A couple of years ago I was showing my film 'Pixacillus' at a bar screening alongside a number of other shorts. In the intermission a very tall man with a goatee beard pushed through the crowd to introduce himself. This was my first meeting with Rhys Davis.
A few months later, I bumped into him again at a zombie makeup workshop at the old Phoenix in Leicester. I learned that he and writer Kris Tearse were working on a full-length zombie movie. Would I like to be a zombie in the movie? he asked. Yes, I said. Of course.
But when the call came, it wasn't to be a zombie. They were looking for someone to play a doctor. A speaking rather than a groaning part.
A word here about timescales. Movies are usually shot in a month or two. You get everyone together, plan your schedule carefully and you work day after day until it is done. Rhys and Kris had devised a different approach.
By writing the movie so the bulk of it takes place inside an evacuation centre, and by securing weekend use of some large buildings at De Montfort University, they made it possible to shoot on odd days through the year - without worrying about the massive continuity problems that would have arisen through trees losing their leaves etc had they been shooting outside.
Thus Zombie Undead was shot on occasional weekend days over a 2 year period. On that basis, cast and crew volunteered their time. I don't know what the eventual budget was, but we must be talking less than Avatar spent on paperclips.
Tonight it premiers at Phoenix Square.
Huge congratulations to Kris and Rhys. It is a massive achievement.