‘Black Summer’ filming in nearby communities

Black Summer

The communities of Irricana and Beiseker have been playing host to a few zombies as the production of ‘Black Summer’, a Netflix original is filmed in and around Calgary this summer. The warm temperatures and eerie haze of smoke from forest fires lends itself nicely to a Zombie apocalypse. Black Summer’s plot acts as a prequel to the Z Nation series that films mostly in Washington. While Z Nation, now in its fifth season, is considered more campy than most other popular zombie shows out there, Black Summer is rising to the occasion to bring about a more realistic and raw, serious drama as it lays the deathly ground work for what comes a few years later in Z-Nation. This series is co-created by Karl Schaefer and John Hyams of Z Nation.

Though quite a number of the production crew are from Washington and other parts of the USA, many actors and film crews have been hired (around 60-70). Jaime King is the lead actress and she hales from Los Angeles, with notable roles in Hart of Dixie, Sin City, and My Bloody Valentine. Gwynyth Walsh (notable for TV series character in Star Trek) and Christine Lee (Colossal, What Next and Piano) are both female actors from Edmonton. Kelsey Flower is a Calgary born actor who will play the role of Lance, purported to be one of the least reliable Zombie killers.

Ms. King’s role is that of a mother separated from her preteen daughter during the initial outbreak of zombies in this most deadly of summers. A multi-ethnic cast helps authenticate a refugee crisis that is also taking place. While filming in Irricana there was a burning vehicle and some Zombies, for locals to enjoy. The filming in Beiseker is about a car chase with some survivors trying to locate another group. A Zombie may yet make an appearance during the last week of shooting in Beiseker. Filming in the rural communities allows the production crews much more flexibility and free reign with the room required for setting up camp, way less traffic to control on streets, fewer potential disturbances, and ease with volatile situations such as a burning vehicle.

Pictured here is what’s called a ‘process trailer’. Rather than using a blue screen, the subject vehicle (with actors inside) is basically towed to make it appear more realistic, as if an actor is driving while the occupants converse. Notable locations in Calgary have been the filming under the Calgary Tower and at Queen Elizabeth School. To protect the integrity of the artistry and talent, that goes into the makeup of the variety of zombie gore, news outlets are not allowed to publish pictures.

This eight-episode Z Nation spin off started in mid-July and will wrap up by the end of September 2018. The expected release date is for sometime around the middle of 2019.

Other films shooting in Alberta include Heartland, Z, Tin Star (season 2), Jann (Season 1 - a six-episode fictionalized version of Jann Arden), Tenfold, and Jonesin. East Texas Oil, and Hudson have wrapped. Lost in Space (season 2) is filming in Drumheller between September 10 and September 21 and Hands That Bind is expected to film in spring 2019.