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Have Kids Stuck At Home? Have Them Join An Infestation of Zombie Film Makers

Kids looking for some creative relief during stay-at-home orders can become filmmakers for a Sarasota-based zombie movie.
World's Largest Zombie Movie
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Grade school children around the world are turning into zombies - and it's not because they're getting too much screen time. 

Kids stuck at home due to the coronavirus are donning their goriest makeup and practicing their best zombie shuffle for the making of the World’s Largest Zombie Movie.

The collaborative horror movie is the brainchild of Sarasota filmmakers Paul and Petra Ratner. The husband and wife team came up with the idea for the project while trying to think of ways to keep their two sons occupied during the quarantine.

“We're always thinking of something creative for them to do and we just thought it would be fun to make a film,” said Paul Ratner. “But since we're all stuck at home - how can we reach out to people outside of our home?”

The project takes a Frankensteinesque approach to filmmaking: kids around the world receive a portion of the movie’s script, film themselves acting out their part and then a team of editors put the pieces together to create the final product.

So far, the Ratners have received over 230 submissions from children between the age of 5-18 from families in the U.S, UK, Canada, France, Germany and even Australia.

While submissions in foreign languages are being acccepted, the filmmakers said the scripts are centered around an international language: zombie.

“The film itself has a viral structure, where  kids from different parts of the world hear about it from their friends, and then their friends join in and then they all end up all in the same really big movie,” said Paul Ratner.

The movie begins with a meteorite crashing into a cemetery causing a zombie virus to spread around the world.

Ratner admits the structure is a little ironic given the current landscape.

They've already received behind-the-scenes footage of the kids donning their makeup and getting their giggles out before giving their best zombie growls.

“We’ve seen a lot of fun being had,” he said. “It's just a way for them to kind of be creative and not focus so much on what's going on in the world.”

Ratner expects that the film will not only be the largest zombie movie –  it could also be the longest.

World's Largest Zombie Movie from Radiant Island on Vimeo.

Rather than produce one continuous film, which would call for a large team of editors, the project will be broken up into segments. Think mini-series rather than a three-hour feature length film.

The project is made by “waves” of filmmakers who film assignments based on given instructions and choices. "Wave 2" filming is already underway with nearly 180 kids participating.

Kids wanting to get involved with the project have until April 17 to register for the next wave. Once they're registered, they'll have a choice of scripts and prompts. 

The first chapter of the film will go "live" on the project's website May 1. 

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Delaney Brown is a radio news intern for the fall of 2019.