August 29, 2013 | Vol. 118, No. 35

The Zombies are coming...to Moose Lake

Looking for locals interested in being Zombies.

Nathan Johnson and Kirk Eckstine of The Kettle River Project are looking for locals interested in being Zombies.

Photo Submitted
Kettle River Project film crew in costume on location.

Kettle River resident Kirk Eckstine has lived in and around this area for most of his life. He is a self-described hard core science fiction and horror fan.

Nathan Johnson moved to the area in 2007 from Minneapolis.

In early 2012, the Kettle River Project was founded by Nathan Johnson and Kirk Eckstine.

"We are self professed Zombie film fanatics," said Johnson. "We were both interested in furthering in our artistic abilities.

"We gathered a small group of volunteers and began to meet in my small apartment to review scripts."

Meeting lead to action within a short time.

"Waiting To Scream" is our second film," said Johnson. "It is written as two separate stories and blended together to form a whole. "

Johnson went on to describe the plot of the movie.

"The first tale takes place outside of an abandoned home and focuses on four people assigned to patrol the area for the undead," said Johnson.

"My focus was on a more action oriented style that will focus on special effects, make-up arts and dynamic filming.

The second portion of the film is a more cerebral study of characters and motivations, and takes place is the basement of the abandoned house.

"Three amateur filmmakers are trapped by the undead and rather than focus on survival and the needs of the moments they bicker and argue instead.

"The idea behind the characters really revolved around the growing zombie fan club that has developed over the last few years."

While involved in the process of writing, Eckstine continually asked, what happens when you strand zombie fanatics in a basement surrounded by zombies?

The entire project is funded by a strictly out of pocket budget and is fueled by the enthusiasm of the volunteers that act and use their own personal expertise in every area from lighting to make-up to make the films a success.

"The enthusiasm the volunteers bring is amazing," said Johnson. "Their passion really comes across on the set and on film."

Johnson and Eckstine are inviting locals interested in joining the mayhem and fun to look them up on Facebook (the Kettle River Project) for meeting times and updates.

Their new film, "Waiting To Scream" is set to film on September 14, 2013 in Moose Lake.

As they continue in the film making business, their technology has improved.

"For this second film, we are using a JVC GC-PX100 video camera," said Johnson. "That is a definite improvement over our first film.

An extremely important part of filming is public relations within the community.

"We have been given permission by the Moose Lake Police Department to film at Kirk's private residence," said Johnson. "That day's shoot involves several hours of "blank" weapons firing and pyrotechnics."

Simply getting permission from local authorities was not enough for the filmmakers.

"Notifications will be sent to neighbors to foster good communication," said Johnson, "and to thwart any surprise the film might cause."

"Gun Shot" pyrotechnics are furnished by Starlight.com.

Johnson is a published poet, and some of his works can be found in "ARS Interpres," an International Journal of Poetry, Translation and Art Volume 3, "Blessing of the Beasts."

Eckstine works full time for the State of Minnesota but dreams of becoming a full time writer in the future.

The Kettle River Project seeks to continue its film-making.

"Our goal is to grow and to improve in all aspects with each endeavor," said Johnson.

Eckstine and Johnson are also out to have a whole lot of fun in the process.

Feel free to join them.

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