL: If you were to “label” your genre of film, what would that be? And what draws and/or inspires you to make this type of film?

JP: Dead Weight is definitely a hodgepodge of genres. It’s part dark drama, part psychological horror, and even part romantic comedy. We wrap it all up by saying that Dead Weight is survival horror mixed with a post-apocalyptic love story. I’m pretty sure video stores have a section for that, right?

 It began as a horror story, through and through. As writing progressed the story organically transformed into something else very different. We ended up writing much more dialogue than we had originally imagined, and ended up with much more emotional weight in the story. So I guess it’s really more about suspense, thriller, drama in the end, with heavy horror undertones. And overtones I suppose, at times. But it’s not about the gore, it’s not about the shock, it’s about the people and they things they do, the choices they make. John and I both feel like it treads in a strange grey area where horror, drama, and suspense all meet.
Dead Weight Movie ditch

 If you could work with anyone in “Hollywood”, who would it be?  and why?
JP: Kurt Russell, because he’s Kurt Russell.

 Kurt Russell. He is Kurt Russell. Do I need another reason?
Thank you, John & Adam!  
It’s been a pleasure getting know you and your film a wee bit better.
Don’t miss the screening of Dead Weight on Saturday, October 26th at The Bijou on the U of I Campus at 8pm.  Tickets are only $7 or you can buy an all access Film Pass for only $30 here.


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