Mark Toia made a career in advertising, but he wanted to convert to cinema. And he went out of his pocket to realize Monsters of Man, a robot film, with a budget of almost 1 million euros, which will be screened on November 19 at the opening of the Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival.
Many budding filmmakers dream of their first feature film. There are, however, a few tips to follow, suggests The Sydney Morning Herald : “Have a simple starting idea that requires little location shooting, limit yourself to a small number of actors, keep a tight budget, never risk too much of your personal money.” Mark Toia, who signs Monsters of Man, did exactly the opposite.
For this ambitious science-fiction film, Mark Toia shot partly in Cambodia, then in Canada, the United States and Australia. As for the production budget – 1.6 million Australian dollars, or 988,000 euros -, it comes entirely from the pocket of the director and his wife: funds raised thanks to real estate investments and the first profession of the person concerned. And he brought in the company the American actor Neal McDonough, seen among others in the film Captain America : The First Avenger or series Boomtown, Justified, Desperate Housewives or Suits.
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Halfway between RoboCop and Predator
The 56-year-old Australian began his career in advertising, where he directed video campaigns for major brands such as Apple and the automakers General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. He explains to the Australian daily that the inspiration for his film came to him during the creation of a Nescafé ad in Vietnam. The idea in question involves an army of robots being tested in secret by the CIA and discovered by doctors on a humanitarian mission in Cambodia. Mark Toia shows a relaxed approach:
For a long time I was a maverick in commercial production, a job of flying all over the world to do the craziest things. So when it came to making a film, I had no difficulty. The advertising world has made me a kind of Swiss army knife. ”
Scheduled for the opening of the Sydney Science Fiction Festival on November 19 (Simon Foster, director of the festival, is enthusiastic about this work of atypical production, which he describes as “Halfway between RoboCop And Predator “), Monsters of Man will be available in VOD December 8. Will the success of the film allow Mark Toia to repay his budget? Regardless, that’s not the point. “I decided that if I made a film, it would be very personal, with a therapy, relaxation side. And indeed, it was therapeutic for me. As we were self-funded, we didn’t have to listen to anyone else. ”
Founded in 1831, “The Morning Herald of Sydney” is a generalist and factual title. Its Sunday edition is of better quality.