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Sister Darkness – Alex Proyas’ new horror-thriller is heading our way

Visionary writer/director Alex Proyas’ studio production outfit Heretic Foundation with his IP development company Mystery Clock Cinema have today announced a co-production/financing partnership with UK-based 108 Media leading the charge to launch worldwide sales and packaging on Proyas’ latest feature-film project, Sister Darkness.

In the first of several forthcoming collaborations between the parties including new premium content stacks and technology builds, the commercially driven horror-thriller SISTER DARKNESS is Proyas’ (The Crow / Dark City / I, Robot / Knowing / Gods of Egypt) directorial return to his mainstream-independent roots, outside of the Hollywood studio system that has marked his recent big-budget feature forays which have totalled USD 1.3 billion (adjusted for inflation) at the global box office since 1994.

Described as a macabre female-driven fever dream of revenge and gothic terror with deep franchise potential, along the same vein as Proyas’ cult hit The Crow, the whip-smart and stylish SISTER DARKNESS is set in 1930s UK at a time when women were marginalised and exploited. It follows the newlywed but unhappy Alice who stumbles across her doppelganger Isla, whose existence is a mystery seeped in a tale of bloody retribution against her oppressors, the hellish supernatural nightscape, and a dread uprising against the deceitful aristocracy. Proyas’ primary vision is inspired by UK horror movies of the 60s and 70s with deep reverence to legendary films such as The Innocents and The Legend of Hell House.

The estimated USD35M production is based on an original script by Proyas and will be shot in his homebase of Australia in late-2022 into mid-2023, using a unique, fully virtual production process specially developed and refined by his VFX studio Heretic Foundation, which has been developing revolutionary approaches to filmmaking in this space since 2020.

Proyas has been at the forefront of this technology since I, Robot (Oscar nominee for Best Achievement in Visual Effects in 2005) and aims to change the paradigm of filmmaking by lowering costs without sacrificing creative intent, giving content creators more power and flexibility. Virtual production is playing a rapidly expanding role internationally with Proyas & Heretic intending to showcase through SISTER DARKNESS how ground-breaking this technology can be.

As Proyas says, “We are excited to be embarking with 108 Media on what we genuinely believe will be the first step of a long and fruitful journey together. Sister Darkness will be a milestone in the use of virtual production at this scale and Heretic’s talented team will allow us to establish production values at much higher levels in this budget range than ever before thought achievable. This is the future of filmmaking.”

The multi-faceted deal was struck and negotiated by 108 Media’s CEO Abhi Rastogi and President (Production) Justin Deimen, supported by Rod Smith (Director, Acquisitions) and Steven Rosser (Legal Counsel) with Heretic Foundation’s CEO & Creative Director Alex Proyas, General Manager & Executive Producer Andrew Robinson, Studio Producer Erasmo (Raz) Raimundo, and Craig Emmanuel of Paul Hastings in Los Angeles.

Rastogi sees this creator-producer partnership as a new step in the company’s ambitions to support creative filmmaking on deeper levels – “Working with Alex and what he has built with Heretic aligns with 108’s goal to be able to service bold creative vision from concept to final mile distribution as our content financing divisions has scaled up tremendously this year with new partners and continuing strategic expansions.”

Last week, 108 Media (UK) announced the majority acquisition of APAC production company Revolution Media (producer of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Ghost Bride for Netflix) and its IP slate. In late December 2021, 108 Media (UK) secured a deal which comprised of all of the formerly AIM-listed DCD Media Plc assets, which included September Films, RIZE USA and DCD Rights, which has a catalogue of more than 3,500 hours of programming across drama, entertainment, factual and music.

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