SXSW: Lionsgate Nabs Rights to Bigfoot Thriller ‘Exists’

Horror film is the latest from director of “The Blair Witch Project”

Lionsgate has acquired North American rights to “Exists,” a new project from Eduardo Sánchez.

In his latest horror thriller, “The Blair Witch Project” director is trying to do for Bigfoot what he did for camping. “Exists” debuted Friday at SXSW in Austin.

The film follows five friends whose weekend in the remote woods of East Texas turns into a struggle to survive against the beast. If it does anywhere close to “Blair Witch”-level business, Lionsgate will turn a tidy profit. The first film was a precursor to the low-budget, found-footage model currently being deployed by horror producers such as Jason Blum. It cost $750,000 to make and brought in $250 million globally.

The film stars Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Samuel Davis, Denise Williamson and Brian Steele and is produced by Jane Fleming, Mark Ordesky, Robin Cowie and J. Andrew Jenkins. The Sasquatch creature was designed by Spectral Motion. Jamie Nash wrote the script.

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“I’m really excited about working with the talented team at Lionsgate. We’ve had great history together and they really understand ‘Exists’ and see the tremendous opportunity to reboot Bigfoot for a new generation,” said director Sanchez.

Fleming and Ordesky, who developed and produced the film with Haxan Films through their production company, Court Five, said: “It is especially gratifying to sell the film at SXSW in Austin so close to Bastrop, Texas where we shot ‘Exists’ with an amazing Texas-based cast and crew. We look forward to working with Lionsgate to bring Ed’s vision to the masses.”

Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s president of acquisitions and co-productions; Eda Kowan, Lionsgate’s senior vice president of acquisitions; and Wendy Jaffe, Lionsgate’s executive vice president of business and legal affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of the studio. Graham Taylor and Christine D’Souza at WME and Stuart Rosenthal at Bloom Dekom negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers