EXCLUSIVE: AJ Annila’s prequel to shoot in 2014.

Memento Films International (MFI) has launched sales on a prequel and a sequel to Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are [pictured] ahead of the picture’s international premiere in Directors’ Fortnight next week. 

Finnish filmmaker AJ Annila, best known for genre pictures Sauna and Jade Warrior, has signed to direct the prequel What We Were. It will be his first English-language film.

Mexican director Jorge Michel Grau, who made the original film Somo Lo Que Hay, has agreed to do the sequel. He is currently developing a treatment for a 2014 shoot.

“Jim’s film blew my mind. It’s exactly the kind of character driven genre film that I am drawn to,” said Annila, referring to Mickle’s picture about the Parker cannibal clan living in a remote New York State Catskills.

The prequel will follows the love story between the mother and father, Frank and Emma Parker, and how Frank first introduced his sweetheart to cannibalism.

“I’m honoured and very excited to dive into the world of We Are What We Are and surface with another setting that’s as unique and disturbing as its relatives. A dark, bittersweet love story with real characters, raw emotions, and culinary eye candy,” said Annila.

Nick Damici, who also worked on We Are What We Are and Mickle’s previous genre hit Stakeland, is writing the script for What We Were

The prequel is a Finnish-French-US co-production. Jesse Fryckman of Helsinki-based Bronson Club, who produced Sauna, is joining the What We Were team featuring Andrew D. Corkin, Linda Moran, Nicholas Shumaker, and Jack Turner. Nicholas Kaiser will co-produce.

Sauna is one of my favourite movies to come out in the last few years,” Mickle commented.  “I think AJ will take this world and the characters and make something personal, unique, and scary as hell. Can’t wait to see it all come to life.”

MFI, which has been a driving force behind We Are What We Are, has a treatment for What We Were in Cannes.

“We couldn’t be happier to see how the Parker family came to be and what the kids are up to,” said Tanja Meissner, MFI’s head of sales and acquisitions. “With AJ at the helm for the prequel and Jorge coming back for the sequel, we’re excited to pass the baton to create a new, terrifying stories within this world.”