In honor of the countless accomplishments of filmmaker George Romero, his wife Suzanne Desrocher-Romero has established a foundation in his name, with its first project being a screening of a Night of the Living Dead restoration. Of the many things she hopes to accomplish with the George A. Romero Foundation, an integral component is promoting community and an independent artistic spirit.
"He loved film. He loved shooting, he loved the camaraderie of the film family, the set. He just loved that. And his favorite bit was editing actually. That was his favorite part of the whole thing," Desrocher shared with ComicBook.com. "He also had this quiet strength. He was definitely very strong, but he did it in a quiet way. He basically never wavered. He always tried to keep his work his own. He wanted control of his films. That's one of the reasons why he wrote and he produced, so that he could control his art as much as possible. So, the lower the budget, the more control a director has essentially."
Romero got his start by directing commercials before he was able to pull together a cast and crew for Night of the Living Dead, which hit theaters in 1968 and took the movie world by storm. As a result of any filmmaker finding success in the film world, new opportunities with emerge with big studios, resulting in potentially having to compromise your artistic vision.
"If you do bunches of very good independents, then you get lured into the studio stuff, the streaming, and then suddenly you're not doing independent film anymore," Desrocher detailed. "That's always the danger. And people like good movies with good stories, and it doesn't always have to be bang-em-up."
Romero is considered the defining filmmaker in the zombie subgenre, delivering audiences six films utilizing the creatures. Night of the Living Dead helped established the "rules" for the creatures, yet never referred to them as the z-word. It only makes sense that his legacy continues to last long after he's gone.
"I only started working on this five months after he passed away. I just feel that we need to protect and his legacy, his work, his wanting to support this genre, and filmmakers, independents, and museums," Desrocher. "Let's see if we can really make an impact in that world. I think he would proud. So anyway, I'm feeling very strong about it and proud of it, and I hope to do some good work."
The Byham Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will screen a restoration of Night of the Living Dead on October 6th with many of the cast and crew in attendance.
You can visit TrustArts.org to buy tickets and learn more about the screening.
Are you surprised at these initial reactions to the film? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!