Monster, based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Walter Dean Myers, will world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film from Tonya Lewis Lee and Nikki Silver’s ToniK Productions, and written by Radha Blank (She’s Gotta Have It, Empire), Colen C. Wiley and Janece Shaffer, will debut on Monday, January 22nd at 3PM in the Dramatic Competition.
Shot entirely in New York City, Monster surrounds the story of 17-year-old honors student Steve Harmon. Steve is an aspiring filmmaker attending an elite high school in New York, and is being charged with felony murder for a crime he says he did not commit. “Monster” is what the prosecutor calls Harmon, but is Steve truly a Monster? As Steve’s world comes crashing down around him, the film follows his journey from a smart, likeable young man from Harlem through a complex legal battle that could leave him spending the rest of his life in prison. Monster is sure to stimulate conversation in today’s relevant narrative on youth in prisons, excessive sentencing, peer pressure, and likeminded issues.
Monster features an outstanding ensemble cast including: Kelvin Harrison Jr. (The Birth of A Nation), Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Jennifer Ehle (Little Men, Zero Dark Thirty), A$AP Rocky, (Dope, Zoolander 2), Nas, (The Get Down), Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), John David Washington (Ballers) and Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 & 2, Westworld).
“We’re thrilled and humbled to be participating in this year’s Sundance Film Festival. We believe the current social and cultural landscape makes the message of Monster even more relevant and important,” says Tonya Lewis Lee of ToniK Productions.
“As producers committed to tackling the toughest issues of our time, we believe Monster is no exception. This has been an ongoing passion project for us and we are thrilled to bring it to the public forum.” adds ToniK co-founder Nikki Silver.
In addition to Tonya Lewis Lee, Nikki Silver, and ToniK Productions, Monster producers include Aaron L. Gilbert and Bron Studios, Edward Nahem and Mike Jackson of Get Lifted Film Co. Nas, Red Crown’s Daniel Crown and Yoni Liebling, Creative Wealth’s Jason Cloth and Richard McConnell, Linnea Roberts and Get Lifted’s John Legend and Ty Stiklorius are all executive producers. Legend and Nas will both play a role in the film’s music.
Image: Kelvin Harrison Jr. appears in Monster by Anthony Mandler, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by David Devlin.