Directors – Justin Johnson, Aaron Marshall, Erik Mauck.
Zombie girl is an inspirational documentary that follows Emily Hagins as she attempts to write and direct a zombie film at the ripe old age of 13; yes you read that right Emily was 13 when she set out on what would become a two year journey filled with ups and downs on this magnificent journey to become a filmmaker.
After writing a letter to Peter Jackson and getting pushed into the direction of Harry Knowles a she lived in the same town and would be able to help Emily with any film related questions and would later play a much more important role of getting the aspiring auteur hooked on the Zombie sub-genre at a BNAT screening of Australian flick The Undead.
The film is so endearing and the family and friends Emily is surrounded by will warm even the coldest of horror fans’ hearts, her mother and father both not only support her decisions but are vital in the scheduling and encouragement in chasing her dreams, not every parent would be both as patient and encompassing in their offsprings dreams; it’s great to see the chemistry of the pair as they discuss, argue and bring this zombie vision to the silver screen.
The documentary itself is well paced with input and interviews with Emily herself, the cast whom are all in their early teens and Harry Knowles and local film critics and Alamo Drafthouse staff who know Emily from her frequent visits.
The fact that this is all from the perspective of a normal 13 year old American girl is outstanding and allows a different approach to directing which will be of use to a filmmaker of any age; certain challenges are looked upon in an entirely different light due to Emily’s age and adds to the appeal of the inner workings of any creative person.
As the documentary progresses the viewer gets sucked into Emily’s film making process and watches her dream develop as she deals with struggles, a tight shooting schedule (she could only film on weekends and school holidays) and accidently erasing a tape with some vital scenes.
Zombie Girl is essential viewing for any aspiring filmmaker of any age, leaving viewers inspired and full of vigor and filled with hope that they too could complete whatever venture they set about.
That is the heart of Zombie Girl; the viewer feels part of this journey and legitimately wants to see Emily and her crew succeed (spoiler alert she does and Pathogen was screened to a packed out Alamo screening in her hometown of Austin).
During the editing process Emily notices mistakes points them out and learns from them, all with the viewer alongside her willing her on making this documentary essential viewing for anyone interested in independent cinema
Emily Hagins went on to direct My Sucky Teen Romance (2011) and Grow Up, Tony Philips (2013) and I for one am looking forward to her return to the genre that all UKHS readers love so much.
You can Follow Emily on Twitter @CheesyNuggets and @zombiegirlmovie