SXSW 2014First deal out of SXSW today is Lionsgate‘s purchase of the North American rights for Eduardo Sanchez‘s Bigfoot feature Exists. Sanchez co-directed the 1999 microbudget title The Blair Witch Project for $60K, which then-distributor Artisan morphed into a worldwide phenom with close to $250 million at the box office. Below is Lionsgate’s release for the Jamie Nash-scripted Exists:

(Austin, TX & Santa Monica, CA, March 8, 2014) — Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) has acquired North American distribution rights to EXISTSa new horror film from THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT director Eduardo Sánchez. The film played last night to a sold-out midnight screening at SXSW in Austin.

In Bigfoot’s bold return to the big screen, five friends on a camping weekend in the remote woods of East Texas struggle to survive against a legendary predator that is stronger, smarter, and more terrifying than anything they would have ever believed exists.

The film stars Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Samuel Davis, Denise Williamson and Brian Steele and is produced by Jane Fleming, Mark Ordesky, Robin Cowie and J. Andrew Jenkins. EXISTS is executive produced by George Waud, D. Todd Shepherd, Gregg Hale and Reed Frerichs, and the Sasquatch creature was designed by Spectral Motion.

“I’m really excited about working with the talented team at Lionsgate. We’ve had great history together and they really understand EXISTS and see the tremendous opportunity to reboot Bigfoot for a new generation,” said director Sanchez.

Fleming and Ordesky, who developed and produced the film with Haxan Films through their production company Court Five, said, “It is especially gratifying to sell the film at SXSW in Austin so close to Bastrop, Texas where we shot EXISTS with an amazing Texas-based cast and crew. We look forward to working with Lionsgate to bring Ed’s vision to the masses.”

Jason Constantine, Lionsgate’s President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions; Eda Kowan, Lionsgate’s SVP of Acquisitions; and Wendy Jaffe, Lionsgate’s EVP of Business and Legal Affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of the Studio. Graham Taylor and Christine D’Souza at WME and Stuart Rosenthal at Bloom Dekom negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Eduardo Sánchez was born in Cuba in 1968 and lived in Spain and New York before his family settled in Maryland.  He has been making films since he was 16-years old, and his directing credits include the ground-breaking, genre bending The Blair Witch Project, Altered, and Lovely Molly. He also directed the first four episodes of the BBC America series, Intruders.