Zach Passero’s animated feature film debut is a labor of love, eight years in the making. Written and single-handedly animated by Passero with his wife Hannah painting the beautiful backgrounds, THE WEIRD KIDZ is a horror-inflected creature feature and an ode to '80s coming-of-age films and favorite late night cinema tales.
When three pre-teen boys and an older brother and his girlfriend take off for a weekend campout, none of them could imagine the horrors (and laughs) awaiting them in a remote desert inhabited by a legendary night creature and crazed townfolk.
Puberty and adventure await...along with terror, amputations and midnight cult rituals!
Since finishing up THE WEIRD KIDZ, I have been shell-shocked. My nearly decade-long journey with this film (inception, screenplay writing, voice recording, animating, animating, animating) has come to an end; and I quite honestly...I don’t know what to do with myself. I cannot believe that I am here, about to share THE WEIRD KIDZ with audiences.
In the aftermath, I’ve been thinking a lot about what made me want to set forth on this crazy undertaking. The story for the Kidz’ adventure started forming when my wife and creating partner, Hannah, got pregnant with our first child. The perspective of fatherhood, and in turn watching a new childhood form before my eyes, made me think about my own childhood, and what shaped me as a person, artist, and filmmaker. I began to imagine explaining to our new little one what things were like when I grew up.
I thought back to my growing up in the late 70s and 80s. The differences between my childhood and that of my new child. I remembered the friends, freedoms,
rules, influences, and adventures. How the pop culture of the time – the music and movies – always played a role on what those moments felt like and what would/could be.
Further, it took me to the dreams that I formed as a kid, teen, young adult – to become a filmmaker. Especially to one day make an animated feature ‘by myself’ or with my closest friends. It was that dream specifically that got to me.
So far, I’ve had what I feel is a blessed career in film as an editor – getting to work with some great filmmakers and friends on projects I am proud to be a part of. But I never did make that animated feature. In the shift that comes with adulthood and impending parenthood, I figured it was time.
That is how THE WEIRD KIDZ was born:
A stew of memories, adventures, movies, and influences from throughout my life lifted the intention to finally realize a lifelong dream, and to make that lifelong dream something I could one day show my kid to explain what my life was like - in reality, in imagination, in influence.
Zach Passero is an El Paso, TX based filmmaker. He collaborates as editor for director Lucky McKee’s films - THE WOMAN, TALES OF HALLOWEEN, and most recently OLD MAN. He edited and did VFX work on THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT starring Sam Elliot. And recently edited Texas centric political doc THE PUSHBACK and 2020 Sundance selection FIRST DATE.
As a director and animator, Passero has created music videos for Ministry, Jim White, Califone, and Jim Ward. He directed a short segment for the pandemic anthology film ISOLATION, focused on hometown El Paso, TX and starring his wife Hannah Passero.