We have something special today – an interview with Israel Luna, the gay writer, director and producer of the forthcoming grindhouse feature film “Kicking Zombie Ass For Jesus” – and the trailer too.
About the Film:
Five years ago in October 2013 after many failed crowdfunding campaigns and one halfway successful campaign with IndieGoGo, Dallas filmmaker Israel Luna was ready to film the companion piece to his 2010 controversial film, the grindhouse homage, Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives. Filmed over the course of seventeen days on a shoestring budget of 7,200 dollars, Israel was finally able to complete KZAFJ (Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus); having written the script
in 2010. But like the wait to film the actual project, the release has proven more challenging.
Sitting in post-production for four years, the movie was finally completed in 2017 when it was back
to the editing bay for Israel, as he tried to find other editors, with requests stacked up for him to work on many other Dallas hopefuls’ projects. Luna was no longer a hopeful himself; gaining more ground in the Dallas/Fort Worth entertainment industry with the success of his film series, The Ouija Experiment. The first being filmed on a budget of over 1,000 dollars,
did well in sales at Red Box; eventually getting a physical release in Walmarts nationwide.
Since 2017 Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus has been screened at The Texas Theatre amongst others, with a teaser trailer and three clips being released online. A standard, official trailer was released in October 2018 and is promising gore and some laughs in the typical grindhouse style that fans have been waiting for, since falling in love with Israel’s first exploitation film in 2010.
Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus follows a group of LGBT people who barricade themselves in an abandoned building with a group of Pentecostal churchgoers during the zombie apocalypse in West Texas. With their differences, can they put them aside in order to survive? In response to the hate towards gay people from the religious communities, Luna wanted to respond through his art of filmmaking with this title, saying “To me the zombies are the world, and this building where they (the survivors) have barricaded themselves in is us trying to survive” going on to say “All of these different types of people but in the end we’re all human and we’re all wanting to get through this tough horrible life that
Aside from Curtain and Sheraton, Willam Belli (American Wedding, A Star is Born) stars as Beth-Anne Fetterman (a play on methamphetamine), a transgender hairdresser who has some issues with the preacher and his wife. Transgender entertainer, Krystal Summers plays Janice Jeffress, the preacher’s wife. Newcommer Dillon Vineyard plays Ethan Jeffress in what should have been his feature film debut. The movie has been screened at Landmark’s Inwood Theatre and should be getting an official release soon, with ITN Distribution and CalTex Films LLC. handling it.
1) Tell me about Kicking Zombie Ass. What’s it about?
It’s about a zombie apocalypse hitting a small TX town. When the survivors barricade themselves at a nearby building they realize half are made up of gay people and the other half are bible thumpers.
2) How did you get the idea for the film?
After the success of my movie TOTWK and its message of fighting against violence toward the trans community, I wanted another “message film”. I quickly thought of our constant struggle and fight against organized religion. What would happen if we were in the same predicament of survival? Would we come together or toss each other to the wolves? So I wrote that.
3) Is the film itself queer in any way, and if so, how?
Of course! It’s written, directed, edited by a gay man, a trans character played by Willam Belli is the lead, we have a great supporting character who’s a tough-as-nails lesbian, we represent the bear community, drag queen community and young Rainbow (LGBT) youth struggling with their sexuality.
4) Have you found a lot of support in the Dallas queer community for your work?
From the queer community in general? Yes, I have! There aren’t very many films that represent our community in a “main-stream” sort of way outside of gay-themed films so my love of horror and the mixing of these two genres of horror/gay-themed works well so people are very supportive to help me make them happen!
5) What other work have you done? Where can we find it?
The movie that changed my film career was TOTWK. We made it to TriBeCa in NYC and since then I’ve been taken more seriously as a filmmaker. I also have a movie franchise called The Ouija Experiment and three sequels. I also just got distribution for a film I shot called Beaver, a redneck comedy about white trash women where all the female roles are played by transwomen and dragqueens. How can you find them? Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other VOD outlets. The best way to find them is just doing a google search. I don’t even know specifically.
6) What are you working on now, and when can we see it?
What am I working on now? I’m working on a 3-episode series about successful women in corporate Dallas called Businesswomen, where all female roles will be played by transwomen and dragqueens. I’m also in pre-production for a movie based on the Mexican folklore La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). Both will be out this summer.