He admits it could be controversial, but an Espanola high school teacher turned film maker wants to combine First Nations and zombies. Jayson Stewart plans to shoot a trailer this summer. He joined us by phone with more details
Posted: January 12, 2015
by Rocco Frangione
Espanola High School teacher Jayson Stewart has a casting call out for a movie he’s shooting this summer. It’s a zombie film called REZilience (formerly Darkest Dawn). It involves a plane landing in an area overrun with aboriginal residents who were turned into zombies as the result of a racist experiment. Stewart is holding auditions at Music and Film in Motion Offices on Larch Street in Sudbury this Friday. He has another round going on in Massey at the Training Centre on January 24th. For more information go to www.judgementfilms.com.
By JESSICA BROUSSEAU
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 12:05:06 EST PM
Local man, Jayson Stewart, is hosting a casting call for all thespians.
“This is the first time I have directed a film project of this size,” Stewart said.
He has experience in media production as he worked with groups at Espanola High School with Spartan Youth Radio and is the media arts teacher.
Stewart is directing the zombie political thriller The Darkest Dawn; Descent, a film about a man named Victor “Doc” Murdouch who is training young pilot Dwayne Peltier to fly contraband materials in and out of Serpent River Lake Reserve. Unfortunately, unlike the trips Doc has taken in the past, their flight has them touch down in a land overrun by the “Aboriginal undead, the result of a racist military experiment gone horrible wrong.”
As for the type of the film, Stewart says he is a lover of the zombie genre.
“I feel there are so many stories that can be played alongside the familiar undead story,” he said. “In the Darkest Dawn, we are going gritty and dark, realistic and political with a very strong pro-First Nations message behind the final project.”
Stewart is using George Romero as an inspiration for not just the zombie aspect (Romero is known for Night of the Living Dead), he is also well known for making political statements in his movies.
“I thought that the struggles of Canada’s First Nations aren’t represented enough in film, there are a lot of parallels between survival in a zombocalypse and survival against colonization,” Stewart said.
“As a teacher of Aboriginal studies at Espanola High School, I have learned a lot over the years and the more I learn, the more people I meet; and the more I listen to the stories of the elders and activists, the more I wanted to help tell those stories.”
However, Stewart is looking to film roughly 10 minutes of the film, a dark taste of what is to come.
“What we are filming this summer is only a teaser, the opening scene for the full length film. In it, all major actors are First Nations, the outbreak happens on a far north fly-in-only reserve and the heroes will rely on traditional and modern knowledge to survive.”
The preview is set to begin filming in either July or August of this year, and will take three to five days.
Stewart is looking for three main leads for the roles of Victor “Doc” Murdouch, age 40 to 70; Dwayne Peltier, age 20 to 25; and Gary Trudel, over the age of 30.
Three background roles also need to be filled. A male and female homesteader, both in their 30s to 40s and of Aboriginal decent as well as a child under the age of 10.
Fifteen other people will be chosen to play zombies.
Stewart is looking to shine the spotlight on local talent for this film.
Live auditions for the film will take place at the Ambassador Hotel, located at 225 Falconbridge Road in Sudbury, on Jan. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. And Jan. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A second set of auditions will occur at the Training Center in Massey on Jan. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Video auditions will also be accepted up to the end of January and can be emailed to LIJfilms@gmail.com. If the file is to big, Stewart asks that it be uploaded to a non-password protected YouTube link.
Those interested in either forms of auditioning are required to send a JPEG pictures of their head and body, as well as their full name, date of birth, contact number(s), height and weight.
An indiegogo will be launched in February, once the casting is complete to help raise money for the film, Stewart said.
For more information on the movie visit: www.judgementfilms.com.
Stewart is also in the film Black Forest, which will premier on Jan. 31 at Sudbury Secondary School, in the Sheridan Auditorium.