Zombies take a stroll through Kannapolis

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2011

By Joanie Morris
For the Salisbury Post
KANNAPOLIS — Nick Waddell ambled down the street, dragging a bum leg and a headless and footless corpse behind him. You wouldn’t think undead care, but he stopped at the crosswalks, looked both ways and crossed the street.
About 35 people dressed as zombies showed up with their victims Friday evening for the second annual Idiot’s Circle zombie walk — taking the “undead” through Cannon Village and back to the front lawn of First Baptist Church across from the Gem Theatre.
When asked why she attended the walk, Kannapolis teen Xana Mills replied: “ ’Cause I like zombies, duh.”
Mills, 17, was in full make-up, with peeling green skin, torn and bloodstained clothes and gothic black, patent-leather boots.
The walk kicked off the third annual Modern Film Fest in Kannapolis — bringing zombies, belly dancers and even the Ghostbusters together for a weekend of film-loving fun. Through the weekend, the festival will bring numerous short flicks, as well as full-length feature films, to the city with one of the oldest single-screen theaters still in operation.
The walk is the brainchild of Tony Spears, who goes by the misnomer of Digger the Zombie for the events. Along with the Idiot’s Circle zombie walk, he is also planning another zombie walk in downtown Salisbury Oct. 28, beginning at 7 p.m. Registration and make-up will begin at 3 p.m.
For Michael Knox, artistic director of the Modern Film Fest, it’s like a dream come true. Knox reviews 50 or more independent films every year to determine which films will make the cut into the festival. Seeing the success of the zombie walk, as well as presale tickets, is just confirmation of that dream.
“This year, I had so many good movies that I had to struggle to get rid of some,” said Knox on Friday evening.
Knox visits film festivals, looks at festival websites and contacts movie producers to see if they would be interested in allowing him to review their movie for possible entry into the next film festival.
When he decides which movies should be screened in the Modern Film Fest, Knox said, some movies are free while others cost a small screening fee. The viewers get so much more. While Knox spends a lot of time looking at the independent films, it’s not because it’s his job.
“I really do like independent films,” said Knox.
He works to make sure the films shown at the festival are the best ones he can get. “That’s where the stories are. I watch independent films even when not doing this,” Knox said.
The crowd leaving “The Beginners Guide to Endings” seemed to agree that Knox chose well. Most of the crowd left laughing about the movie — “One of the most hilarious movies,” one crowd-member said — and would have recommended it to friends.
Thirteen films will premiere at the Gem Theatre this weekend as the Modern Film Fest celebrates its third year.
Today is all about films shot in North Carolina.
“Redneck Roots” will begin at 1 p.m. and director Joanne Hock will be at the premiere.
“Firewall of Sound” will show at 3 p.m. and director Devin DiMattia and producer Dolph Ramsuer will attend.
“The Trial” will be shown at 5 p.m.
Dr. Eric Troyer’s “Witness Insecurity” will show at 7 p.m., and actor Patrick Keenan will be in attendance.
“Cold Storage” will show at 9 p.m., and producer Paul Barrett will attend.
At 4:30 p.m. today, a free North Carolina Filmmakers Discussion Panel will be held at the Gem Theatre Annex (next to the theater), and will feature a question and answer session with Kathryn Taylor of Dalliance Films, actor Patrick Keenan, producer Paul Barret, directors Ken Wyatt and James Fox and film editor Russ Greene.
Sunday, catch “The Darkest Matter” at 5 p.m. with special guest director James Fox; “The Drummond Will” at 7 p.m.; “Sneakers and Soul” at 9 p.m.; and “Make a Movie Like Spike” at 11 p.m.
Tickets are $4 per movie and can be purchased at the box office. For more information on the Modern Film Fest, visit www.modernfilmfest.net.
Each month, the Modern Film Fest crew screens a movie at the historic Davis Theatre in Concord (excluding July and December). This month, catch the original “Night of the Living Dead” on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
Joanie Morris is a freelance reporter for the Salisbury Post. She can be reached at 704-797-4248 or news@salisburypost.com.