Montrealers' Turbo Kid premiers at midnight at Sundance

A trio of Montreal filmmakers is anxiously awaiting their feature film debut at Sundance tonight, an opportunity they describe as career changing.

Turbo Kid is a sci-fi-gore-BMX-comedy-love-story set in a post-apocalyptic world

Munro Chambers (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Laurence Leboeuf (Trauma) play the Kid and Apple in the new gore comedy Turbo Kid by Montrealers RKSS Team. Turbo Kid makes its world premiere tonight in the Park City at Midnight series at the Sundance Film Festival. (Team RKSS)

A trio of Montreal filmmakers is at Sundance for the world premiere of their post-apocalyptic-gore-BMX-action comedy,Turbo Kid.

Yoann-Karl and Anouk Whissell and Anouk’s boyfriend François Simard call themselves Team RKSS, short for Roadkill Superstars.

The self-taught trio all direct, act and perform stunts. 

The three Turbo Kid directors in Montreal just before leaving for the Sundance Film Festival. (Jeanette Kelly)

RKSS have been making short films during their summer holidays for the past 10 years, but Turbo Kid is their first feature.

"It's a cute love story that takes place in the middle of a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter," says Yoann-Karl.

Turbo Kid stars Michael Ironside (Scanners) as the self-proclaimed leader of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Munro Chambers (Degrassi: The Next Generation) plays The Kid and Montreal actress Laurence Leboeuf (Trauma) is his girl, Apple. 

The feature is a Canada-New Zealand co-production. The team met their New Zealand producer Ant Timpson at his annual short film competition, the ABC’s of Death, at the New Zealand Film Festival. He suggested they look for a co-production deal at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival market. And Turbo Kid did get a deal, the first co-production deal signed at Fantasia.

Canadian director Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun) is also backing Team RKSS.

The team connected with Sundance when they met Charlie Reff, one of the festival's programmers, who was in Montreal for jury duty at Fantasia.

It was Reff who called Anouk to say, "See you at Park City at Midnight."

Turbo Kid is one of eight genre films screening at the 2015 Park City at Midnight series at Sundance.  

"I think there’s a large portion of people like me who love these midnight films, these crazy adventure films. They’ve made something so perfectly. It's geeky detail that our midnight crowds love," says Reff.

Yoann-Karl says having a world premiere at Sundance is a “dream come true”.

Michael Ironside stars as the leader of the Wasteland gang in the post-apocalyptic gore comedy Turbo Kid. (Team RKSS )

"To play at Sundance, it’s incredible. Sundance is the type of festival that changes a career."

Team RKSS's François Simard says the selection at Sundance lends credibility to genre film making in Quebec.

"Now everybody will take us seriously."

Raven Banner Entertainment is distributing Turbo Kid in Canada.

RKSS has an agent working on a deal for international distribution rights at Sundance.


Jeanette Kelly works as the arts reporter at CBC Montreal. She's also the host of Cinq à Six, Quebec's Saturday afternoon culture show on CBC Radio One.