They shuffle slowly along the field, their eyes lifeless but their arms outstretched, grasping at anything that crosses their path.
Zombies have invaded Sumas Mountain and are moving in on their next meal.
Relentlessly moving forward, the undead suddenly stop, frozen by a single word.
Fourteen-year-old director Nathaniel Hall wants them to do it again.
A digital media arts student at the Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts Sumas (ASIA Sumas), Hall has always been fascinated by movies.
“Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be a director and then I wanted to be an actor and now I’m doing both in this film,” said Hall.
Recently, he had a dozen volunteers, friends and family members (including his mother Leanne and his brother Isaiah) on Sumas Mountain, in the cold, to film his latest project, a yet unnamed zombie epic.
“It’s either the End of the World Zombie Apocalypse or the End of the Beginning Zombie Apocalypse. I’m just deciding which one.”
While he’s done other school assignments and some shorts on YouTube, this is the biggest project he has ever taken on. He’s been at it for eight months and feels it should be completed by the summer.
But he’d like to speed up the process.
“He’s hoping to get it done sooner so his dad can see it before he passes away,” explained his mother.
Nathaniel’s father is living in Edmonton and is currently battling cancer.
During the Christmas break, Nathaniel travelled to Alberta to visit his ailing father. He is dedicating his film to him and hopes he can view the finished product.
With a tight time frame to work with, Nathaniel continues to move forward.
As well as directing and acting in the production, he is also the writer and editor.
Using a $2,000 video camera that was donated to him by a family friend, Hall is trying to make the shoot as professional as possible.
Sometimes it can be difficult as some adults, as well-intended as they may be, have a difficult time taking direction from someone so young.
“Usually I’m in charge, but sometimes people will help me with stuff. I mean, I just started,” said Nathaniel.
But his mother said if her son disagrees with a suggestion, he tells the person “straight up.”
“He has the final say,” she said.
While it is a zombie tale, Leanne said there are some interesting parallels in the story and her son’s life.
“I think mostly it’s about people surviving. I found it very interesting, the story he decided to write, because it reminds me of us three. Learning to be together … finding a family in the midst of chaos.”
When the project is completed, Nathaniel said he will approach the local theatres and ask them if he can hold a special screening.
The plan is to charge $5 admission fee with all proceeds going towards cancer research.
He also wants to enter it in the Vancouver International Film Festival.
But he has to complete the project first.