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Magnolia Pictures Acquires Epic Foreign Sci-Fi ‘Aniara’

Toronto Film Festival 2018: Film is described as veering from satire to action, and horror to tragedy

Magnolia Pictures said on Monday it has acquired rights to distribute Swedish science fiction thriller “Aniara” after the film’s world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

“Aniara” was adapted by directors Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja from an epic poem by Swedish Nobel Prize winner Harry Martinson.

“Aniara” is meant to present a panoramic view of the possible fate of  the human race after they have destroyed the planet. The film tells the story of one of the many spaceships used for transporting Earth’s fleeing population to their new home-planet Mars. As the ship, Aniara, leaves the ruined Earth, she collides with space debris and is knocked off course. As the passengers slowly realize that they’ll never be able to return, they continue onwards through an empty and cold universe. In Aniara’s inexorable journey towards destruction there is a warning that cannot be emphasized enough: there’s only one Earth.

“Aniara” has been described by critics as veering from satire to action, and horror to tragedy, almost effortlessly.

“We are crazy happy that Magnolia is on board this ship,” Pella Kågerman said in a statement.

“We have admired their catalogue for a long time, and are extremely excited that ANIARA will now become part of the Magnolia family for our distribution in North America,” added co-director Hugo Lilja.

The protagonist, Mr (Emelie Jonsson), runs a room where a sentient computer allows humans to experience near-spiritual memories of the planet, according to the TIFF description. Before the accident, no one is interested. There’s shopping to be done. After the accident, the passengers can’t get enough, and the psychological weight of their anxiety and aggression drives the computer to depression. Mr tries to carve out a meaningful life given the circumstances and finds herself buffeted by the changes the micro-society experiences, from the deterioration of the ship’s command to the rise of deranged cults.

“We’re thrilled to bring this audacious, intelligent vision to audiences,” Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles said in a statement. “Pella and Hugo have done an amazing job creating a unique world and society aboard a spaceship.”

The deal was brokered by Endeavor Content and Fabien Westerhoff at Film Constellation, negotiated with Magnolia SVP John Von Thaden. The filmmakers are represented by WME and Independent UK.

Deadline first reported the news.