8:05am PT by Carolyn Giardina
The Story Behind Zombie Series 'Fight of the Living Dead'
Nine YouTube stars including former Amazing Race contestants Joey Graceffa and Meghan Camarena were blindfolded, brought to Los Angeles’ former Sybil Brand Women’s Prison and placed on hospital bed or in jail cells. When they opened their eyes, they had to fight their way through a zombie apocalypse.
This is the premise behind production company Alpine Labs' new competition reality series Fight of the Living Dead, which debuted in late March on CON TV — Cinedigm’s streaming network for Comic Con and pop culture fans — and is now streaming new episodes on BlackBoxTV’s YouTube channel.
The series was made for just under $350,000; working with brand sponsors, CON TV offers 11 five-minute episodes featuring the full cast, and BlackBoxTV (a strategic partnership with Alpine) runs additional episodes, each of which follows a single contestant.
Alpine is also working toward licensing the brand to producers in other countries, who would produce their own series with familiar local talent and sponsors.
Directed by Alpine Labs' co-creator Kevin Abrams, season one was an ambitious effort, including roughly 200 extras who played zombies. Makeup VFX artist Tommy Pietch designed all the zombie looks and oversaw the team of makeup artists.
The series was photographed with roughly 60 cameras, including GoPros that were attached to the competitors’ costumes for point-of-view shots. There also were three news-gathering crews following them around; standard and high-definition CCTV cameras, as well as GoPros, were mounted around the location for wide shots.
Fight of the Living Dead is produced by Alpine Labs and Revolver Picture Company. Alpine’s Abrams and partner/COO Jamie Denenberg along with BlackBoxTV’s Tony E. Valenzuela are executive producers. Nick Phillips, Kelly Martin Wagner, Rodney Frazier and Aaron Lewis are co-exec producers.
While planning season two of Fight, Alpine is moving forward with additional projects. Last week it signed an agreement with Overbrook Entertainment to co-produce TV series Coffin Point, described as "a historic battle of wills between boy sheriff Ed McTeer and legendary root doctor, Dr. Buzzard, set against a country on the verge of war." Based on Baynard Woods’ biography of McTeer and created by Abrams and Lewis, it will be produced by Overbrook and Alpine. Overbrook’s Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and James Lassiter along with Alpine’s Abrams and Denenberg will exec produce.