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Edwards hails from Nuneaton, a small town in the middle of England, where, from the age of six, he was determined to become a film director. For his university graduation project, his was one of the first student films to combine live action with digital effects. Understanding the influence of computer graphics on the creative process of filmmaking, Edwards began a ten-year career as a visual effects artist working from his bedroom for BBC documentaries like “Hiroshima,” for which he won a BAFTA Award.
His visual effects skills led to directing the epic drama “Heroes and Villains: Attila the Hun” for the BBC, personally creating all 250 visual effects for the project. He then entered Sci-Fi London’s 48-hour film contest, answering the challenge of making a short film with no crew and just one actor in only two days. The result, “Factory Farmed,” won first prize.
Inspired by this guerilla approach to filmmaking, Edwards went on to make “Monsters,” a sci-fi thriller about an alien attack on Earth and its effect on a cynical American journalist, played by Scoot McNairy. With just a minimal crew, he served as writer, director, cinematographer and completed all the creature design and visual effect shots himself.
For “Monsters,” Edwards garnered a BAFTA Award nomination for Outstanding Debut for a British Director or Producer; won three British Independent Film Awards, including Best Director and Best Technical Achievement, for the film’s effects; an Evening Standard Film Award for Best Technical/Artistic Achievement, for the film’s cinematography, production design and VFX; the London Film Critics Circle honor as Breakthrough British Filmmaker; and the Austin Film Critics Award for Best First Film. The movie itself won the National Board of Review Award as Top Independent Film and the Saturn Award as Best International Film from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.
The success of “Monsters” drew the attention of Hollywood, leading to the opportunity to direct the epic rebirth of “Godzilla.”
On May 22 2014, it was announced that Edwards would be directing Rogue One, one of the Star Wars spin-offs, currently scheduled for release in December 2016. It was later confirmed that he would also return to direct two sequels to Godzilla, but he later dropped out of Godzilla 2 in May 2016 after filming wrapped up on Rogue One, expressing a desire to shift his attention to smaller projects.