here be monsters

– . – Here Be Monsters

Here Be Monsters

After creating a huge buzz on the festival circuit, sci-fi road movie Monsters is set for a UK release. Director Gareth Edwards recounts his journey from learning computer graphics in his bedroom to creating this year’s low-budget phenomenon.

Gareth Edwards first came onto the movieScope radar back in 2008, when he won the inaugural Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge. It was hard to believe that his winning film, Factory Farmed, was made in just two days; not least because of its great cinematography and high-quality special effects. Indeed, it was good enough to give Edwards, who had spent the previous few years working in visual effects at the BBC, the resources to make his debut feature Monsters, a road movie set in Mexico after an alien life form has turned it into a quarantine zone.

Written and directed by Edwards, the film also showcases some terrific effects; something Edwards has been always fascinated by. “When I was young, all I really wanted to do was join the Rebel Alliance and blow up the Death Star,” he laughs. “As I got older, I learned that there’s no such thing as the Death Star or the Rebel Alliance, and Star Wars was a film. So I thought that if I couldn’t join the Rebel Alliance, the next best thing was to make films. My dad bought a video camera and I made loads of silly little short films with my friends.”

Having decided on his future, Edwards embarked on the tried-and-tested route. “I thought, ‘I’ll make a short at film school and that’ll get picked up by someone, and I’ll get to make a feature film!’ I made my graduation film with my flatmate, who was doing this new thing at the time called computer graphics. Going to film school was a real shock. You get this benefit of it looking more professional, but if I wanted to do an establishing shot of a shop in a street, what would have been me just picking up a camera and filming becomes an all-day event that costs you £1,000. My friend was doing pure animation and everything he was doing seemed to [be] solving all the issues I was having on the film course. He was able to paint things out, or create dolly moves on things that weren’t there.