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April 2016

Michael Fausti Biography

Michael Fausti is a Director, writer and actor. He was born in the U.K. where he studied Literature, Art and Film at the universities of London and Kent, specialising in surrealist cinema and art house horror. He cites his cinematic influences as the films of Michael Powell, Jan Nemec, Dario Argento and Jean-Pierre Melville. An exponent of Lo-fi filmmaking and practical effects he studied film make up and visual effects at the London Academy of Film and TV.

Fausti’s first foray into filmmaking began in the late 1990s and continued during the early 2000s with a series of Non-Narrative experimental shorts that utilised Super 8 and video technologies. 

In 2013 Michael Fausti’s first narrative short film Dying Seconds (2013), was completed. This was followed in 2014 by his second film the surreal horror-noir Z.A.F. (2015). Fausti chose to shot the whole of Z.A.F. on a home video camera, stating, “I wanted to show that it is possible to make a movie with what you have to hand. Too much emphasis is being placed on technological spectacle. Ideas are the most important technology of filmmaking.”

In 2015 Z.A.F. received its world premier at Mexico’s prestigious Postmortem Horror & Bizarre Film Festival.

In 2016 Fausti directed The Pyramid (2016), scripted by writer and long term collaborator Mathew Bayliss. In addition to his current film Dead Celebrities, which is scheduled for filming in the summer of 2016, Michael has a number of projects in development for film and TV.

A focus on Fausti_Film’s Make-up and Special Effects

Here at Fausti_Films we love make up and special effects. Director and writer Michael Fausti is a  graduate of the London Academy of Media, Film and TV and regularly runs special effects make up courses for aspiring film makers.

make up in progress

These skills were put to good use on the set of Z.A.F. when Michael and Louise Dobson created the effects for the zombies canteen scene. 

Michael says “I’m a big fan of practical effects, whilst CGI has a role, you cannot beat the old school practical effects for authenticity and flair – it’s a characteristic of the Fausti style”.   


zombie gord
Bloody finger!
Gun wounds, stabbings and severed fingers all feature in the Fausti Films aesthetic, with the effects on the up coming film,’The Pyramid’, being some of the most ambitious to date with a smashed skull appearing in the new short. 

Head Shot!
Products used range from those bought over the counter in Chemists andspecialist VFX websites to make up shops to fruit!! But if I told you any more… I’d have to kill you!


Z.A.F. Director’s Statement

We asked Director Michael Fausti to give us the background into the ideas behind Z.A.F.  See what he has to say below. 

I wanted to create a film similar to those I grew up watching: films that engage the audience through narrative and atmosphere, rather than technological spectacle. I’m also of the punk generation and subscribe to the idea of the D.I.Y. philosophy. I made Z.A.F. on a domestic camcorder to show that you can make a movie with what you have to hand. The great film directors of the past, whose films we still enjoy and turn to for inspiration, did not obsess about the specifics of their equipment. Ideas are the most important technology of a film.

Z.A.F. F.A.Q.s: An Interview With Writer/Director Michael Fausti

This interview was conducted in a screening room in West London after the film’s completion, but before being submitted to any festivals. It was screened to a number of people, one of who had experience of working in film for many years. The latter is asking the questions.

Let’s start with the most revealing question, why did want to make Z.A.F.?

I wanted to create a film similar to those I grew up watching: films that engage the audience through narrative and atmosphere, rather than technological spectacle. I’m also of the punk generation and subscribe to the idea of the D.I.Y. philosophy. I made Z.A.F. on a domestic camcorder to show that you can make a movie with what you have to hand. The great film directors of the past, whose films we still enjoy and turn to for inspiration, did not obsess about the specifics of their equipment. Ideas are the most important technology of a film.



Who are your influences as a director? Who are the people you admire?

 My earliest film memories are watching films by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger on BBC2 and when I was older watching European films like Wajda’s “Ashes and Diamonds” and American film noirs that ran on TV as late night movies. Then came home video and access to American and European movies that weren’t being shown on British TV. Getting to see movies by Abel Ferrara, Dario Argento and David Lynch had a big impact on me. The film that changed me and made me want to be a film director was Cammell and Roeg’s “Performance”, which I still think is an extraordinary film.

 It’s an incredible film, and one that kind of defies categorisation. What kind of a movie would you say Z.A.F. is?

Horror-Noir, it is something of an unusual hybrid. A friend who I showed a rough cut to described it as “A Matter of Life and Death” meets “The Ipcress File” and “Night of the Living Dead”. I like that.

Not films you would usually put together!
 Exactly. This is my first film and when you don’t have the technology or capital to put into it, you have to find a way to make people sit up and watch.

 I know a little of the process you went through in making this, but on screen it feels very complete. Now obviously this is not what making films is like. What was the most challenging aspect of making Z.A.F.?

 We were very generously given access to all our locations completely free of charge. However, we were only given access for a limited amount of time, basically three Saturdays, 8am – 5pm. This meant having to shoot quickly. This was particularly the case with the aerodrome, where we only had half a day. The other key problems were the restrictions I’d placed upon myself by only shooting with a camcorder. The biggest problem was using just the internal mic to capture all of the live sound.

 Sure. A domestic camcorder is for recording baby’s first word, not making horror-noirs.

 It was a challenge, but what I learnt has been invaluable. I’m sure looking back in a few years there are things I would like to change, perhaps even now, but Z.A.F. stands as a piece of work that reflects my interests at the time and is important to me for that reason.

 Fun as well as challenging?

  Getting to meet a lot people, who I’d never come into contact with, all of who gave without expecting anything in return, was fun. When you tell complete strangers you’re making a film I was surprised by how many people drop everything to be involved. A number of our actors stepped in at the last moment and were totally happy to don contact lenses and an RAF uniform and be covered in make up and blood.

 The costumes are impressive. Very evocative of a certain post WWII era.

 That was really an aim and where a lot of the money went. Much of the mise en scene has been carefully staged to create the atmosphere you just described. A lot of the scenery, not just costumes are of the time. eBay was a great help!

 Debuts are notoriously hard. How did you go about getting the film “off the ground “?

 After writing an initial treatment for Z.A.F I gave it to a close friend of mine who had quite a bit of experience in the industry from the point of view of scriptwriting. He asked a number of questions about the story, which I didn’t have any answers for so I then went away rewrote the treatment and turned out a 20 page script. All the time I was writing I was conscious of the fact that I had a limited budget and would need to reflect that in settings and character choices. The project is entirely self-funded.

 How long did it take to make the film from pre-production to final cut?

 The whole process from beginning to end from pre-production has taken almost exactly a year.

I read that Spielberg made Munich, from day one to completion in six months. I don’t know how true that it, but it makes me realise the importance of more help next time!

Plus, he’s got a little experience!

 And more than one domestic camcorder!

 You’re now going to send Z.A.F. around festivals, which I guess leaves some creative space. What’s next?

 Like most filmmakers, I’ve got a number of projects in development at the moment, but those at the top of the queue are a supernatural period piece I’m currently working on with one of my writing partners and I’m also developing two other short films.

A shot from the next Fausti_films project

Creating the Fausti_Films’ look!

At Fausti_films we pride ourselves on the authentic look and feel of our productions.

Right from the beginning we have recognised that obtaining original costuming and props adds to the feel and credibility of our films. This post examines how we obtain props and costumes and some of the challenges this creates. 

ZAF Zombies

For Z.A.F. it was important to obtain medical and Military uniforms commensurate with the time period of the film. Ultimately this meant a trawl around the markets and vintage stores in Berlin, Brussels and London’s Brick Lane.

Getting dressed in Style

Real RAF uniforms of the period, were used which meant that some of our actors had to follow a strict exercise and diet regime to fit in their costumes! 

Authentic uniform were used in ZAF

Where possible, real uniforms were used, however some were bought new-or especially created – for the production. Director Michael Fausti; “The pre-production time, and budget, spent sourcing the uniforms and props ensures that Z.A.F. allows the viewer to enter an older, more sinister, time period.”

A nurse on set

This attention to detail has been a feature of Fausti Films from the very start. In the first production, ‘Dying Seconds’police uniforms were sourced from the US to re-create Alameda County, CA. USA 

cop uniform

The upcoming short is, of course, true to the Fausti tradition. This time the costumes were easier to source…..a ‘Paul Smith’ sui, boiler suits and balacavas.”Yes, wardrobe had an easier time on this shoot” jokes Michael Fausti! 

At the end of the day… Attention to detail matters!!

Location Matters at Fausti_Films

As any horror or film fan will tell you, location can be make or break for a film. At Fausti_films we have been privileged to source some excellent filming locations. Read about it in this post.

Our first short, set in a High School in Alameda County in the US, provided a few challenges. Luckily we got permission to film in a College in North London during the weekend breaks. This meant for authentic locations…and a quiet set!    


For the next Film Z.A.F in 2014, location would prove more of an issue. Set on an airfield base, understandably we had issues sourcing locations. Thankfully Panshanger Areodrome in Hertfordshire came to the rescue and Z.A.F. became the last film to be shot there before its sad closure. The team made use of authentic World War Two aircraft hangers on the shoot.  

Following the success of Z.A.F the Fausti_Films team set themselves the challenge of being the first crew to shoot an entire short film shot on a balcony. So off to Canning Town and stunning views from the London O2 dome to the Olympic Park for the filming of ‘The Pyramid’. On a clear, but freezing, March evening in 2016. This film is currently in Post Production  so…watch this space.

So, what next for Fausti_Films? 

Well, some filming on a new project ‘Dead Celebrities’ happened in Portugal in April 2016… Filming for this will continue in 2016 taking us to Paris and Belgium. 

Plus… There’s the on-going shooting of a period film, shot on location in Hertfordshire… But we have to wait for minus temperatures to get more shots like the stunning one below!  


Dying seconds -See the full short film here

A special treat for you all now. See the first short from Michael Fausti and Fausti_Films. Let us know what you think! 

Dying Seconds-Soon to be Released! 

After much debate, it has been decided to release ‘Dying Seconds’ for public viewing. 

This early Fausti Film Classic tells the story of an Alameda County Cop on a call to a break in at a local high school…but, as is often the case, things are not always what they seem!!   

Filmed in Southgate, London in 2013, this was one of the first films from the Fausti Films crew. 

Make up effects were by Michael Fausti himself as you can see from this behind the scenes picture.  
Have a look for the link to the film and be one of the first to see it!!  Let us what you think on Twitter @Fausti_Films or on our Facebook page at Facebook/Fausti_Films

See the Z.A.F. Trailer Here

Whilst it still on the festival circuit since its premier At Mexico’s Post Mortem International Horror & Bizarre Film Festival we won’t be releasing Z.A.F. For the foreseeable future…. 


So just to whet your appetite, here’s a trailer for you:

Z.A.F. Festival trailer


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