Q&A: Russell Yaffe


I sat down with local filmmaker, Russell Yaffe, about growing up in Bethesda and his new short film “My Brother Is A Zombie.”


Q: What are your favorite memories of growing up in Bethesda?

The best part was growing up near a park. I grew up playing basketball with family and friends. As I got older, I appreciated it more.


Q: When did you know you had the passion for film?

I think in middle school. I watched “AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies” for the first time, and saw film in an historical context. I started watching older films, and figuring out what storytelling was all about.  I started playing music when I was pretty young, and ended up doing some theater as well. Films use all those mediums to create one object, which is pretty cool.


Q: Which is harder — writing or directing?

For me, it would have to be directing. It involves much more decision making than writing. When you’re writing, it’s just you and yourself. It has it’s own challenges of course, but there are less constraints.


Q: What is your short film, “My Brother Is A Zombie”, about?

As you might gather, it’s about a girl who has a zombie for a brother. ::laughs:: It uses the zombie metaphor to examine human relationships, such as growing up with a sibling. I call it a ‘zombie dramedy.’


Q: Was it hard working with child actors?

It wasn’t that hard at all. They were excellent. Their parents were very supportive, and very professional. The kids were incredibly interested and aware of the process going on around them. It got a little more tricky the more kids you had in the scene. They would feed off each others energy and just want to play.  ::laughs::


Q: What was it like filming in your hometown?

It was a lot of fun to come back home. I got to bring everything I’ve learned from school and life, which made it more special. We shot in places I hung out in growing up, like my old Elementary school. The cafeteria is a little different than I remember, but I had the same memories. We ended up putting a lot of the crew up in my families basement, sleeping dorm style.


Q: Are you excited about screening your film at The Columbia Film Festival this weekend?

I’m VERY excited to show this film in my home state where it was shot. The actors, crew, and my family will be in attendance. Should be a special experience.



“My Brother Is A Zombie” screens at The Columbia Film Festival June 24th at 8pm at Howard Community College!

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Visit “My Brother Is A Zombie” Official Website

Visit Russell’s Official Website

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