Writer/director Robin Aubert’s zombie road movie Les Affamés recently premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and is set to make its US premiere later this month at the 2017 Fantastic Fest in Austin. Daily Dead recently caught up with Aubert, and he discussed the inspiration behind his story, his ambitious approach to creating a compelling zombie film, keeping Les Affamés “all in the family,” and more.
Congrats on the film, Robin. I'd love to hear about what your approach to this story was, and bringing all these different characters together throughout the setting of this crazy outbreak.
Robin Aubert: It’s been a dream of mine always to write the zombie film. I really loved the film Night of the Living Dead as a kid. And I always want to do a zombie movie, but from my point of view. You know, when you do a zombie film it's weird, because you're doing a social film and a political film, regardless. I was inspired because I'm from a small town in Quebec, and the people that I know were the inspiration to my story. I wanted to put them all together, to make them talk about life in the survival world.
The easy way to tell this story would have been to just have a cast of characters trapped inside one location, but you didn’t do that at all. Can you talk about the fact you could've done the easy route, and yet you went in a more ambitious direction? And was that conscious on your part so that this film could stand out a bit more amongst its peers?
Robin Aubert: Well, I'm from a small town in the middle of Montreal. I have a barn with horses in the country. So it's my place where I wrote this from, where I am surrounded by the forest over there. I'm surrounded by the color green, and green in cinema is so aggressive. I never liked this color, green, and I realized that I needed green in this film to express the violence of this world, and also maybe to show how nature takes revenge on humanity, or something like that. I just thought more natural landscapes would be comforting and terrifying at the same time. There’s an uncertainty to nature and to the forest.
Something else that I thought was really cool, too, is that most horror movies take place during a nighttime setting, and most of this film is during the daytime, and it's just as effective and creepy. Was that a challenge?
Robin Aubert: Well, where I'm from is very beautiful and picturesque usually. But whenever the fog rolls in, especially early in the morning, it’s very scary to me. So when you can take something beautiful and make it something that invokes a scare, that’s scarier to me than anything you could ever do at night.
I thought it was really interesting that there's one shot in the final act, where it's basically the women walking through, and I thought that was a wonderful way to showcase how strong these characters are. Had you set out to make a celebration of women or was that a happy circumstance?
Robin Aubert: I really love your question. I didn't think about it at first, but eventually I realized that there were a lot of women in the film. And I realized that the men are a little bit less ready to handle this world. I don't know, maybe I have more hope in women than in men, but in my life, I'm surrounded by strong women. So, if one day the world became a zombie land, I think the women will survive, not the men. I have lots of aunts and female friends, and they inspire me. For me, they are the true deal more than men. And all the actresses in this film gave a lot to their performances.