Thursday, January 7, 2010

From YouTube to Hollywood!

Fede Alvarez of Uruguay uploaded his short film to YouTube in November of last year (just sounds so fun to say that even though it was barely two months ago) has been offered a $30m contract to make a Hollywood film.

His project caught the eye of Hollywood blockbuster director Sam Raimi, who will sponsor Alvarez's upcoming foray into Hollywood film making. (If you don't know who he is and you consider yourself a movie buff you should)

"Ataque de Panico!" (Panic Attack!) is a virtually story-less action sequence with nothing more for a plot than gaint robots emerge from the fog and destroy Montevideo. There are no real characters to speak of, no protagonist. Short of the robots and the masses of screaming citizenry it is rather void.

With a running time just under 5 minutes and a budget of a mere $300 it is an impressive feat. The visuals are interesting to watch and don't detract from the viewing experience. The core idea of the project holds virtually no originality however. The robot designs also lack originality but are executed well enough for the scope of the endeavor. While his contract is apparently to direct a feature, this film is more of an exercise in the skills of a cinematographer or visual fx artist/supervisor than those of a director.

So far it has generated more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.

"I uploaded (Panic Attack!) on a Thursday and on Monday my inbox was totally full of e-mails from Hollywood studios," he told the BBC's Latin American service BBC Mundo.

"It was amazing, we were all shocked."

Alvarez is to create a science fiction film to be shot in Uruguay or Argentina. He intends to start from scratch to create said project.

"If some director from some country can achieve this just uploading a video to YouTube, it obviously means that anyone could do it," he added.

After hearing about this all I can say is... I need to get creating... something... big... but cheap. (sounding harder all the time) But apparently Hollywood is just handing out money and "anyone can do it."

If only us film guess could get our hands on their software!

So... Back when I worked at the MPS the police department would come by every so often with some tape or image of a suspect and ask if we could "Enhance" it for them. It was always some really bad over recorded vhs tape or something of the sort. I thought they had departments with tech nerds writing real time algorithms for that kind of stuff... Because I mean, come on, if we movie guys had that kind of stuff... lets just say movies would be so much cooler. Seriously, if a pixel in an image could miraculously contain another mega pixel of information that some nerd just needs to type a bit on the key board to unlock then my job just got so much easier... I just need to get a little bit nerdier (vfx guess are the rock stars of the nerd world, I need to go a little deeper).

That all said, it has to be my all time favorite thing to laugh at in tv and movie plots. I wait for it to come and you can always see it coming and it just destroys any suspension of disbelief I may have had. Sadly this is one plot device that will forever be with us.

The "New" Pocahontas

Let me just say I went and saw avatar and I loved it. It was action packed, the story was interesting, and the fx were very good. It was great.

While I can't say I made the direct connection to Pocahontas, it was very apparent that the film contained tones of "the evil white settlers versus the earth/nature loving natives." I saw this on my friends facebook page and had a wonderful laugh upon reading it. Just goes to show there are no new stories ;)

Enjoy. (sorry it doesn't all fit you will have to right click... something... something)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Oscar Count Down!

Yet again the Oscars are upon us.

The Academy has just slimmed down its short list of films vying for the title of "Best Visual Effects" from 15 to 7. Saidly neither of the films I worked on this year are in the running but that is of no surprise. Not that they weren't note worthy, but they didn't fit the academy "mold."

The list is as follows:

"Avatar" "District 9," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "Star Trek," "Terminator Salvation," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "2012."

image from "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"

Those films now on the cutting room floor are "Angels & Demons," "Coraline," "Disney's A Christmas Carol," "G-Force," "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," "Sherlock Holmes," "Watchmen" and "Where the Wild Things Are."

Maybe it's just me but I am a bit surprised films like "Coraline" and "Disney's A Christmas Carol" were ever in consideration?! Has the concept of "visual effects" become so skewed and misunderstood that animated films now fall into the category? Last I looked, there was a wonderful category called "Best Animated Feature."

"It's all just the same." No it's not all just the same. Just as in visual effects are not special effects. I mean why not?! Maybe we just make one category, "Coolest Movie." That should cover it right?

Why so cranky you ask? I'm not, but a bit of ruffled feathers certainly makes for better reading.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Feb. 2.