It’s not a totally new trend. Back in 2009, South African filmmaker Neil Blomkamp’s dystopian sci-fi thriller District 9 was produced after a short film Blomkamp had made titled Alive in Joburg came to the attention of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, who eventually funded the feature-length project. The trend is ingenious, though. Scouring the Internet for promising “proof of concept”-videos or even full-fledged short films may be Hollywood’s salvation. In a time when original scripts are passed on in favor of established franchises, outsourcing talent to the hive mind online is both cost effective and a sure fire way to create buzz.
Here are two recent web shorts that are getting the big studio treatment:
Mischa Rozema’s Sundays is marketed as a philosophical sci-fi epic and that’s about all you’ll get out of the 14-minute short. Stunning imagery and effects aside, the concept–it’s about a man slowly discovering that he is living in a world that isn’t his own–seems promising, but there’s no discernible plot or even semi-developed characters yet. All of that will have to come later, when Warner Bros., who just won the rights to the project, develops it into a feature film.
The Leviathan, a four minute-long short film, features a gigantic worm-like alien monster fighting off man-made space crafts. The violent premise isn’t explained further, but we’re guessing it’s just plain hard to establish an amicable and peaceful relationship with a flying space monster. Directed by Ruairi Robinson, The Leviathan blew up over night after its release a couple of weeks ago. Twentieth Century Fox quickly snapped up the rights and we’re guessing Avatar creature designer Jordu Schell and concept creator Jim Uhls’ amazing work on the short has something to do with it.