Magnet gobbles up sci-fi creature film Monsters at SXSW fest

A scene from Monsters
A scene from Monsters

Within hours of its world premiere at South by Southwest, Gareth Edward’s hotly anticipated first feature Monsters was sold to Magnet Releasing for North American and Mexican distribution.

In a deal brokered by Magnolia’s Tom Quinn and Protagonist Pictures’ Ben Roberts, the Vertigo Films production premiered to a packed midnight screening in the SX Fantastic section of the festival, which was programmed by Fantastic Fest’s Tim League.

Produced by Allan Niblo and James Richardson of Vertigo Films (Bronson, StreetDance), the film was shot as a road movie, travelling through Guatemala, Mexico and the US, involving local people alongside its key cast Scoot McNairy (In Search of a Midnight Kiss) and Whitney Able (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane).

In Monsters, a NASA probe returning to earth with samples of an alien life form, crashes over Central America six years in the past. Soon after, new life forms began to appear, and half of Mexico is quarantined as an “Infected Zone”. Now, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain “the creatures”, and a US journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

Producers Allan Niblo and James Richardson said, “Having kept the film a secret for so long, Vertigo is thrilled to have Magnet not only discover it at this year’s SXSW Fest but immediately become our US partner on this groundbreaking movie. We are all looking forward to releasing Monsters together onto an unsuspecting world.”

With a background in visual effects, Gareth Edwards has created BAFTA award-winning and EMMY nominated visual effects and recently broke new ground directing the epic drama Attila the Hun for the BBC, creating all the 250 visual effects himself. Winning SciFi London’s 48 hour film contest led to Monsters, his feature film debut, which he wrote, shot and directed.

Monsters is a Gareth Edwards film for Vertigo Films and sales are being handled worldwide by Protagonist Pictures. It is another recent high profile acquisition for Magnet, who recently acquired another SXSW premiere, Neil Marshall’s Centurion.

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