YouTube short lands budding director $30M movie deal
Ataque de Panico, a film by Fede Alvarez
A budding filmmaker from Uruguay, whose low-budget alien invasion short became a viral video hit, has landed a $30-million US movie deal in Hollywood.
Fede Alvarez uploaded his short film Ataque de Panico (Panic Attack) onto video-sharing website YouTube in early November. It has since registered more than 1.5 million views and garnered the attention of a host of Hollywood studios.
Ataque de Panico portrays an assault on and destruction of Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, by an invading army of giant alien robots and flying spacecraft.
Though made for about $300 US and lasting less than five minutes, the stylized, special effects-laden film evokes such Hollywood blockbusters as War of the Worlds and Independence Day.
"I uploaded (Panic Attack) on a Thursday and on Monday my inbox was totally full of emails from Hollywood studios," he told the BBC's Latin American service BBC Mundo.
"It was amazing, we were all shocked."
The 31-year-old Alvarez has accepted an offer from Spider-Man and Evil Dead director Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures to develop a feature-length film set in his native Uruguay and in neighbouring Argentina. However, it will not necessarily be based on the premise of Ataque de Panico, which Alvarez said was made just for fun.
"They sent me emails that said 'Now that we've seen what can be done with 300 dollars, let's see what you can do with 30 million," Alvarez told Agence France-Presse.
"It was wonderful, out of this world."
Alvarez, who tentatively predicted that his new film would be finished in two years, has drawn comparisons to South African-Canadian filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, who landed a deal to make his 2009 sci-fi hit District 9 after first winning attention with the six-minute viral video short Alive in Jo'Burg.