A Hauntingly Beautiful Zombie Love Story

In Rest, an American soldier killed in World War I rises from the grave to go in search of his beloved. 

This Valentine's Day, the Atlantic Video channel is proud to premiere a heart-melting tale of undead romance. In Rest, an American soldier killed in World War I rises from the grave to go in search of his beloved. He travels miles across stunning locations, filmed in Mendocino County, Morongo Valley and New York City. The short film was produced by Sunday / Paper and directed by Cole Schreiber, who discusses the making of the film in a short interview below. 

Stills from the film

The Atlantic: What inspired you to do the film? 

Cole Schreiber: When I wrote the film and over the course of making it there was a lot happening in my life; I had ended a long relationship the year before, my grandfather was dying, I had left New York to move back to California and I was beginning a new relationship. I was spending quite a bit of time writing and I channeled some of these emotions and themes into the film. My grandfather who was nearly 93 and was married to my grandmother for 60 years was really ill, I was in the midst of traveling a lot, exploring my own thoughts on love and death, and this story developed. I wrote some other pretty crazy stories as well, but this one came out first.

Were you consciously trying to adapt or avoid the zombie genre? 

I like zombie films and I thought it would be fun to play with the conventions of the genre. Generally speaking, zombies crawl out of graves and start eating people. This guy is still very singular in his purpose, but he just has different intentions.  Truthfully I think this is somewhere between a zombie film and a ghost story.

What was the process of shooting like, with so many locations?

Scouting was a lot like a treasure hunt. I drove around the month before filming and stopped at every coastal access road and turn off in Mendocino looking for the right places to tell the story and connect the dots of his journey. When we were shooting it just required a lot of planning. Once I narrowed down the locations we organized the shoot schedule as best we could, kept our fingers crossed for weather, and made everyone bring hiking boots. Some of the locations were pretty remote -- the beach scene was a forty-five minute hike in the sand from where we left the cars. Overall though, it was a lot of fun.

What's next for you?

My creative partner and I are shooting quite a few things coming up: a short gangster film, a couple music videos, and I'm working on a book as well – it’s a spin on the classic American road trip. All in all, just trying to keep a bridge open between art and commerce – make things I'm happy with, pay my rent and have a lot of fun doing it. 

For more work by Cole Schreiber and Sunday / Paper, visit http://www.sunday-paper.com/.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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