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It’s an ample year for dread at South by Southwest 2013. New
Artists Alliance will be presenting two new genre features at this year’s
festival next month: Behold MILO and CHEAP THRILLS, both hinging on a horror
motif, yet smothered in humor and a defiant absurdity.
“This year, we wanted to make people laugh before we made
them squirm,” New Artists founder/producer Gabe Cowan tells Fango. “Both films
are funny and intense, and defy genre in their own ways.”
MILO stars Gillian Jacobs, Ken Marino and genre regular
Peter Stormare. Marino plays Ducan, a man whose stomach issues prove to be much
more than irritable bowel syndrome: A demon child is inhabiting his intestines.
How’s that for nausea inducing? Jacobs plays Sarah, Ken’s stressful wife, and
Stormare is his therapist Highsmith. This is the first feature from director
Jacob Vaughan since 2006’s narrative-bending CASSIDY KIDS; this time, he teamed
up with writer Benjamin Hayes (TRUE BLOOD, ANGEL OF DEATH) for the MILO script,
so it’s certain to be equal parts blood and camp. The producing team is
comprised of Cowan and longtime producing partner/New Artists co-founder John
Suits, along with the Duplass brothers and Adele Romanski.
“It’s a comedy, a character piece and a monster movie all in
one,” Cowan says. “Milo, the ass demon, is adorable, cuddly and intensely
creepy. Jake Vaughan developed a fantastically robust puppet with over 150
moving parts in its face, so we could get real-time reactions from the actors
as well as the monster.”
Suits and Cowan joined Snowfort Pictures’ Travis Stevens to
produce CHEAP THRILLS (pictured above), directed by E.L. Katz (known for his
scripting gigs on Adam Gierasch’s AUTOPSY and Adam Wingard’s POP SKULL and HOME
SICK). The movie reunites Sara Paxton and Pat Healy from Ti West’s much-praised
THE INKEEPERS, with VACANCY’s Ethan Embry and SNAKES ON A PLANE’s David
Koechner filling out the cast.
Written by DEADGIRL’s Trent Haga and David Chirchirillo, the
film deals with a broke father and his high-school friend who are challenged by
a rich couple to a perverse game of dares in exchange for money—a relevant
theme in today’s lackluster economy.
“We set out to make a movie about the myth of the American
Dream,” Stevens explains, “and about what it takes to make a better life for
yourself in this current climate. The end result is as hilarious, sad and
bloody as it is in real life.” Snowfort Pictures has been plugging away for a
while now, and it’s exciting to see them on the rise: Last year, they brought
Steven C. Miller’s action-shocker THE AGGRESSION SCALE to SXSW, and the company
was also behind Wingard’s A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE and the Vicious Brothers’ THE
THOMPSONS, and premieres Mike Mendez’s BIG ASS SPIDER (see article here)
at SXSW this year as well.
For its part, New Artist Alliance premiered EXTRACTED at
SXSW 2012, and will soon unveil its first 3D feature, STATIC, staring Milo
Ventimiglia, Sarah Shahi and Paxton. The company has a number of other projects
in postproduction as well, each boasting its own construction of crazy. Both
Suits and Cowan put their directing hats on: Suits with the thriller THE SCRIBBLER,
starring Katie Cassidy and Eliza Dushku, and Cowan with 3 NIGHTS IN THE DESERT,
toplining Wes Bentley and Amber Tamblyn. Also look for ABBY IN THE SUMMER,
featuring Robin Thicke and Jamie Pressly; in 2013, Cowan and Suits are gearing
up to produce another five features. Stay tuned for more news!
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