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posted: 4/23/2015 5:30 AM

Doc-maker takes on 'Walking Dead' fans

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  • "The Walking Dead" fans demonstrate their makeup abilities in Cris Macht's new documentary "The Walkers Among Us."

    "The Walking Dead" fans demonstrate their makeup abilities in Cris Macht's new documentary "The Walkers Among Us."

  • Video: Walkers Among Us trailer

 
 

Talking 'Walkers'

Gilberts native Cris Macht has directed two documentaries about "Star Wars" fans: "The Force Among Us" and "The Force Within Us."

Now he's branched out into zombie love with the upcoming release of his new documentary "The Walkers Among Us," detailing the fan base community that has formed around AMC's hit television series "The Walking Dead."

"The Walkers Among Us" will have its official red carpet premiere at noon on Saturday, April 25, at the Hollywood Blvd. Theatre, 1001 W. 75th St., Woodridge.

Admission costs $2. Proceeds will go to the Walking Hope, a charity supporting the American Cancer Society. (A one-item minimum purchase of food or drink is required, just so you know.)

I peppered Macht with questions about his new doc.

Q. How does "The Walking Dead" fan base differ from the "Star Wars" fan base?

A. Believe it or not, they are very similar. They are both very philosophical and attached to characters they relate to and love. They are both passionate, and many "Star Wars" fans love "The Walking Dead."

Q. What was the most touching segment you filmed for "Walkers"?

A. I would say three things. First, the story of a fan with Down syndrome and how (actor) Norman Reedus reached out to him.

Second, the Walking Hope, a charity organization based in Buffalo Grove that donates all its proceeds to the American Cancer Society, helped a young boy meet the stars from "The Walking Dead" in the hospital. The next day he passed away.

Third, how families bond over "The Walking Dead."

Q. Does the fact that parents are bonding with their kids over graphic gore and violent material that the MPAA would rate X or NC-17 bother you? Or bother anyone else you've spoken to?

A. That is a very good question, and that is a question that we got a lot of different answers on. It's complicated. I think we all raise our kids differently. For me, I would not introduce my daughter to "The Walking Dead" until she was much older.

On a positive side, if it is creating family bonding time, then that is not a bad thing. However, there are other things to do as a family. We explore this question in "The Walkers Among Us."

Q. What impact have your docs had on your life since we spoke in 2013?

A. Simple answer. They pushed me to get into the film business full time and start my own production company with my old friend Ian Vacek.

Q. What's the best thing(s) about making these docs?

A. Being able to "represent" an entire fan base, kind of like being the spokesman for fans on "Star Wars" and "The Walking Dead." The fact that these movies will live on for generations and that my own daughter will be able to show these to her children, it really is a part of my "legacy."

Q. What's next on your production schedule?

A. I am getting on a plane tomorrow for California to shoot a "Star Wars" fan reality show called "The Real Fans Of the Saga"!

To read our From Suburbs to Showbiz profile on Macht, visit dailyherald.com.

Critic's notebook:

• The film "Blood Brother" will be screened at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at the Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette, with $10 admissions going to the charity LIGHT, for supporting teens transitioning out of orphanages and foster care. The story follows Rocky Braat, whose visit to an AIDS hostel in India changed his life. The Kama Bistro restaurant in LaGrange sponsors the show and provides traditional Indian food following it. Go to wilmettetheatre.com.

• The After Hours film Society presents Abderrahmane Sissako's celebrated "Timbuktu," about a cattle herder and his family dealing with the religious fundamentalists who've taken over their land. It will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 27, at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove. General admission $11. Go to afterhoursfilmsociety.com.

• The third annual Chicago Critics Film Festival, the only movie fest created and programmed by working film critics, runs May 1 to 7 at Chicago's historic Music Box Theatre. I'll chat with Elk Grove Village movie critic Erik Childress, founder of the event, in the Daily Herald's Time out! Sunday this Sunday, April 26. Go to chicagocriticsfilmfestival.com.

• Film critic Dann Gire's column runs Friday in Time out! Follow him on Twitter at @DannGireDHFilm.

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