Thursday, July 15, 2021


When the childhood dreams flourish up on the adult stage and become reality, surely is a thrilling feeling. Our today's interviewee could descibre us that feeling. ZACH ZORBAfrom Alaska, but lived in Israel and grew up in Seattle, took a decision, a transcendental one, when he was barely a kid, he wanted to make film no matter the idea about the how, was a completely mystery to him.

ZACH delivered us part of his free time and answer us the questions about his life, his upcoming and first feature film KNIFECORP, which it was released out on JULY 13th on digital format. The film has talented actors such as Kane Hodder, Felissa Rose and other great actors. ZACH told us the why he decided to shoot his opera prima in the horror genre, the setbacks he encountered up during the making of and many other valuable things that newbie indie horror filmmakers should to know.

I know you  will like it, just have to scroll down and read it... come on!

EFF: Zach, tell us, where did you grow up and when or how filmmaking drew your attention up? 

ZZ: I was born in Alaska, grew up in Seattle, but also lived in Israel all by the time I was in first grade. I lived in an open house with lots of characters in my family and who’d visit the house, and was always drawn to people stories. Growing up in the 90s I loved watching action movies, and always knew I wanted to make movies, even before I knew how. I’m also grateful that my parents liked taking us to movies when my brothers and I were kids, so I grew up really loving old and new movies and quoting my favorite lines with my friends. 

EFF: KNIFECORP will stand as your directorial debut, right? Let me ask you, Why horror as your first genre ever filmed? 

ZZ: Budget and Audience. We wrote the movie without any plan to raise money, but to make it ourselves, so we wanted a contained thriller that mostly took place in a house. Without the promise of a big budget, we knew it would be hard to make a movie that would get people’s attention, but with the right concept, we could make something that was still fun and thrilling without raising tons of money. 
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EFF: How did start off the project? Tell us first about the story itself, how did you and L.E Staiman come up with it? 

ZZ: LE had written a script called Knifecorp before we even met. I liked the idea of selling knives door-to-door (similar to Cutco, a very popular cutlery brand in the US), and I said to LE, why not just have our main character get trapped in a customer’s house and make it all about getting out. We wrote it in July that year and filmed it in January.

EFF: How the script creation stage was? I mean, how many drafts you made out or what stuck-mind problems you had and how did you solve them out? 

ZZ: We did a few drafts between the first version and the final. We did a lot of polishing and improvements leading up to the day of production, including changing the motivation and result at the end, (no spoilers), as well as really improved the relationship between Tanya and Jed. 

EFF: An important matter to newbie filmmakers, please tell us about the pitching process? The getting fund process?

ZZ: I’m sure this is where most good film ideas go to die, but we wrote a story that we knew we could film ourselves even if nobody invested. Once we liked the script enough, we shot a concept trailer for almost no budget, just using equipment we had, and bought some fake blood. The trailer came out really nice, however it was ultimately the script that got us the money. I approached Jeff Handel, he liked the script and happened to have an investor in mind. Boris read the script liked it, and gave very helpful notes as well, and very quickly we had the money we needed to get it going. Looking back, the ingredients to our success were: writing a story that WE could film, continuing to improve the script and legitimize the project by making concept trailer and showing it to people and pitching it all the time. We also had a date in mind to shoot it from the very beginning. We knew we wanted to start around christmas or New Years, and we just told everyone that was the plan until it became a reality. Ultimately you need a script people want to work on, especially when you have low budget projects, and be confident in your plan.... but be realistic as well. 

EFF: After checking that matter, how did you approach the shooting itself? What kind of style you tried to evoke on the screen so the audience could catch? 

ZZ: Because our star has a legacy in horror films of the past (and present), and the house we got has a very retro look, we used vintage lenses to get that throwback feeling. The camera moves a lot to keep the suspense going, but ultimately we wanted to balance that perfect line between laughing and getting freaked out. As one friend said after watching it, his knuckles were white from grilling the chair, and his cheeks hurt from smiling. 

EFF: What setbacks you stepped out during shooting and how did you overcome them? 

ZZ: Like any (low-budget) movie we had plenty of setbacks. Many of them had to do with resources available, amount of days to shoot and physical constraints within the main location we used for shooting. Ultimately, having a plan, vision, and showing the entire team we are working together gets everyone focused and excited every day. We stayed on schedule, and made it through, thanks to an awesome team who really wanted to make the best of the movie. 
Zach Zorba BTS "Knifecorp"

EFF: What kind of director do you consider yourself? How do you establish your day to day filming process? Do you storyboard all your scenes for instance.

ZZ: I am a very collaborative director, really focused on authenticity in performance, but also allowing all members of the team to provide input and feel involved. I believe that most people are on set because they are experts at what they do, and I try to listen to new ideas to see if they can enhance the vision of the story. Ideally, I do storyboard as much as possible, but this project happened pretty quickly, so we prepped a lot on the day and made it work. 

EFF: How is the current stage of the film? When is gonna be out to the audience and where can people watch it? 

EFF: What are your inspirations; directors or films? 

ZZ: Great, simple stories, told extremely well. I believe that movies just need to know what they are. Knifecorp is not for everyone, but I believe it stays true to the wacky world we created for the characters, and we don’t veer too much from the “rules” of the story. 

EFF: What is the hardest thing about being a horror director? 

ZZ: Timing and coordination for scares, and balancing how much time to spend on performance versus special effects or gory moments. 
Zach Zorba BTS "Knifecorp"

EFF: What advice would you give to those newbie filmmakers from your experience, I mean, during pre, production or post, any advice is gold. 

ZZ: It isn’t easy. Making a film is just as much about navigating personalities as much as it is telling a story. Everyone wants to feel involved, or feel important, the job of a director/writer is to make them feel valued. You can only make a great project when people believe in the work you’re doing, whether it’s funny or dramatic, the people you work with will make or break it, so make sure your people are doing well, and your project will follow. 

EFF: Are you already working on something new? 

ZZ: I have multiple projects in the works. I am writing an indy feature for a producer in New York being filmed this summer/fall, as well as raising money for a horror feature in the woods that I co-wrote with a friend, as well as pitching two shows. 

EFF: How have you lived this pandemic? Personally, Professionally... 

ZZ: Overall, I would say I’ve lived ok.


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