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Interview With Andy Edwards Writer And Director Of Ibiza Undead
By James Whittington, Friday 26th August 2016
Many are heading towards Discovery Screen 1 today for the world premiere of Ibizi Undead, the first feature from Andy Edwards. We chatted to Andy about this much talked about gut-muncher and what plans he has for the future.
HC: Are you a zombie movie fan?
AE: Totally! I think the first zombie movie I saw was the original Dawn of the Dead late night on TV as a kid and I've been hooked ever since.
HC: Did Ibiza Undead take long to write and what inspired you to write it?
AE: I'd made a series of short films called Houseparty of the Dead which dealt with the zombie apocalypse in London from various angles. They were super low budget and mainly shot in the various flats I lived in, but the unifying theme was that when trapped by the zombie threat outside, the characters just wanted to party. And so for my first feature I wanted to stick with what I knew - the interplay between zombies and drunk people. During a chat with one of the actors on Houseparty 6 (Mr Brad Moore, who, along with some of the other actors in the series has gone onto a great acting career), we brainstormed where the ultimate houseparty location would be. And so Ibiza Undead was born!
The initial draft didn't take that long to write but the project has been through various producers, so there were plenty of rewrites before ending up with what you seen on screen!
HC: Though a comedy it does have some very thoughtful and subtle moments, did you find this was important to keep the film grounded?
AE: It's obviously a fun Friday-night type of film - I think people might be a bit disappointed if a film called Ibiza Undead was a dark examination of the human condition - but I knew I wanted some genuine emotion in amongst the carnage. Throughout the film, we get some real emotional moments with each of our main characters, which will help the audience relate to them and care about their fate. These moments also give the audience a breather in between all the zombie chaos.
HC: Were any of the characters based on people you actually know and have you partied in Ibiza before?
AE: In a word - yes. I did go on a "lads" holiday to Ibiza in my youth - with a bunch of guys who I think couldn't sue me for libel if I said they were nerds - so the idea of some kids not really cut out for partying in Ibiza was very much autobiographical. I wrote the script based on some of those experiences (well, partly - there were no actual zombies) but I was worried that Ibiza may have changed since then. But coincidentally my younger brother then had a stag-do in Ibiza a few months before the shoot - so I was able to combine bar crawls with location scouting. I discovered Ibiza really hadn't changed that much since my mis-spent youth, so I didn't have to alter the script too much, and some of the stag-do t-shirts have made it into the film!
HC: Did it take long to cast?
AE: Not really - we had a lot of interest once we started looking - I like to think it was down to the excellent script, but the three weeks shooting in Ibiza may have helped!
HC: How did you get Alex Zane to do a cameo?
AE: Alex is actually a good friend of mine - we both used to work at indie radio station Xfm a few years back. And I knew Alex was a massive zombie fan - he actually has a cameo (as a zombie) in both Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake and Romero's Land of the Dead, so Ibiza Undead completes his zombie trilogy.
HC: This is your first full length feature as a director, how nervous were you the first day in set?
AE: Our first day's shoot was on a boat, so I think I was more seasick than nervous. What I do remember is saying to all the cast and crew that if we can't enjoy making a zombie movie in Ibiza, then we're all in the wrong job - and even though it was hard work, I think we did all have a lot of fun.
HC: Did you shoot it all on location?
AE: Yeah, the majority of the film was shot in Ibiza, with a couple of days in London. That came with a lot of challenges, but it pays off with a unique setting for a zombie movie.
HC: The effects are really cool, were most practical ones and completed on set?
AE: Like every horror fan, I'm a big fan of practical effects, so where budget and time allowed we did as much practical stuff as we could. The effects were designed and built by Dan Martin and his team. Dan's a genius, who's worked on everything from Prometheus to the Human Centipede 2, and who currently does a lot of the practical effects work for Ben Wheatley. He was great in making my visions real - and always added his own twisted imagination to proceedings.
HC: Ibiza Undead is getting its world premiere at FrightFest, how nervous are you about this and will you watch with the audience?
AE: I'm a regular attendee of Frightfest myself, so I think if any audience will appreciate the film, it should be the Frightfest crowd. I'll be in the screening, but I'll be watching the audience rather than the screen to see how they react! Hopefully they'll react positively as I'm doing a Q&A afterwards and don't want to be facing a room full of angry horror fans who wished they'd watched a Korean werewolf movie or whatever else is on the other Frightfest screens.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
AE: I'm currently working on another film about the undead in a party location - but of a different flavour. The film is called The Vampires Of Soho and should start shooting early next year. I'll be posting updates on twitter at @vampiresofsoho so everyone get following that to join in the bloodbuzz. Other projects in development include a modern-day folk horror called Hackney Witch, and a deaf-werewolf movie called Silence of the Moon in collaboration with deaf-filmmaker Samuel Dore.
HC: Andy Edwards, thank you very much.
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