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Dunedin overrun with zombies for local film premiere

Sunday 17 Aug 2014 5:22 p.m.

Dunedin has been overrun with zombies this weekend, with a pop culture festival and the premiere of a locally shot feature film.

For the hundreds of extras who took part in the film, the red-carpet experience was a real thriller.

Willing victims got into character as part of the D'undead Festival. It's a weekend devoted to walking corpses, with the highlight being the premiere of a film shot in and around Dunedin.

I Survived a Zombie Holocaust follows what happens when a group of real zombies take over the set of a zombie film, with a young runner the first to realise what's happening.

"Being a filmmaker is a lot harder than he expected, and then the zombies attack," says director Guy Pigden. "So he's got to lead a group of survivors and try and get out of there alive."

The low-budget feature was funded through the Film Commission's Escalator scheme, and is one of Dunedin's biggest films since Scarfies.

"I really sincerely hope that this could be the next Peter Jackson's Brain Dead – you know, Guy Pigden's I Survived A Zombie Holocaust," says actor Harley Neville.

It was largely shot back in 2011, but actress Reanin Johannink still clearly remembers it.

"I actually do," says actress Reanin Johannink. "It's a little bit hard to forget. It was May in Dunedin in the freezing cold, and I was running around half the time in a singlet top."

And there were plenty of willing volunteers keen to dress up as zombies, including Dunedin South MP Clare Curran.

The film had its world premiere last night at the Town Hall, some of the crowd celebrating with a 'Thriller' flash mob.

More than 500 extras from around Dunedin were involved in the film, and this is their chance to see themselves on the big screen.

It's set to play at fantasy film festivals in London and LA, with the aim of hitting New Zealand cinemas in the next few months.

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