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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


This past week there was a string of emails that passed around some cast members and production team about one very important subject. Stangaar the possum. Producer Lee Marohn was inspired to write a song of victory on the subject. I'll try and summarize this story, the freeing of Stangaar, in the most concise way possible, bear with me here.

The third day of filming there was a terrible blizzard that more or less destroyed our plans to film a very important scene at the original location. After nearly two hours of failed attempts to make it work we admitted defeat to the Wisconsin April weather. We spent the next hour and a half at a gas station in Pickett warming ourselves and generally increasing morale amongst the cast and crew. One key factor to this was the acquisition of one plush possum, who informed actor Aaron Christensen of his name via telepathic message. This was easily the most identifiable and critical turning point in our week. We went from our lowest low to our highest high in the matter of a couple hours. Found a new location, moved on, and everything turned out far better than we would've been able to manage under any other condition. Seth Frank, freer of Stangaar, we are forever indebted to you.

Without further delay, we are proud to present "Stangaar The Mighty," by producer Lee Marohn.

(Note: Must be sung by a mixed choir of children and axe-wielding Vikings)

He came to us one Tuesday morn
When things were looking grim
His goodness spred unto us all
And now we cherish him.

Stangaar the Mighty
Stangaar the Bold
Stangaar inspired us
In the chilling April cold.

Stangaar joined our little crew
And things have turned out great
What did we do without him
He's the hero of DEAD WEIGHT.

O, Stangaar the Mighty
Stangaar the Bold
Stangaar inspired us
In the chilling April cold.

Stangaar, official mascot and source of limitless energy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Lead actor, Joe Belknap, graces us with another heartfelt blog, this time recapping the final week of filming Dead Weight: 

We’ve wrapped. Dead Weight has wrapped.

Man, that sounds so weird.

I hesitated awhile before sitting down to write a second blog exploring the final days of filming. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to help but just repeat what I already expressed back in April. I’d just be echoing myself. Spinning my wheels.

But maybe that’s okay. Maybe gratitude is a subject that never tires.

That’s a good thing, too, because I find myself, for the second time, gushing with gratitude after my final week of shooting Dead Weight. For the second time, we were surrounded by supportive, dedicated humans. The whole process of creating Dead Weight has been dependent on people who have been willing to do just about anything to help us out. We had those people the first week of filming, and, boy howdy, we had them the second week, too. Please allow me to offer a guided tour of Oshkosh (and surrounding areas) as I introduce to you a handful of new friends:

When in doubt, talk about Rush at The Reptile Palace.
Thanks to Marlo and the Algoma Club. Have you ever been given a ten minute warning that you would be “fast dancing” to Weird Al without the aid of adult beverages? Really? Never? Yeah, well, if it ever does happen, I can only hope it’s at a place as classy as the Algoma Club; a historic building with a really beautiful interior.

Thanks to Collin and the staff at Benvenuto’s. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had pasta and wine (well, juice) at 9 in the morning, but I have and it’s awesome. What a friendly and accommodating staff. Everyone there was so willing to participate in what we were doing. And mints! They have free mints!

Thanks to Beth and The Reptile Palace. Everyone there was ready to roll the second we arrived, and I think it might end up being one of the best looking scenes in the film.  I didn’t even care that my Schplatz tasted a lot like water.

Thanks to Joseph and the Ramada Plaza in Fond Du Lac. When the hallways prompt conversations about Alanis Morissette tattoos, you know you’re in a place of magic.

Thanks to Matt and Spark Advertising in Neenah. Can I please work and live in your building? Please? I’m really good at, like, drinking coffee and getting other people coffee. Do you need someone like that, maybe?

Patiently awaiting her man at the Outagamie County Airport.
Thanks to Kim, Pla and the Outagamie County Regional Airport. Yeah, that’s right. Dead Weight filmed in an airport. You know, the place where the planes live. I mean, geez, it’s like we’re really makin’ movin’ pictures here!

Thanks to Michelle and the Paine Art Center and Gardens. What a beautiful garden and an absolute perfect location for what we were filming that day. I was so getting my Thoreau on in that place.

Thanks to Adam and Cari for letting us take over their house for a night. We’re not always the most convenient bunch to have around, what with our lights, camera and action hubbub. Hope we didn’t wreck up the place too much. (Special shout out to Mocha and Extra Foam! I willy miss you, you wittle wabbits.)

Thanks to Jason, Big D, and Cranky Pat’s in Oshkosh. Man. What a place to wrap. Certainly a bittersweet night, but I had some of the best pizza in the state to help me cope. Eat away the pain, Joe. Eat it all away.

And, of course, thanks to John, Adam, Travis (director of photography) and Mary (actress extraordinaire).  I originally intended to detail my admiration for their hard work here, but I think I’ve already exhausted readers with the length of this blog. For now, I’ll withhold those sentiments… for now.

Everyone else we worked with the last week of filming- those who gave us access to locations, extras (holy hell, did we have some radical extras), food prep folk, the incredible Lance, Lee, Cole and Seth, those who came around for minor roles that have a major impact - you’re the lifeblood of this film. We’ve fed off your enthusiasm and encouragement. We’ve taken your own dedication as inspiration. You made what we were doing so much easier, and so much more fun. Thank you.

There’s still so much work to do, though the bulk of my own work is complete. The long and exhausting days of trudging through the schizophrenic Wisconsin weather with my friends has passed; the late nights of filming into the ridiculously wee hours of the morn are over.

But I know I’ll miss it. I already do. When you get to spend that time with the people I have, you just can’t feel any other way.

We’ll premiere early 2012, and it’ll be a party, baby.

You comin’? 

-Joe Belknap

A nice (yet incredibly hot and humid) afternoon at the Paine Art Center (with wonderful company).