Slaughter Nick for President
A film by Rob Stewart, Liza Vespi and Marc Vespi
Produced by Liza Vespi
World Premiere at NXNE Festival
NFB June 16, 2012 07:00 pm
NFB June 17, 2012 12:30 pm
When a little-known Canadian actor accidentally discovers on Facebook that he’s been wildy famous in Serbia for almost two decades, he sets out to discover the reasons why.
When Andy Warhol famously said, “In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes,” he might well have added, “in different places.”
Such is the lesson of the documentary Slaughter Nick For President, about Canadian actor, Rob Stewart, who 20 years ago starred as a beach-bum detective in a U.S. TV series called Sweating Bullets (a.k.a. Tropical Heat). Today, he is a superstar in Serbia – or at least his Sweating Bullets character is.
Slaughter Nick For President is about the modern-day phenomenon of Nick Slaughter – or “Slaughter Nick” in Slavic syntax. Long past his network glory days, and living in his parents’ basement, Stewart one day conducted a Facebook search on Nick Slaughter and was shocked to discover the character’s second life as a Serbian cultural icon. He even ran across a faux political campaign with the slogan, “Slaughter Nick For President.”
Stewart shared his discovery with his long-time friend Liza Vespi, and the feature doc Slaughter Nick For President was born on the spot.
Slaughter Nick for President will have its World Premiere at the North by Northeast (NXNE) Festival in Toronto on June 16, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at the NFB Cinema, with a second NFB screening on June 17 at 12:30 p.m.
The intrigued Stewart and his co-directors, Liza Vespi and brother Marc Vespi, embarked on a fact-finding trip to the Balkans. Lo and behold, Rob’s long-forgotten character of Nick Slaughter – a former drug agent and Mountie turned beach bum – was by far the most popular character in the history of Serbian television!
To compound the surreality, Stewart then learned the back story of his “second act,” how Nick Slaughter had been a symbol of freedom and democracy in the student protests against former Serbian Dictator Slobodan Milosevic. During the tumultuous ‘90s under Milosevic, a generation of Serbians grew up watching the show, and a punk rock band called Atheist Rap wrote an anthemic song called Nick Slaughter, Serbia Salutes You.
Slaughter Nick for President chronicles Stewart’s mind-bending Serbian journey – dubbed “Slaughtermania” by the national press – and it relates how Rob discovered a kind of redemption in the frenzied media circus and in his completely left-field contribution to the liberation of the Balkans.