Short film on YouTube lands filmmaker million-dollar Hollywood deal

A short sci-fi film showing giant robots trashing skyscrapers has landed indie director Federico Alvarez a development deal with Sam Raimi’s production company.

The movie will be shot in South America with a budget between $30 million and $40 million, according to a Spanish-language report in El Pais.

In the short, called Panic Attack (embedded above), an invading army of spaceships and giant robots blows stuff up and generally creates a lot of havoc as faux newscasters document the disaster. The CGI robots look kind of clunky, there’s no story to speak of, and the soundtrack sounds awfully familiar.

But the development deal between Alvarez and Ghost House Pictures inescapably brings to mind Peter Jackson’s “discovery” of Neill Blomkamp, director of this year’s gritty District 9. Blomkamp’s low-budget 2005 short Alive in Joburg caught Jackson’s eye and became the template for the acclaimed “alien vérité” flick that has earned nearly $200 million worldwide.


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