The Cast & Crew

Benjamin Busch - "Wane"

Benjamin BuschBenjamin Busch is an actor, writer, director, producer, and photographer. He was born in Manhattan and grew up in rural central New York state. Following his graduation from Vassar College he served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps deploying for two combat tours in Iraq. His written work has been published in Harper's, and was notable in the 2010 Best American Essays anthology. His photographs have been featured in Five Points, Connecticut Review, Photography Quarterly, and War, Literature, & the Arts. As an actor, he is best known for his appearances in Homicide, The Wire, Generation Kill, and The Beast. His first film, Sympathetic Details, came out in 2008 winning numerous international film awards, and his new film as writer/director, BRIGHT, was released in January 2011. His first book is forthcoming from Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. He lives on a farm in Michigan with his wife and two fantastic daughters.




Heather Fairbanks - "Mary"

Heather Fairbanks Heather has spent over 25 years performing in lead roles on stages all over the US and as far away as Tokyo, Japan. In 2013, she was a reoccurring extra appearing on 8 episodes of AMC's TV series Low Winter Sun; and she also appeared in the feature film Christmas Grace. Heather's subtle and authentic performances have earned her praise, as well as lead and supporting roles in 4 upcoming Michigan made feature films: A Horse Called BearThe Parricidal EffectThe Route, and They Cry Unto Me.  Heather will also make brief appearances in Into The StormParts Per Billion; It Follows; Count Time and the TV pilot 12 Monkeys. She is excited to join the cast of Thaw of the Dead as "Mary." This is her first time working with zombies...



Dan Kelly - "Russell"

Dan Kelly HeadshotDan Kelly is a unrepentant polymath and actor for cinema and stage. A New Yorker by birth, he came of age in the dazzling summers of Northern Michigan, where he now lives. As an interactive designer, Kelly received numerous awards and grants for his work in game development and the visual arts. Kelly's theater experience includes leading roles in The Rainmaker, The Fantasticks, The 15 minute Hamlet and Copenhagen. He's co-directed and principled in dance performance both in Michigan and New York City. Kelly has appeared in innumerable narrative and experimental movies and is currently wrapping up a short narrative, Daughter of God, which he wrote and directed.



Director - David Marek

David MarekA native of Traverse City, MI, David Marek received 4 Production Awards and 2 Grants from the University of Colorado while achieving a Dual BA in Creative Writing/Film History and an MFA in Film Production. David has taken 2 short films and his feature film, Somewhere West to 27 film festivals in 3 countries, receiving 9 Best Film Awards and 6 other Awards along with 23 additional nominations. David has taught Film Production at both the University of Colorado and The Interlochen Arts Academy while having produced or worked on 6 feature films, 37 short films and dozens of commercial projects.



Director of Photography - Matthew Dayton

Matthew DaytonMatthew graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A. in Film and Video after completing requirements for multiple emphases including Fiction Filmmaking, Documentary Storytelling, and Cinema Studies. His experience includes shorts docs, short films, music videos, community projects, feature documentaries, an independent narrative, commercials,cooking shows, and numerous projects for the Traverse City Film Festival. He maintains involvement in various freelance work both professional and personal and enjoys reading, writing, photography, and the natural world.



Producer - Cat Muncey

Cat MunceyCat formally studied and majored in English at U of M then applied her knack for story-telling in advertising and marketing. She began her career copywriting ads for Fortune 500 companies and evolved into directing commercials, viral videos, training tutorials, explainer videos and everything in between. Clients she has worked for include Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, United Federal Credit Union, Pet Supplies Plus and Expedia. Recently she launched a kickstarter for her feature film DIVISION and raised over $25,000. 



Director of Visual Effects - Aaron Tackett

Aaron TackettSpecial Makeup FX, Sound Design and Composing are my calling, my passions, and the things that will undoubtedly drive me insane someday. Zombies and hyper realistic wounds are my forte in the makeup department and something that I first discovered I had a knack for at the tender age of 17 when I staged my first fake car accident for the S.A.D.D. program at my high school... I soon graduated to fake plane crashes for disaster preparedness programs in FL, more elaborate prosthetics and zombie work was a natural progression ( I love the genre ). I've also evolved with the technology of the pre-visualization process by utilizing the 3D sculpting program Z Brush, together with Photoshop CS6, to create photo realistic renders, something I call "Digital Prosthetics", that help both myself and the production team maintain a vision.



Art Director - Joseph Shoup

Joseph ShoupJoe Shoup received a double majored in theatre at Western Michigan University Performance and Tech/Design with a focus in Set Design. Attended California Institute of the Arts. I have designed multiple sets locally, most recently Parallel 45 theatre's production of The Shrew.



Assistant Camera/ Audio - DC Hayden

DC HaydenDC has worked on independent features (Humble Pie, 2007, Under the Eightball, 2009), TV programs (Championship Off-Road Racing, SPEED NETWORK), and promotional videos. He earned his B.A. in Cinematography from Brooks Institute of Photography and Cinematography and has worked freelance and with a design firm. During the last 5 years, DC has worked extensively with numerous non-profits in the Grand Traverse area; making videos for non-profits such as Food Rescue of Northwestern Michigan, Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Grand Traverse Chamber of Commerce, Traverse Health Clinic, DTE Energy Foundation, Collectors Foundation, and Bay Area Recycling for Charities.



Conceptual Artists - Dale Crawford

Dale CrawfordDale Crawford is an internationally published illustrator, fine art painter, and portrait artist. Dale acquired a BFA from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. His paintings are included in many private collections, and he has been an exhibitor at the Museum of American Illustration in NYC. Dale has done work for many clients such as MCA Records, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Category 5 Records, Lipton Tea, Campbell Soup, Running Press, Provident Insurance, Giant Merch/Warner Bros., Buster Brown Apparel, Unison Records, Mercury Records, ArtWorks International, C.R. Gibson, and Pfaultscraft. His designs and illustrations have adorned many top selling products for such stores as Barnes & Noble, Borders Books, Costco, and Target.