Entertainment Magazine

Dawn of the Dead

About the Film Makers


Making his feature film directorial debut, ZACK SNYDER (Director) was featured in British Communication Arts magazine as one of the most talented commercial directors in the country.

Best known for his cinematic widescreen shooting style, Snyder attributes his distinctive style in part to his early artistic training in London, where he studied painting at the Heatherlies School.

Later, he refined his artistic sensibilities at the world famous Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he developed the bold cinematic style of filmmaking that he is known for today.

Whether shooting an epic car spot for Land Rover in Tunisia, or an emotionally moving character piece with Robert De Niro in the streets of New York City, Snyder’s stylistic approach combines powerful storytelling with a compelling sense of place.

From the Skeleton Coast of Namibia to the desolation of the Arctic tundra, Snyder frequently accomplishes his big screen look with a small, dedicated crew. Working as both director and cinematographer, Snyder has traveled to the rain forests of Costa Rica for client Compuware and to Alaska to shoot spots for Audi and Jeep.

He has traveled to China for client Budweiser, as well as Chile and Iceland in search of the perfect location for his cinematic spots.

Well known for his sports work, Snyder has created dynamic portraits of sports icons such as Michael Jordan, tennis star Martina Navratilova and quarterback Troy Aikman for clients Nike and Reebok and recently completed a spot for Titleist featuring golfers David Duval, Dan Marino and David Robinson, among others. Snyder’s work has garnered numerous awards including two Clios.

He received a Gold Lion Award at Cannes for his Jeep “Frisbee” spot. His wickedly funny and irreverent spot “Russian Generals,” filmed on location in England, attracted the attention of the London advertising community, which presented him with an award for his impressive body of work. Most recently, Snyder completed the 2003 Subaru campaign featuring four-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

At the age of twelve JAMES GUNN (Screenplay By) began his filmmaking career with an eight-millimeter camera. His first film featured his brother Sean, now an actor on WB’s The Gilmore Girls, being disemboweled by zombies. Gunn grew up and attended St. Louis University, where he earned a BA in Psychology.

He then attended Columbia University in New York and received his MFA in creative writing. While at Columbia, he applied for a part-time job filing papers at famed B-movie studios Troma Entertainment, and ended up writing the screenplay for a movie called Tromeo & Juliet instead—he was paid $150 to do so.

In 1997, Tromeo became a cult hit, playing in theaters around the world, including over a year of midnight screenings in Los Angeles. Gunn stayed at Troma for two years as Troma’s president of production, wrote and directed television segments for the BBC and HBO/Cinemax, and for a time even ran his own television station, Troma’s Edge TV, in the Netherlands and Amsterdam. Gunn has also acted in the Troma films Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger 4 and the appropriately entitled Tales from the Crapper.

Gunn left Troma to write and star (along with Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy and his own brother, Sean) in the feature film, The Specials, about a group of superheroes on their day off.

Gunn wrote the novel The Toy Collector, released by Bloomsbury Press in 2000, which tells the story of a hospital orderly who sells drugs to finance his escalating toy collecting addiction.

He also wrote, with Lloyd Kaufman, the non-fiction book All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger. In 2002 the live-action film Scooby-Doo was released into theaters. Gunn wrote the screenplay for the film, the first movie he was involved with that he allowed his mother to see. The film has so far grossed $275 million worldwide.

In addition, Gunn has written and created television pilots for the WB and Fox. He has written Spy vs. Spy for director Jay Roach and The Newlyweds, a romantic comedy, both for the same studio. Upcoming for Gunn is Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, scheduled for a spring 2004 release, on which he served as screenwriter and co-producer.

RICHARD P. RUBINSTEIN (Producer) was formerly Chairman/CEO of Viacom/Blockbuster/Spelling subsidiary, Laurel Entertainment.

He is now CEO of New York-based New Amsterdam Entertainment, Inc., which he founded in 1995. Under the New Amsterdam banner, in addition to the re-envisioning of Dawn of the Dead, Rubinstein’s most recent television production as executive producer was Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, a six-hour mini-series with an ensemble cast led by Susan Sarandon.

The mini-series followed the critically acclaimed and highly rated Frank Herbert’s Dune, the first six-hour mini-series based on Herbert’s original series of novels.

Rubinstein’s feature film credits include his 1989 production of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, which ranked as the third highest grossing thriller of the 1980’s, with more than $130 million gross worldwide. Other Stephen King-based feature films produced by Rubinstein include The Night Flier, Thinner and Creepshow.

He was also the producer of three George A. Romero-directed features: Martin; the 1979 original Dawn of the Dead; and Knightriders, which starred Ed Harris in his first feature leading role.

In addition to the Dune mini-series, Rubinstein’s executive producer credits for television include: A Season in Purgatory, a four-hour CBS mini-series based on the Dominick Dunne bestseller about the Skakel murder case; and two ABC mini-series based on Stephen King’s stories—The Langoliers and The Stand—both of which were the highest-rated mini-series on any network in their respective broadcast years, with The Stand garnering an Emmy nomination for Best Mini-Series.

Television movie executive producer credits include: Kiss & Tell, starring Cheryl Ladd; and the highly rated Precious Victims.

Rubinstein also executive-produced (with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) The Vernon Johns Story, a syndicated television movie starring James Earl Jones, which received four Monte Carlo TV Festival Awards and a Christopher Award for “A Television Program Affirming the Highest Values of the Human Spirit.” He has also served as executive producer on two very successful syndicated television series—Tales from the Darkside (90 episodes) and Monsters (72 episodes).

With an MBA from Columbia University, Rubinstein received his first production credit as associate producer of A Night with Nicol Williamson. He then independently produced and licensed to ABC a one-hour special profiling O.J. Simpson at the height of his football career. Following, he produced The Winners, a syndicated series of 12 onehour biographical profiles of other seminal sports figures.

Rubinstein is a Regent of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and a member of the Third Decade Council of the American Film Institute. He is also a former board member of the IFP/NY and was a member of the national advisory board of The Sundance Festival for over twenty years. In addition, he has recently joined the board of a new offBroadway producing company, Chashama. As an Adjunct Associate Professor, he has co-taught a course in “Entrepreneurial Producing” at the NYU/Stern Graduate School of Business for two semesters.

MARC ABRAHAM (Producer) founded Strike Entertainment, a development and production entity, in early 2002. Strike is based at Universal, where the company enjoys a comprehensive first-look, four-year production agreement. Their first production was the recent action-adventure The Rundown, starring The Rock and Seann William Scott.

Previously Abraham served as the President of Beacon Communications, a company which he co-founded. While there, Abraham also spearheaded the formation of Beacon Records, which released five soundtracks that sold over four million units worldwide.

Abraham recently produced Universal’s The Rundown with Kevin Misher and Karen Glasser, starring The Rock and Seann William Scott. Prior to that, he produced Universal’s The Emperor’s Club, starring Kevin Kline, and Tuck Everlasting, starring Oscar© winners Ben Kingsley, William Hurt and Sissy Spacek. He also produced (with Doug Wick) Spy Game, directed by Tony Scott, and starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.

In 2000, Abraham produced The Family Man, starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni, and the summer blockbuster hit Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst.

He also produced A Thousand Acres, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange and Jennifer Jason Leigh; and Playing God. Abraham served as executive producer on the action-thriller Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford, a worldwide hit which earned $330 million; The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington and directed by Norman Jewison; For Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner; and End of Days, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

During its first few years, Beacon produced such award-winning films as The Commitments, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture in 1991 and went on to win four BAFTA awards; and Keith Gordon’s well-received A Midnight Clear. In a co-venture with Turner Pictures, Abraham executive-produced David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, which won a Cable ACE Award for Best Dramatic or Theatrical Special.

Beacon also produced Sugar Hill; Princess Caraboo, starring Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline, for which Abraham was a Golden Halo winner; Alan Parker’s The Road to Wellville, starring Anthony Hopkins; and The Baby-Sitters Club. Abraham’s entry into film began with the documentary Playing to Win, an inside look at the Cuban athletic system.

He authored several screenplays for such companies as 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and CBS and wrote for the popular series 21 Jump Street and Moonlighting. In 1990 Abraham won a Writer’s Guild Award for The Earth Day Special.

Abraham began his career as a copywriter for Young & Rubicam in New York City after graduating from the University of Virginia. He left advertising to concentrate full-time on a writing career and freelanced as a sportswriter for many newspapers and magazines and wrote two books on the International Olympic Games for Universal Press.


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2005 Entertainment Magazine / EMOL.org