BURK’S FALLS – Almaguin’s zombies have been making their rounds.
“Lots of locals were involved, lurching around the Tim Horton’s parking lot,” said local filmmaker Lewis Hodgson of the troop of wannabe zombies used in his newly award-winning movie short.
Hodgson’s mini flick Morning Zombies took the award for best short-length film at Film North in Huntsville on Sept. 22. The following day, the film was awarded the Northern Flicks Award at Sudbury’s Cinefest.
“These are the first two that we entered,” said Hodgson of the film fest double-win. “We’re going to celebrate by entering more festivals.”
Morning Zombies is a six-minute comedy that follows a new trainee as he rallies with other coffee shop employees to take a stand against a never-ending horde of zombies.
Hodgson, who wrote, directed and starred in the film, said he came up with the concept while out on a casual drive with his 15-year-old son.
“We were trying to come up with ideas for a film that wouldn’t take a lot of time or money to make,” explained Hodgson.
Filming of the short took place at the Tim Hortons in Burk’s Falls and a Coffee Time in North Bay. Hodgson said he likes to use as many locals as possible in his work.
At Film North, Hodgson was up against works submitted from all over the world, including 31 from Canada.
Among the entries was another local artist. Jim Calarco entered his Depression-era film One Wish, which was presented Saturday morning.
Hodgson said receiving a positive reaction from his industry peers and moviegoers means the most.
“It’s a nice way to bolster your self-esteem. It’s good to know you’re doing well at what you love to do,” he said.
Hodgson was in the theatre during the screening and said the audience’s reaction to Morning Zombies was perfect.
“It was exactly how we wanted it to go,” he said. “They laughed when they were supposed to laugh.”
His zombie short was the first piece Hodgson wrote and directed. But his next production, Boys will be Boys, is currently in the editing phase.
“It’s a lighthearted coming of age drama about a boy discovering girls,” said Hodgson. The short film was shot in North Bay.
The next step for Morning Zombies is entry into the Barrie Film Festival in October and the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival in December.
“It’s not a given thing that we will be presented our film there,” explained Hodgson. “The entries have to be juried and then we have to wait for an invitation.”
Hodgson said, for now, Morning Zombies won’t be available for viewing online because he wants to support as many film festivals as possible by entering the film.
“It’s good to get people to attend and support film festivals,” he said. “Without festivals we wouldn’t have the platform to be seen by so many people and to share and network with others in the industry. It’s important to keep that going.”