Not dead yet: Long overdue Singapore movie ‘Zombiepura’ starts filming in January 2018

Elizabeth Tong
Entertainment Reporter
From left: Alaric, Jacen Tan and Benjamin Heng at the ‘Zombiepura’ press conference at the Asia TV Forum. Photo: Elizabeth Tong/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore

Eight years ago, Singaporean film director Jacen Tan produced a script inspired by the monotonous overnight stints he had to serve while on guard duty during National Service. The fan of the “Shaun of the Dead” film felt like a zombie during those moments, which led him to produce a script for upcoming comedy film “Zombiepura”, set to begin filming in January 2018.

It’s “Ah Boys To Men” meets “The Walking Dead”, said the 34-year-old, along with his cast and co-producers, Alaric, 38, and Benjamin Heng, 41, after a press conference held at the Asia TV Forum on Thursday (30 November). “Zombiepura” is slated for release in September next year.

The movie revolves around a zombie outbreak in an isolated army camp where a lazy reservist soldier and a commander need to fight to survive. It will also be the first feature-length film by Tan, who has previously produced several short films.

The trio from local production house JAB Films went on to explain why it took them nearly a decade for the movie to see the light of day.

“There was just constant rejection… For the longest time, nobody believed in us,” said Alaric.

Producing the film independently would be financially challenging for the trio, who spent several years pitching it to potential investors, many of whom had questioned the viability of the movie in terms of its NS and zombie themes as well as the fact that it would be Tan’s first time directing a feature film.

But after the success of NS-themed movies such as “Ah Boys To Men”, as well as the Asian zombie film “Train to Busan”, industry players in the region are becoming more accepting of these genres.

“Zombiepura” will be co-produced and co-distributed by mm2 Entertainment, who is behind the ABTM franchise, and Clover Films, who brought the South Korean zombie flick to Singapore. It has also been awarded the New Talent Feature Grant by the Singapore Film Commission in 2016.

“It’s important to find the right partners. They must believe in the same product as us, instead of making us change things,” said Tan, who together with Alaric and Heng, had approached mm2 Entertainment four years ago.

“It’s about timing. Six years ago, if we came across these parties, they may not have the experience and understanding of the genre,” said Alaric.

Since mm2 Entertainment – a wholly owned subsidiary of mm2 Asia – has a wide reach in the Asian region, there’s also a chance for this movie to premiere overseas. Filming for “Zombiepura” begins in January 2018.

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