By MICHELE HOP
About 125 zombies swarmed around the 200 block of Pearl Street in New Albany on Sept. 19.
Carl Cart, IUS alumnus, is the man responsible for this zombie invasion.
The 2003 graduate is a local independent filmmaker and is currently working on a zombie comedy titled “Queens of the Dead.”
“There are about 400 zombie movies a year, and they are all just rehashing the same story,” Cart said. “‘Queens of the Dead’ is different.”
Cart, who writes his own film scripts, called it the funniest script he has ever written.
When Cart attended IU Southeast, he started out as an education student.
Once he started student teaching, he said he quickly changed his mind.
Cart didn’t go straight to college. At 22, he signed up for the Air Force instead.
By the time he got to IU Southeast and began student teaching, the atmosphere wasn’t the same and it no longer appealed to him.
Cart switched majors and began studying in the Department of History instead.
He said his professors inspired him to work hard and study, and Cart graduated with high distinction.
Though knowledge of history doesn’t typically apply to filming horror films, Cart said the work ethic he learned studying for his professors’ difficult exams has helped.
Marion Ballard, Cart’s friend and the man who does title work and computer animation in Cart’s films, said he agreed Cart has a great work ethic.
Ballard and Cart met through a mutual friend, Jesse Meyer, who now works as the FX supervisor on Cart’s films.
Ballard said he had experience in working with commercials prior to meeting Cart, so he found the idea of working on a film intimidating.
Ballard decided to work on the film anyway, and now Cart, Ballard and Meyer have formed a tight friendship.
Cart got his start with writing.
“I’ve always been a writer, and I decided to try my hand at writing scripts,” Cart said.
He used to enter his scripts in writing contests. These contests abide by strict rules and a formula for scriptwriting that judges look for every time.
Cart said he didn’t follow that formula, so he never won any of the contests.
Finally, Cart made a decision.
“Since no one will take my scripts, I’ll make my own films,” he said.
Cart’s first film was a slasher film, which he said was horrible. He said he poured money into it but couldn’t get it picked up for distribution.
Then Cart made a hitman film, which he said was better but still didn’t get picked up. His third film is “Queens of the Dead,” and Cart said he thinks this one is much better and has a better chance for success since he and his crew have more experience under their belts.
“You’ll learn how to make a good film by making bad films,” Cart said.
The film was filmed the weekend of Sept. 17, and Cart estimated he got about five hours of sleep during the weekend. Sunday was the day of filming.
The next step is to find a way to distribute the film. Cart said he is going to enter it in as many film festivals as possible, hoping that movie scouters will like it and pick it up for distribution.
The first festival it will show at is the Slam Dance Film Festival on Oct. 27.
Cart said he plans to enter the film in larger festivals, such as the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. Cart said it gets hard to be noticed when you are competing against films like “Little Miss Sunshine,” which won the Sundance Film Festival before going on to be a hit movie in theaters.
Entering film festivals is not a cheap endeavor. Cart said it will cost him about $50 to $100 per festival.
“It all boils down to the script,” Cart said. “If you think it’s good, it’s not good enough.”
Cart said he loves encouraging and talking to young people interested in pursuing filmmaking, but he had a word of advice for them.
“You have to be prepared to really suffer if you want to be a filmmaker,” Cart said. “You’ll go broke. You just have to be really dedicated. You’ll want to quit, but you can’t. It’s like pushing a truck up a hill. If you let go, it will fall back over you.”
Ballard said he doubts a year will go by before they are working on something new.