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Exclusive: Alien-centric doc coming to the masses thanks to Legion M and Screen Media

By Josh Weiss
Alien 1979

Cover your mouth and watch out for pulsating eggs, because Legion M and Screen Media have acquired the North American distribution rights to Memory: The Origins of Alien, SYFY WIRE has exclusively learned.

The sci-fi documentary, which first premiered at Sundance's Midnight Section to very positive reviews, was acquired via support from Legion M's SCOUT platform, a way in which the fan-owned company can turn to its community of more than 75,000 members for help in deciding what movies they can purchase at festivals. Indeed, anyone can apply to become a film scout.

"The Alien franchise, obviously, has a lot of appeal to a very wide demographic, a lot of whom are also part of our community," Paul Scanlan, co-founder and CEO of Legion M, tells SYFY WIRE. "This one really felt like something we could all kind of collectively gather around to add value to it and to give it the platform that it deserves to have."

Memory: The Origins of Alien
Memory: The Origins of Alien

Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, the documentary tells the untold story of Ridley Scott's original Alien film in 1979. Packed with all kinds of behind-the-scenes materials from screenwriter Dan O'Bannon and designer H.R. Giger, the doc goes all the way back to 1971, when O'Bannon wrote a 29-page script titled Memory. This would eventually serve as the basis for Alien eight years later. There's also great emphasis put on the infamous chestburster scene, which has stood the test of time and come to define the movie itself.

"What probably stood out most to me is … we’re not competing with Amazon or Hulu or Netflix with the sorts of budgets that they have. But this film beat a lot of the films that they spent big money on at Sundance," says co-founder and president Jeff Annison. "If you’re a fan of Alien or Alien touched you, or you’re a creator and want to take a look at some of the masterminds behind a film that has stood the impact of time and altered culture, I think it’s a really fascinating look into that."

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"The filmmaker himself, Alexander, is like one of us. We’re a community of film enthusiasts and passionate entertainment fans, and Alexander is the epitome of that," adds Scanlan. "He takes a very creative, in-depth approach to his study, and I think that’s something that is especially appreciated by our community."

Memory will hit theaters this summer, so as to be timed with the 40th anniversary of Alien's original theatrical release. Both Scanlan and Annison promise that you'll want to go back and rewatch the first film once you see the documentary. As Annison puts it: "It gives you an entirely different lens through which you can see the movie ... It just adds a whole other dimension to the film, that whether you're new to it or it's an old classic of yours, it makes it that much more."