Former Locals Turn “Zombie”

By Jennifer Thurbide

It was a “hometown throwdown” last spring on the movie set of the recently premiered romantic comedy A Little Bit Zombie (ALBZ) as two former classmates from Red Lake District High School met up for the first time professionally.

Shot in Sudbury during summer 2011, the making of the new film marked the first time photographer and Assistant Art Director Harriet Carlson and actor Kristen Hager have worked on the same project, however Carlson says it was only a matter of time.

“The film world is pretty small, so I assumed we’d cross paths sooner or later,” Carlson noted when discussing the project last year. The designer has spent the last three years working in the art department of Cart Blanche Films out of Ottawa. Hager has been racking up film credits across North America for projects such as Leslie: My Name is Evil, Sorority Wars and Ties that Bind and is currently co-starring in an FX series Being Human.

“It was great to have a hometown throwdown,” said Carlson of the experience. “We talked about high school, families and friends…and how we were both looking forward to getting home. The producers figured Kristen would be ‘fine with all the mosquitos’ since she was from Red Lake. I wasn’t sure that’d be true. The bugs at Kukagami (outside Sudbury, where we shot) were way worse than what we are treated to here in Red Lake.”

ALBZ made its world premiere at the Victoria Film Festival in British Columbia on February 4th. While promoting the project Canadian Director Casey Walker said the film was partially funded through the website, which raised $85,000, and contributions from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund for shooting in Sudbury, Ontario.

“Casey was building the crew with as many northern Ontario people as possible. He hired the production designer, Peter Mihaichuk and Peter built his art team from there, hiring me,” said Carlson of how she became involved in the project. “As part of the art department Carlson says her role was to assist with all set and props including brainstorming, building, sourcing, searching, buying, and setting up and taking down sets.”

Talking to the Northern Sun News as the film went into post production Walker said the crew would be doing their best to bring a screening to the district in the future. When asked what his impressions were of the two local girls Walker exclaimed “Kristen and Harriet are AWESOME! I had so much fun collaborating with them and can’t wait to do it again!”

With the film completed and about to air in small, independent theatres across the country Carlson and Hager both continue to pursue their careers in the arts industry. Carlson’s project Red Lake: An Exhibition featuring a collection of photographs inspired by the district is set to open at the Art Gallery of Sudbury on March 8th and she is currently working on Season two of Les Bleus de Ramville for TFO and is scheduled to be assistant art director on a crime/drama film River of Lies next fall.

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