About The Film

Dead Weight is an independent film produced in central Wisconsin throughout the course of 2011, and released in March 2012. It tells the story of Charlie Russell, traveling the wilderness in the wake of an apocalyptic viral outbreak, in search of his girlfriend, Samantha. As his journey brings him closer to his destination of Wausau, WI, he must face physical exhaustion, malicious survivors, and perhaps most menacing, his own emotional burdens. With his newfound traveling companions Charlie must attempt to find attempt to break his obsessions with the past. He must learn to let it go.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


There is one thing that both John and I have come to terms with, independent of each other, but through a similar progression of thoughts and life decisions. We will never be rich. We will never be anything more than hard-working, lower-middle class kids from the Midwest. We’re just fine with that. Our minds work in a similar fashion, our motivations and desires are similar, and all of it coincides with a lifestyle that puts others before our selves in almost every aspect of our lives. This, of course, creates a problematic situation when it comes time to fund an independent film!

Despite our good fortune of having so many gracious friends to donate their time and energy, there is still a need for money to make art, particularly film. The goal of a filmmaker is to create a believable universe where their story exists. It is so much more complicated than just giving people words to read in front of a camera, you need to breathe life into the world in which these characters live. To do this, you need money. Bottom line, we needed money.

 I’m not going to give you a grocery list of expenses from our budget, determined in pre-production, but the total of that list was high (by our personal standards). For this we needed to turn to others in order to raise some cash. We debated doing the entire Kickstarter thing, and decided that their fund raising system wasn’t something we wanted to use for Dead Weight. It was important for us to raise the money independently. Pride? Maybe, but we're prideful assholes, at least we can admit it.

If you take a look at the list of executive producers on our newly approved IMDB page, you’ll see a whole list of names in the full list of cast and crew, some of those people are executive producers. These are a few of the people who have faith in our concept and believed in our ability to make it a reality, and a few of the people are in a financial situation that enables them to support us. All of these people are responsible for giving us the chance, and without them we wouldn’t be here, nearing completion on the film.  These folks are all individuals that have come into our lives in a variety of ways, and there is one in particular I want to focus on in this blog post, Nancy Cremer.
Jon Kitley wants you to join the Kryptic Army.

Our relationship with Nancy is a perfect example of how supportive the community of horror fans really is, and that is the primary reason I wanted to share the story of our history with her. Nancy has only known us for a very short time, but the way by which she has come to know us, as John has highlighted in his comments below, is a very common story in the history of Dead Weight. I've spent the last decade of my life working in the music industry, more specifically independent music. So when I first became exposed to the horror film community I was shocked by how positive and excited people were, how willing they were to bend over backwards to support independent artists. It really threw me for a loop, after my spirit was so broken by the music industry. I thought film would be worse, boy was I a fool. That's really the catalyst for my writing this blog post. There are some incredible people out there involved in the independent film/horror communities. Everyone involved in Dead Weight that John met over the past six years or so, and eventually introduced me to, they're the cream of that very group of people. I have the most sincere appreciation for many of them, and I feel honored to be involved in this project with them.

John and Nancy were first introduced by way of The KrypticArmy, which is sort of like a horror film viewing club run by Kitley’s Crypt, very fun times. In late 2010 They bonded over a discussion regarding Nancy’s first viewing of Carpenter’s The Thing. John and Nancy then met in person during a convention called HorrorHound in Indianapolis during March of 2011. John shared the story of Dead Weight with a lot of folks that weekend, Nancy amongst them. 

Pre-production on the film turned to production and Nancy came to know us both personally, witnessing our devotion to this project. Eventually she made the decision become one of the sources of financial support that we so desperately relied on to make our budget a reality.

This is one of the key things I personally love about the path we’ve taken with this film. Every dime we raised was due to the personal relationships and personal histories we have with our executive producers. I can’t imagine this sort of support coming from any other community. The horror community is something that continues to amaze and inspire me every step of the way. Without people like Nancy, Dan & Mel Lowin, Dan Kiggins, Aaron Christensen, and rest of those that John has connected with in the horror community over the last few years, we could never do this.

Dead Weight is fundamentally a child of the horror community. It will always be a horror film to us, despite how much it leans in the direction of drama and suspense most of the time. It was founded in horror, and brought into existence by the love for horror.

Dead Weight actor Aaron Christensen with executive producer to be, Nancy Cremer. HorrorHound 2011, a fateful weekend.

1 comment:

  1. To further iterate just how amazing the horror community is, I met actor Aaron Christensen at HorrorHound Weekend 2007, and further established our friendship a few weeks after at Flashback Weekend Chicago. it's because of that friendship I got to know Aaron's wife, Michelle, who ended up (fantastically) playing Meredith. During the same Flashback, I met a fast talking, horror loving, former Harvard debate team member from Minneapolis, Dan Lowin, who (along with his wife, Mel), would become Executive Producers, as well. Lastly, at Fango 2008, the person staying in the hotel room next to me was producer Dan Kiggins, and instantly we bonded over horror films and punk rock. Multiple crew members are also the result of friendships from the horror community.

    For those unfamiliar with the horror community, words cannot describe the level of support, appreciation, commitment and dedication it possesses. Some of the nicest, friendliest, and happiest people I know are part of the horror community. I feel honored, and proud, to be part of such a category of people.