EXCLUSIVE: Aniara, the visionary Swedish sci-fi film directed and written by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja and based on a concept by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Martinson, has been acquired by Magnolia Pictures after the picture made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. A ship — carrying settlers to a new home in Mars after Earth is rendered uninhabitable — is knocked off-course, causing the consumption-obsessed passengers to consider their place in the universe.
The stakes are epic, as the film charts the fate of the human race after its emphasis on selfishness and consumption exhausts the resources of the planet. One of several ships launched into space to start anew on Mars, the film’s consumption metaphor means that the ship is designed like a giant shopping mall. After an accident knocks the it off course and hobbles its steering and it becomes clear the passengers might not make it to Mars. They continue to indulge their appetites in extreme ways.
The protagonist, Mr (Emelie Jonsson), runs a room where a sentient computer allows humans to experience near-spiritual memories of the planet. 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 are crazy happy that Magnolia is on board this ship,” Kågerman said. Added co-director Hugo Lilja: “We have admired their catalog for a long time, and are extremely excited that Aniara will now become part of the Magnolia family for our distribution in North America.”
Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said: “We’re thrilled to bring this audacious, intelligent vision to audiences. 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.
Here is the trailer: