Film to bring Dunedin alive with the undead

By Nigel Benson

Zoe Hobson and her 4-week-old daughter, Abigail. Abigail will have a cameo part in her mother's zombie film. Photo / Otago Daily Times/Jane Dawber
Zoe Hobson and her 4-week-old daughter, Abigail. Abigail will have a cameo part in her mother's zombie film. Photo / Otago Daily Times/Jane Dawber

Move over hobbits, the zombies are coming.

Dunedin will be taken over by the undead when a zombie film is shot here early next year.

Production company 38 Pictures has been given $250,000 New Zealand Film Commission funding to make a feature film, I Survived a Zombie Holocaust.

More than 250 film projects were tendered for the commission's first Escalator project and the Dunedin film was one of only four - and the only South Island entry - selected for funding.

"I wanted to deliver a New Zealand zombie film that goes somewhere different and that people want to see because it is a lot of fun," 38 Pictures director Zoe Hobson said yesterday.

"We're planning to do a lot of it in the enchanted forest [Truby King Reserve] at Seacliff. It's a fantastic spot and would be perfect for a zombie film."

I Survived a Zombie Holocaust was written in Dunedin by Guy Pigden and Harley Neville and is about a film crew making a zombie movie.

"We had to be clever about making it, as the Escalator programme is all about working with low-budget methodology. So, by being a film about the making of a zombie film, it works well having extras standing around and messy scenes in the background," she said.

Ms Hobson studied theatre at the University of Otago and returned to Dunedin a year ago to join 38 Pictures after working at Maori TV and as an assistant director on Shortland Street.

I Survived a Zombie Holocaust will be shot around Dunedin in March and released in New Zealand and overseas.

"We're looking at casting now. There are about 10 core characters and then we're going to be needing lots of zombie extras," she said.

"The film industry in Dunedin is really growing and building and we need a big project like this to propel things forward. We want to develop a core crew and get students on board and have them learning from experienced operators. That's what builds an industry.

"We want to utilise as many Dunedin people as we can in the cast and crew. All of the $250,000 is going to be spent in Dunedin."

- OTAGO DAILY TIMES

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