Why He's On Our Radar: Few shorts at Sundance shocked and elicited as many laughs as Andrew Zuchero's end of days splatterfest "The Apocalypse." The short (which you can view below) premiered in Park City as part of the Sundance Digital Screening Room and was featured on their YouTube channel, where it has over 650,000 views and rising. Zuchero will next be taking it to SXSW, where it's sure to go over extremely well in the rowdy Midnighters section.
More About Him: Zuchero, a New York University grad, has been with Greencard Pictures, the commercial and film production responsible for making "The Apocalypse" a reality, since 2006. Since joining the company, he's done promos for the likes of Bud, Sony and Intel (all of which you can view here).
What's Next: "Well right now I’m just working with some of the producers," Zuchero told Indiewire, from the vast Greencard Pictures office space in lower Manhattan. "Alicia Van Couvering, who produced this, and we are just spit balling as many ideas as we can. Just churning out idea after idea, and she tells me which ones are good and which ones are bad. Hopefully in the next month well be writing two screenplays and then we hedge our bets, pick the one we want to go with, and make it in 2014."
How did you dream up the whole concept?
Working in advertising, you’re asked to come up with ideas quite often, so a big part of the job is to just sit around and wait for ideas, which is a ridiculous process. The criteria for what makes an idea good is so specific and it doesn’t really make sense. It’s like how to make beer sexy. And you just sit there and stare at a wall for five hours. I was developing this anxiety that I was going to give myself an aneurysm, so I think that’s where it came from.
Coming up with ideas?
Being forced to come up with ideas. There was actually one moment where we were shooting this Budweiser commercial in Miami, where it was the biggest thing we had ever worked on. It was all of us here, and we were trying so hard to get everything right. It was a big budget and all of the guys in the office were doing different roles, like the DP and the art director and the producers. Everybody was there. And we were building a big water park on the streets of Miami were everyone’s supposed to be having summer fun, and a gigantic boombox rolls in and water slides roll in. Everything was working so well, and then all of the sudden this torrential downpour started. Like a flash flood. It wiped everything away and I was like “fuck, man. This is my career. This is it, it’s over.” I’m really saying this to everybody and the crew is all looking around and I was like, “okay, I’m out of ideas. Does anyone else have any?” Everyone was looking around, and they all wanted to do this so hard that they were all just standing there trying to fix this impossible situation. It was the image of all of my friends sitting around trying to come up with an idea so intently that I thought was really funny.
Have you been following the YouTube comment thread below the video?
Yes, I have a sick fascination with it.
As you should, because a lot of folks seem to believe that the film basically says that dumb people will inherit the earth.
I think that’s just such an insipid kind of meaning. I mean first of all the comment thread on YouTube is just ridiculous. It’s crazy people or fourteen-year-old boys. That’s it. And they’re all terrible for the most part. It’s like being made fun of by junior high students. So it's fun to listen to and cute. It’s just horrible actually.
But as far as that being the meaning behind the film, that’s not really what my intention was. I’m trying to do in a longer form, a feature in this style, where something I would imagine happening in a Looney Tunes cartoon happens and people respond to it. Like they would if it actually happened in real life. So there’s a level of crazy ridiculous fantastical weird shit. And then a level of realism, and it’s those two things trying to compete with each other. I think what the ending means for me is that I think it’s really funny if the worst possible thing happens for the human race, it’s just gross and disgusting. But at the same time it opens the door for this tender and caring love story to blossom. I just think that’s fucked up and funny.
It ends rather abruptly. Are you developing a sequel or would you rather just leave the story open-ended?
Do you think it merits one?
Sure, why not?
I’m actually working pretty hard because I feel like the time is now to make something that’s 90 minutes long. So all of the ideas are kind of like that. A crazy thing and a ridiculous premise responded to in a realistic way. But that’s like a joke, you know like a guy walks into a bar. That can’t sustain a feature film. People not coming up with ideas for 90 minutes sounds like the most boring feature film.