PARK CITY, Utah (CP) _ Andrew Currie was busy packing for his first trip to the Sundance film festival on Sunday as he took a moment to pinch himself.
"I am just so thrilled, I can’t believe it," Currie, 44, said before heading to the airport to board a flight from Vancouver to Utah, where his delightful zombie flick, "Fido," was to have a midnight U.S. premiere at Sundance.
"It’s a new experience and pretty amazing. Sundance represents the very best in independent film; I mean it’s the ultimate festival for an independent filmmaker, so for me this is really a dream come true."
The film, a funny and stylish take on the zombie genre starring Carrie-Anne Moss and Scottish comic Billy Connolly, had a media screening earlier Sunday. It was greeted with belly-laughs by the assembled crowd of film writers, just as it was when it had its North American premiere at the Toronto film festival in September.
The film goes into general release in March, and Canadian film industry types have high hopes that it could strike box office gold.
It deserves to.
Beautifully shot in B.C. and crisply edited, the script, co-written by Currie, is sharp and intelligent satire with unexpected heart at its core. And Connolly, in particular, is priceless as the title character in the comedy set in the Pleasantville-esque town of Willard in the 1950s.
Following a stardust-related outbreak of zombies and a bitterly fought war against the not-quite-dead, a sinister corporation called ZomCon has come up with the ultimate solution. Forget about wiping out all the walking dead: instead, the ZomCon brass, lead by a hilariously menacing Henry Czerny, decides to slap control collars on the zombies and have them work as slaves for the living.
Trouble ensues when little Timmy Robinson, played by sweet-faced K’Sun Ray, becomes attached to his household’s zombie while his mother, a neglected housewife played by Carrie-Anne Moss, finds herself oddly attracted to Fido, rotting flesh and all.
Connolly, shuffling and wailing with glee, plays Fido with no small amount of joy, the trademark Connolly twinkle in his eye throughout. His facial expressions alone caused many in the media screening to burst into laughter.
"Isn’t he fantastic?" Currie says with a laugh. "He was just so into it, and so much fun to work with."
In an interview last fall, Connolly returned the compliment.
"It’s a lovely film," he said in November. "It is a beauty. It was such fun to do with such smashing actors _ Carrie-Anne Moss and Dylan Barker and everybody."
Currie, a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s director’s lab program, has directed a number of short features and made his feature-film debut with "Mile Zero" six years ago. Of all the many things Currie said he was looking forward to during his trip to Sundance _ snowboarding among them in the mountains surrounding this picturesque ski resort _ it’s the chance to get acquainted with other independent filmmakers that most excited him.
"What’s great about Sundance is that there’s this merging of all these independent filmmakers and it gives you the chance to talk to one another and bounce ideas off one another. That’s the coolest part of all."