An Aussie guy has gone delightfully rogue by putting up $1.6 million of his own money to fund his debut feature film about killer robots.
Seasoned cinematographer and commercials director Mark Toia is soon set to release the entirely self-funded Monsters of Man, which he also wrote, directed and edited.
The sci-fi thriller follows the dangerous consequences of a CIA test on military robots that goes horribly wrong in the Cambodian jungle.
The film stars Neal McDonough of Desperate Housewives, Suits and Marvel Cinematic Universe fame, as well as Jose Rosete, Jessica Blackmore and Kayli Tran.
Toia and the rest of the cast and crew travelled far and wide in order to shoot the movie, from Cambodia to Canada, America and Brisbane.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Toia revealed that he was inspired to fund the film himself after his attempts to receive backing in the US proved fruitless.
“I thought, you know what, I don’t really need the money,” he said.
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“Screw it… I’m going to do this as a bit of an indie film now for the masses and sell it ourselves.”
Toia insisted taking on such a monumental task was surprisingly easy thanks to his experience in the international commercials game.
“Shooting so many years as a rough-and-tumble advertising director, where we’d just fly around the world doing the craziest things, it just felt so easy by the time it came to making a movie,” he said.
“The ad game has honed me into a bit of a Swiss Army Knife.”
Toia credits his successful career along with property investment in helping him spend such an eye-watering sum, and admits he has “no idea” if he’ll make any of it back.
“I decided that if I was going to do a movie, I’d just do my own just for more of a therapy, relaxation type thing. And it was therapeutic. Because we funded it ourselves, I didn’t have to listen to anyone,” he said.
“Because I was a painter as a child, it was like a painting for me. It was like working in my garage, painting away.”
Monsters of Man was screened at the 2020 Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award, and will be released online on Tuesday, December 8th.