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Zombie musical Anna and the Apocalypse to get World Premiere at Fantastic Fest

Published: 09 Aug 2017

Anna and the Apocalypse

Blazing Griffin is excited to announce that Scotland’s coming-of-age zombie musical, Anna and the Apocalypse, will have its World Premiere In Competition at Fantastic Fest, the U.S.’ largest genre film festival held in Austin, TX from September 21 – 28, 2017.

Produced by Naysun Alae-Carew and Nicholas Crum of Blazing Griffin and Tracy Jarvis of Parkhouse Pictures, Anna and the Apocalypse is based on the 2010 BAFTA winning short film Zombie Musical; directed by John McPhail (Where Do We Go From Here); written by Alan McDonald and the late Ryan McHenry; with original music by Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly.

In Anna and the Apocalypse, a zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas – forcing Anna and her high school friends to fight, sing and slash their way to survival with a fast-spreading undead horde in relentless pursuit.

Teaming up with her best friend John, Anna and her crew fight their way through zombified snowmen, a manic bachelor party and high school hormones to try and save family and faculty alike. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and the only people they can truly rely on are each other.

Blazing Griffin’s debut feature offers audiences a rollercoaster of high school angst, terrifying zombies and brilliant songs- Mark Thomas, Creative Scotland

Shot on location in Scotland, the musical comedy stars Ella Hunt (Our Robot Overlords) as Anna, with Mark Benton (The Halcyon) as her father Tony and Paul Kaye (Game of Thrones) as the wicked antagonist Savage. The cast also includes emerging stars Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins and Marli Siu.

Anna and the Apocalypse is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Targeted Screen Fund.  It is Blazing Griffin Pictures’ first feature length film.  AMP International is handling international sales and XYZ Films represents the North American market.

Blazing Griffin’s lead Producer on the project Naysun Alae-Carew said: “We set out to bring Ryan’s concept to life in Anna. The entire team’s dedication to the idea has amazed us and kept us motivated through all the highs and lows that have come with getting the film to its final form.”

Director John McPhail added: “I am so proud of what we have managed to achieve with Anna and the Apocalypse.  Taking on such a mix of genres – musical, comedy, horror, action – all in the one film, was a pretty daunting task but I was lucky to have an amazingly talented team around me to pull off the impossible.”

Mark Thomas, Screen Officer at Creative Scotland said: “Anna and The Apocalypse is a true passion project for the Blazing Griffin team and Creative Scotland is proud to have been part of the journey in realising Ryan McHenry’s unique vision.  Blazing Griffin’s debut feature offers audiences a rollercoaster of high school angst, terrifying zombies and brilliant songs. We would like to congratulate Blazing Griffin and director John McPhail on their forthcoming world premiere at Fantastic Fest.”

Synopsis, cast and crew

When a zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven - at Christmas - Anna and her high school friends have to fight, sing and slash their way to survival with a fast-spreading undead horde in relentless pursuit.

Teaming up with her best friend John, Anna and her crew fight their way through zombified snowmen, a manic bachelor party and high school hormones to try and save family and faculty alike. But they soon discover that no one is truly safe in this new world and the only people they can truly rely on are each other.

Director: John McPhail

Screenplay: Ryan McHenry, Alan McDonald

Starring: Ella Hunt, Mark Benton, Paul Kaye, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins and Marli Siu

Runtime: 107 minutes

Genre: Horror Musical

About Blazing Griffin

Blazing Griffin is a digital entertainment company based in Scotland. Founded in 2011 as a games developer, the company has grown from a team of three to a group of companies working across film and tv production, video game development, and state-of-the-art post-production services with offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

About John McPhail

After nearly six years of working in the camera department John made his first short film; a romantic comedy called Notes. The film picked up the “Best Scottish Film” award at the Bootleg film festival in Edinburgh. Notes has gone on to screen all over the UK and North America, picking up awards including Audience Choice, Best film, Best Director and Best Actor and Best Editing.  

Later that year he released V for Visa and Doug & Steve's Big Holy Adventure. V for Visa went on to win the Best Director accolade at TriBeCa Film Centre in New York as part of the Bootleg Film Festival.

John’s next short Just Say Hi was entered into to the Virgin Media Shorts Competition, winning 2 out of the 3 awards, making him the only director in the competition’s history to win multiple awards. The film was later picked up by the Très Court International Film Festival where it was screened in over 100 cities in 23 countries.

John’s crowdfunded feature film Where Do We Go From Here? had its world premiere at the Sydney Indie Film Festival in Australia where it was nominated for 8 awards and won “Best Film”, “Best Score” and “Best Supporting Actress”.

About Ryan McHenry

Writer/Director Ryan McHenry burst into internet fame in 2013 with his Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal vines. The weird, high concept 6.5 second videos captured a huge audience on the nascent social media platform, with journalists claiming his videos validated the existence of Vine. Within a couple of months of Ryan’s success, he was diagnosed with a rare kind of bone cancer. The Vine community rose up in support around him, launching a successful crowdfunding campaign. His fans and the media followed his treatment until he sadly passed away on 2nd May 2015.

Anna And The Apocalypse is based on Ryan’s original BAFTA-winning short film Zombie Musical, and was being developed as his debut feature.  

About writer Alan McDonald

Alan has written extensively across multiple media and has a number of projects in development with Blazing Griffin as well as several spec television pilots in industry circulation. He is currently working on the upcoming CBBC show, Fear Falls, (Objective Media Group Scotland and Panda TV).

He was narrative writer on video game Distant Star, which won a Best Video Game BAFTA in 2015. His supernatural television pilot Bastion was a quarter-finalist in the Screenwriting Goldmine competition 2012, and was recognised in the Channel 4 Screenwriting Course in 2013.

Composers

Roddy Hart is a Scottish singer–songwriter from Glasgow. He made his film musical debut as the Associate Musical Director of Sunshine On Leith and has released three solo records and one EP. Coldplay and Morrissey producer Danton Supple produced his debut album Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire which was nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Award in April 2014.

Tommy Reilly is also a Scottish singer–songwriter from Torrance, East Dunbartonshire. He gained recognition after winning the Channel 4 TV show Orange unsigned Act. Shortly after, Reilly's first single Gimme A Call reached number 14 in the UK Singles Chart. Tommy is now focusing on composing for film and TV and Anna and the Apocalypse will be his first film project.

About Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specialising in horror, fantasy, sci-fi and action. In years past the festival has been home to world premieres of Bone Tomahawk, John Wick, Frankenweenie, Machete Kills, Red Dawn, There Will Be Blood, Apocalypto, Zombielan and Red.

The guest roster has included such talent as Tim Burton, Nicolas Winding-Refn, Lilly and Lana Wachowski, Robert Rodriguez, Rian Johnson, Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Keanu Reeves, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, Edward Norton, Ryan Reynolds, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Karl Urban, Josh Hartnett, The RZA, Dolph Lundgren, Paul Rudd, Bill Pullman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, George Romero, Darren Aronofsky and Mike Judge.

Fantastic Fest also features world, national and regional premieres of new, up-and-coming genre films.

Press/Media Contact

For more information contact Barry Waldo: barrywaldo@blazinggriffin.com / press@blazinggriffin.com.