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Victoria Film Festival: Canadian opening gala - A Little Bit Zombie

By MARY ELLEN GREEN
February 1, 2012 · 1:41 PM
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Director Casey Walker provides a protein-rich snack for Kristopher Turner who plays the lead role of Steve in A Little Bit Zombie, premiering at the 2012 Victoria Film Festival. / Kevin CW Wong

A man has a lot of things on his mind a week before his wedding, but eating brains isn’t usually one of them.

What happens when a mild-mannered human resources manager named Steve gets bit by a mosquito carrying a zombie virus the weekend before his wedding? He becomes A Little Bit Zombie.

The Canadian Opening Gala film is making its world premiere at the Victoria Film Festival, Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Odeon Theatre (Theatre 2).

It will screen a second time (at the same theatre) Sunday, Feb. 5 at 2:45 p.m.

The film is billed as a rom-zom-com; that is, romantic zombie comedy, but director Casey Walker could add another genre twist to that equation. “It’s about a wedding, but it’s not really romantic because we’re a bunch of guys. I think we made more of a bromantic comedy,” he says with a chuckle.

It’s also an homage to the horror genre, with tributes to individual filmmakers, says Walker. “It was a chance to show my love for the genre.”

From the looks of the trailer, this movie is sure to be as entertaining for fans of the zombie genre as for those just looking for a good laugh.

“We layered the laughs,” says Walker. “I want people to watch it three times and get something different every time.”

Three years before A Little Bit Zombie went to camera, Walker met writers Christopher Bond and Trevor Martin who pitched him their idea. He liked it immediately.

He eventually moved the project he was currently working on to the back burner and focused all his attention — and the financing for the previous project — on A Little Bit Zombie, his first feature film.

The financing came from mymilliondollarmovie.com, a groundbreaking website Walker founded in 2006 that sold thousands of single frames of his finished movie for $10 each. In return, the buyer also gets an associate producer credit on the final product.

Shot in June 2011, this cabin-in-the-woods movie was filmed an hour north of Sudbury, Ont., over a 24-day period.

“I knew what I was getting into,” says Walker, who grew up in Thunder Bay. “But cast and crew didn’t really know what black fly and mosquito season is really like. It added to the craziness. It’s like method acting. All insects you see in the movie are real.”

Lead Kristopher Turner (who plays Steve) says he’s never had more fun at work.

“It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a film set, without a doubt. But, at the same time, it was one of the most difficult, too,” he says.

“I was in makeup for 80 per cent of the movie, and progressively more as the zombie takes over.”

Because of Steve’s penchant for brain sashimi, Turner often found himself putting interesting “foods” in his mouth.

“A typical day on the set was ‘OK, what is Kristopher going to put in his mouth today?’” says Turner.

Usually it ended up being some sort of gelatinous ramen-noodle-and-icing-sugar concoction with “other more or less edible things inside.” Sounds tasty.

But it wasn’t the mosquitos or the makeup that drew Turner to the project — it was the script in general.

“I was only a few pages into it and I called up my agent and said I want to get in on it,” says Turner. “I love the style of comedy, it’s the kind I want to be working on in this point in my career.”

Turner says the opportunity to do some physical comedy, including silly chase scenes, jumping off cliffs and slamming various body parts in  car doors was “something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.”

The film also stars Crystal Lowe (Tina), Shawn Roberts (Craig), Kristen Hager (Sarah), Emilie Ullerup (Penelope), Robert Maillet (Terry) and TV and film veteran Stephen McHattie as Shotgun Max the zombie hunter. M

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