Canadian genre directors target fanboy audience at Fantasia

After an international festival circuit run, A Little Bit Zombie director/producer Casey Walker says he's hitting the sweet spot with the Montreal audience coming to his Quebec premiere Saturday.
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Having just snagged a U.S. home entertainment distribution deal with Phase Four Films, Casey Walker is looking for a splash this week at the Fantasia International Film Festival to launch his latest film, A Little Bit Zombie (pictured), to fanboys stateside.

“It’s a really big deal for me. My idea for the crowd funding and the web following started in Montreal, so I’m bringing it back full circle,” Walker, director and producer on the project, told Playback after an earlier Canadian DVD release for his rom zom com by Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada.

Walker retained the U.S. theatrical rights to A Little Bit Zombie, which stars Crystal Lowe, Kristopher Turner, Shawn Roberts, Kristin Hager and Stephen McHattie, because Phase Four Films planned no release at the local multiplex.

“It’s a slow burn. They will buy the DVD and watch it a couple times. It could be a college sensation,” he said of the likely American audience for the Canadian pic.

And stirring U.S. buzz about A Little Bit Zombie will pick up pace at Fantasia, whose nerd audience very much lives online, Walker expects.

“Fantasia is no small festival. They’re known as taste-makers in the genre world. And to be given a gala is tremendous,” the Canadian director said.

Also booked into Fantasia is Mike Peterson with Lloyd the Conqueror, which unfolds in the comedic world of Larping, or live action role playing.

“I’ve done a bunch of shorts and docs and had those in various festivals. This is by far the best festival screening that I’ve had to date,” Peterson told Playback, looking ahead to screening his film to a knowledgeable and engaged Fantasia audience.

“They have their stuff together. There’s a big-picture view of the film. The audience is virtually the same as the comic conventions, and better, because it’s solely film,” he explained.

Other Canadian genre titles unspooling at Fantasia includes a Quebec premiere for Hemorrhage, where first-time Edmonton writer/director Braden Croft takes viewers inside the mind of a serial killer who desperately wants to be a good person,  Manborg, from prolific Montreal genre producer Astron-6, and Rob Grant’s blood-soaked comedy Mon Ami.

The Fantasia International Film Festival is set to run to August 9.