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ACE Hardware employee may lose job battling zombies

11:02 AM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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A group of area college students thought they'd offer some advice, making a film that beat out more than 8,000 entries, for the honor of playing this week at the Sundance film festival. But not everyone is pleased with the production.

The short film, 'When the Zombies Come' was primarily filmed at an ACE Hardware store in Lawrenceville, featuring employee Alex Warner.

Throughout the nine minute documentary, Warner makes his case for why the store would be an excellent spot to combat a hypothetical zombie attack.

Near the end, the film does call some customers stupid, and nursing home residents easy targets. But overall it compliments ACE for being so well stocked and the Lawrenceville location particularly, for its access to food, medicine, repair parts and ammunition.

Hurst and Warner say viewers have to remember it's a film and wasn't meant to be taken seriously.

"I think it's funny. It's a documentary with funny tensions," said Hurst.

But ACE Hardware has yet to catch on to the joke. The company posted a cease and desist letter on Youtube, accusing Hurst of potentially damaging ACE's reputation and trademark infringement.

"They have taken about every route possible to try to get this taken down," said Warner.

Hurst did take the film down temporarily, but has since reposted his entry.

It's not that ACE is anti-zombie. Several stores have marketed their own zombie survival kits. But according to a company Facebook post, ACE views this film differently:

Ace Hardware was not aware that a deplorable video encouraging violent behavior was produced and we did not approve the use of our brand or store in the filming of that video. We are aghast and outraged that these individuals used our nationally recognized brand in this film. This video does not in any way represent Ace Hardware and the thousands of hardworking Ace employees that are knowledgeable, friendly and dedicated to serving Ace customers. We are making every effort to remove this video from all online sources. We greatly value our customers as well as our "helpful" brand image and are deeply offended by the content of this video.

A spokesperson for ACE said the company had specific issue with the images of an employee on the roof showcasing several weapons.

"It was not meant to cause harm to anybody. It was not meant to cause harm to the ACE store that I worked at. I actually love the owners," said Warner.

Despite those kind words, and the fact Warner says he shot the film on his free time, the store has repotedly taken him off the schedule indefinitely. ACE would not comment on his future employment status.

Warner says he was trying to help his friend Jon Hurst, the director. He made the film for a class at Georgia State, before entering it in Sundance.

The film festival gives awards, determined in part by how many people watch the film on YouTube. Because Hurst took his video down temporarily he says he's now behind in the numbers. But says the executive director of 'The Walking Dead', did retweet a link to it.

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