Canada’s Bron Studios is joining forces with Tonik Productions and Get Lifted Film Co to finance and co-produce Monster, feature debut of music video and commercials director Anthony Mandler.

The contemporary drama begins principal photography this week in New York City with an ensemble cast including The Birth of a Nation’s Kelvin Harrison Jr, Dreamgirls’ Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Ehle, A$AP Rocky and Nas.

Colen C Wiley and Janece Shaffer wrote the script, based on the novel by Walter Dean Myers about an elite Harlem high school student charged with murder and facing a complex legal battle.

Aaron L Gilbert (pictured), co-founder of Bron (whose recent productions include The Birth of a Nation), will produce with Tonik’s Nikki Silver and Tonya Lewis Lee, Get Lifted’s Mike Jackson and Edward Nahem of Charlevoix. Bron, Tonik and Get Lifted are producing in association with Charlevoix as well as Red Crown and Creative Wealth Media.

Executive producers include 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. Legend and Nas will both play a role in the film’s music.

WME Global is representing the film.

Mandler is know for his videos with Rihanna, Lana del Rey and other artists.