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Chief Zabu
Chief Zabu

On the eve of the Presidential election, the 31st Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLiFF) aptly presents the East Coast Premiere of the audacious socio-political comedy, Chief Zabu. Co-directors Howard Zuker and Neil Cohen will attend two screenings of the film on November 7, 6 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso, 2008 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, FL and 7:45 p.m.at Savor Cinema, 503 SE 6 Street in Fort Lauderdale, which is followed by “The Zabu Stomp Party” in the John Mager Courtyard.

General admission is $11 per person and FREE to those who wear an “I Voted” sticker.

“Compellingly relevant to the present and eerily resonant with the inanity of current Presidential politics, [Chief Zabu] the tale of a sleazy real estate developer over-his-head in an international scam is funny and satirical but never over the top.” – says KCRW film critic and Professor and Dean Emeritus at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Robert Rosen.

In 1986 Howard Zuker and Neil Cohen directed their first and only film, Chief Zabu, about some New York real estate operators who scheme to take over a Polynesian country while its leader is in New York seeking admission to the UN. As the businessmen imagine a life of tropical ease and wealth, the testing of French nuclear weapons in the South Pacific ensures that things do not go as planned.

After a series of snafus that paralleled the film’s madcap plot, and despite featured coverage of its production in Life Magazine, Chief Zabu was never completed, distributed, nor publicly shown.

Now, 30 years later, inspired by the rise of Donald Trump, the first-time directors have finally finished their film about a realtor with a dream of political influence: the never-before-seen Chief Zabu.

Chief Zabu features a cast of legendary character actors – Allen Garfield (The Conversation), Zack Norman (Romancing the Stone), Allan Arbus (Putney Swope), Marianna Hill (The Godfather: Part 2), Manu Tupuo (Hawaii), Ed Lauter (The Longest Yard), Shirley Stoler (Seven Beauties), plus the harp-playing “Miss California,” Lucianne Buchanan. Set in Manhattan, The Hudson Valley, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and the fictional island nation of Tiburaku, CHIEF ZABU was shot almost entirely on a college campus, in 15 days, for under $187,966 (with the cast, crew, and student interns all living together in the dorms).

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