Award Winning International Feature Film
Fully self-funded, written, produced and directed by Peter and Michael Spierig, Comedy/horror film Undead instigated a resurgence in the genre not seen in Australian cinema since the 1980s. Following its success other horror films such as Wolf Creek, Acolytes, The Horseman, and the Saw franchise continued the trend.
Made on a shoestring budget, the success of Undead can be attributed in no small way to the hard work of the many people involved who helped Peter and Michael achieve their vision. Of the main cast, Mungo McKay, Felicity Mason, Rob Jenkins, Lisa Cunningham and Emma Randall are Actors Workshop graduates. Independent film-making poses many challenges, however on Undead these challenges proved to be the glue that would keep this group together and foster life-long friendships for all involved.
Many people are quick to dismiss the comedy/horror genre as lesser films than their dramatic counterparts, but they are undeniably unique in their expression, and certainly have a large audience. Following its Australian Theatrical release in 2003, Undead quickly became one of Australia’s most successful independent film exports and has since achieved cult status. It sold and screened in over 35 territories worldwide, including the United States where Lions Gate Films bought it and released it in cinemas there in 2005. The film screened at many film festivals around the world, including in 2003 the Catalonian International Film Festival, Sitges where it was nominated for Best Film, and Fantasporto Film Festival in Protugal where it was also nominated for Best Film. The same year it received Official Selection at the World’s premiere festival – the Toronto International Film Festival where it screened as part of the midnight madness programme. Back home in 2004 it won Independent Rental Title of The Year.
As well as the main cast, many Workshoppers were involved in the making of the film in other capacities including Lyn Kidd(Casting) Rob Doran(1st Assistant Director) Chintamani Aked(Costume and Make-up) Kris Maric(2nd Assistant Director) SuzMawer(2ndAssistant Director) Ann Winson(2nd Assistant Director) Gaynor Wensley, Peter Mensforth, Brad Sherrif, Tim Dickenson, Robyn Moore, Robert Jozinovic, William King and Michele Steele (all actors).
When Undead screened at our own Brisbane International Film Festival in 2003 it became the fastest sell-out in the festival’s history. The success of Undead helped secure the Spierig Brothers relationship with Lions Gate Films who were the major financers of their second Feature film Daybreakers.
Even with very little money Undead is a testament to what is achievable with the dedication and support of many like-minded people with a passion for storytelling and a commitment to their local industry.
In 2003 Undead received one of its highest compliments when it won the prestigious Fipresci Prize (International critics prize) at the Melbourne International Film Festival for “Daring to be every-thing Australian films are not supposed to be, part of a popular, disreputable genre. We commend it as an entertainment that is also political, while showing the pleasures of hands on film-making.”