SA’s first zom­bie film comes home

CityPress - - News -

The US sci-fi horror film Para­nor­mal Ac­tiv­ity was fa­mously made on a bud­get of $15 000 (R227 279) and made a whop­ping fives times that fig­ure dur­ing its open­ing week­end in 2007.

A bit closer to home, direc­tor Tim Greene raised R1 mil­lion through crowd­fund­ing to make his 2004 flick, A Boy Called Twist.

Last year, a pair of South African film mak­ers, Howard James Fyvie and Greg Kriek, went even more shoe­string in the bud­get depart­ment – spend­ing R50 000 to make their African zom­bie road trip movie, Last Ones Out.

Fyvie, who also pro­duced the film, which had its world premier at this week’s Dur­ban In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, quit his job to make the movie. It turned out to be worth it.

In a no­to­ri­ously ex­pen­sive busi­ness – the av­er­age South African film costs be­tween R10 mil­lion and R30 mil­lion to make – Fyvie and his co-pro­ducer and ac­tor, Kriek, had lit­tle hope of pulling it off.

How­ever, Fyvie’s plea for help on YouTube was an­swered by cam­era op­er­a­tor Timmy Henny, a friend who of­fered his ser­vices free for 13 days.

Not re­ally enough, as most films are shot over six to 12 weeks, but it was a start.

Next up, they had to find a team that would work long hours for 13 days with­out pay, be­cause they could only af­ford to of­fer their ac­tors food. Un­be­liev­ably, the team did.

“Once peo­ple dis­cover that the film had been made with the mirac­u­lous amount of R50 000, they sim­ply can’t be­lieve it,” says Fyvie, adding that most peo­ple burst out laugh­ing when told.

All that free labour paid off. Last Ones Out, fa­mous for be­ing South Africa’s first zom­bie flick, was se­lected by the Na­tional Film and Video Foun­da­tion last year to go to the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val as part of the South African show­case.

Last Ones Out is the story of four strangers who team up to jour­ney across zom­bie-in­fested Africa, try­ing to stay alive. Word from the crit­ics is that it’s slick and likely to hit the sweet spot with film lovers.

The same team is now work­ing on a new project, this time with a “big bud­get”, says Fyvie.

“We are cur­rently ap­ply­ing to the KwaZulu-Na­tal Film Com­mis­sion for a big-bud­get ac­tion com­edy about a film crew that gets lost in the jun­gle.

“It’s set to be a hi­lar­i­ous mix­ture of Tropic Thun­der and Spinal Tap,” he ex­plains.

Mavuso – Pre­cious

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