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Two Boys With Down Syndrome Raise 68K to Make Movie Dreams Come True

The Short of it

When best friends Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt, two teens with Down syndrome who have shared many hobbies and interests over the years, began writing a zombie movie together, family and friends started a Kickstarter campaign—and raised enough money to make the boys' movie dream a reality

The Low Down

Sam and Mattie, both 19 years old, met nearly 10 years ago while participating in the Special Olympics. They became fast friends, and frquently picked up each others' interests. Four years ago, their hobby was writing a zombie movie.

"They started talking about a zombie movie," says Sam's brother, Jesse Suchmann, told "It was a project that stuck beyond other projects." Titled Sam and Mattie: Teen Zombie Movie, the screenplay is about two bionic half-brothers who fight—yep—zombies. 

In order to make their dream a reality, Jesse Schumann and a friend set up a Kickstarter — and raised nearly $70,000 (well above their initial goal of $50,00) for the film. Since then, additional donations in the form of camera equipment and special effects services have been donated as well.

Last month, the movie was filmed in Providence, and everyone involved hopes it will earn a place in film festivals.

The Upshot

According to Sam, the movie is about facing fears—which should be a call to arms to all of us who are dreaming big dreams and struggling to make moves. (Just do it!) These young man are proving nothing is impossible. As TV producer Suzy Beck, who helped set up the Kickstarter and was involved in the movie's filming last month, said, "It is really important to us that we focus on how they are inspiring everyone. They are just awesome dudes."


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