With “The Walking Dead” coming back from it’s mid-season hiatus this weekend, and Walker Stalker Conventions for TWD fans spreading throughout the nation, the millions of people who watch week after week should pat themselves on the back. The comic book has been a hot commodity for years, the show is spawning a spin-off, and there is likely any kind of merchandise out there for fans of the franchise, including TWD bandaids and show replicas that serve as every day items, like Rick Grimes’ Sheriff gun bag.
Fan communities have been getting the documentary treatment for the past few decades, and it was a matter of time before the TWD army got the spotlight. Other than this site’s very own “DEADicated” short film style documentary released in 2014, a professional full feature is in the works called “The Walkers Among Us“. This cinematic piece is being made by veterans of fan documentaries and one of the creators, Cris Macht, did an email interview with Fan-Culture.org. Click “read more” or scroll down for some great info on this doc!
Amanda at Fan-Culture.org (FC): If you could describe your documentary “The Walkers Among Us” in a sentence, what would you say?
Cris Macht (CM): This documentary is a passionate story about the fans that fuel a franchise [The Walking Dead].
FC: When did you come up with this idea and how did you get started? A lot of people aware of this project know that this isn’t your first fan documentary.
CM: The idea came to me in February of 2014. Me and my business partner Ian Vacek formed our production company a few weeks before the idea came to us. We were thinking of a new project to work on, I have released 2 very successful documentaries about the fans of Star Wars (The Force Among Us – 2007 and The Force Within Us – 2013) and I wanted to do something new, something different than Star Wars.
CM (continued): As a fan of TWD, I thought this would be perfect! Thinking the idea would have been done before, I did the research and realized that this is a relatively fresh topic – and if we don’t do it, someone else will! I know that we might be one of the first, but not that last, to do a documentary on this fan base. As for getting started – I’m a little like a car: turn me on, and I go.
FC: When did you first get into “The Walking Dead” and what is it about the show that you love so much?
CM: I got into TWD, like most of the people we interviewed, from the TV show. My wife is the horror fan and had kind of opened my mind on the genre a few years before TWD premiered. I did watch the show from the very beginning, religiously, and that is one question we asked a lot of our subject. ”Why do you like it?” To make it short and cut to the chase, I would say the character development on the show and I LOVE the music, especially in the earlier seasons, and it is something that my wife and I watch together
FC: How did it feel to surpass your Kickstarter goal to get this project off the ground? Do you think the fans are anxious for some good representation of themselves as a fan community?
CM: Grateful! I really appreciate Kickstarter. When I made my first film in 2006-2007, we paid over $30,000 out of our own pocket. Making a film is NOT cheap – no matter how you slice it! The Kickstarter campaign was very stressful! The Star Wars campaign that I did in 2012 was my first and it was funded with 2 weeks to go, and this campaign literally came down to 2 mins left! At the end of the day – it was a lot of work physically and emotionally. The campaign did allow us to film in Atlanta at Walker Stalker Con and TWD filming locations, as well as a very important trip to Pittsburgh! At the end and looking back, I am looking forward to starting another Kickstarter campaign for our next project.
CM (continued): I don’t know if the fans are anxious, but they will be most pleased about this documentary. This documentary celebrates what the fans are all about – it is like a Hallmark Card for TWD fans! I am honored and fortunate to be at the forefront of this and to be the one that is releasing a film that represents the fans.
FC: Two part question – What was the best fan encounter you’ve had so far during filming, and what was the best TWD celebrity encounter you’ve had so far during filming?
CM: You are putting me on the spot and might get me into trouble! That is a tough one to answer, but to answer this without giving much thought – The best fan encounter was a young man with down syndrome from the Atlanta area and his mom. Hearing their story was inspiring, fun, and really validated how cool the cast and crew from TWD is to their fans! Celebrity encounter has to be Lew Temple (character Axel), hands down. A close runner up and one of our personal favorites was Author Jay Bonansinga. Over all, let’s just say there was not a bad one, fan or celebrity.