SA-made thriller Monolith selected for SXSW

Australian sci-fi thriller Monolith, a hit at the 2022 Adelaide Film Festival, will have an international premiere at the prestigious South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Directed by Adelaide’s Matt Vesely and starring rising star Lily Sullivan (Evil Dead Rise, I Met a Girl, Picnic at Hanging Rock), Monolith is a taut, contained mystery which follows a disgraced journalist (Sullivan) as she tries to salvage her career by turning to investigative podcasting. While trying to get to bottom of a strange artefact that may be linked to an alien conspiracy, she begins to uncover the lies at the heart of her own story.

The thriller will have an international premiere at South by Southwest (SXSW), a key pathway to the US market, and a conference and festival which has made Austin, Texas, a destination for creative professionals worldwide each March for its celebration of the convergence of tech, film, music, education and culture.

Monolith was directed by Matt Vesely, written by Lucy Campbell and produced by Bettina Hamilton, and filmed over three weeks in the Adelaide Hills. It was developed and produced through the FilmLab: New Voices program, an initiative run by the South Australian Film Corporation and the Adelaide Film Festival, financed with the assistance of Screen Australia, designed to develop and elevate first time South Australian feature filmmakers.

Producer Bettina Hamilton of Black Cat White Rabbit Productions said, “We are extremely excited to be working together with XYZ Films (North America), Blue Finch Films (ROW) and locally with Bonsai Films (ANZ) to get Monolith out there and shared with audiences all around the world. They have all been huge supporters of this project since the script stage and we are very thankful to be working with them now that the film is completed. This has been an amazing outcome for our FilmLab film.”

Director Matt Vesely said, “When we started developing Monolith, we quite literally said to ourselves in one of our very first meetings, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to take an indie sci-fi to SXSW?’ This is a dream come true for this project, our team, and especially for me. I’ve been wanting to go to this festival since I was 15. We can’t wait to show the film to a US audience and for people the world over to realise what a star Lily Sullivan is.”

South Australian Film Corporation CEO Kate Croser said, “The South Australian Film Corporation is so proud to have supported the development and production of Monolith, the first feature film to come out of the Film Lab: New Voices program. FilmLab: New Voices is the SAFC’s flagship talent-development program and is a re-boot of the SAFC’s highly successful FilmLab program which last decade enabled the feature debuts of some of South Australia’s most talented screen creatives.

“With Monolith, writer Lucy Campbell, director Matt Vesely and producer Bettina Hamilton have earned their place in this league. I congratulate the entire creative team on their achievement with Monolith and look forward to the international success of this extraordinary film at SXSW 2023 and beyond.”

Adelaide Film Festival CEO and Creative Director Mat Kesting said, “SXSW audiences are set to enjoy a cinematic delight with Matt Vesely’s Monolith – the first of what we hope will be many films made by Vesely. We are thrilled to see this inaugural Film Lab: New Voices work connect with international audiences following its world premiere at Adelaide Film Festival 2022 and believe this is just one example of the extraordinary creative talent present in South Australia.”

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