Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

You may never get to see the horror fantasy movie secretly filmed at Disney that's killing it at Sundance

Steven Zeitchik of The Los Angeles Times has written an article on Randy Moore-a screenwriter struggling with his trade in Burbank, California-who has spent the last three years secretly filming a movie at Disney parks and resorts in Orlando and Anaheim.

You may never get to see the horror fantasy movie secretly filmed at Disney that's killing it at Sundance

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Steven Zeitchik of The Los Angeles Times has written an article on Randy Moore—a screenwriter in Burbank, California—who has spent the last three years secretly filming a movie at Disney parks and resorts in Orlando and Anaheim.

Instead of using paper scripts and a traditional film crew, Moore and his cast used iPhones and a small Canon camera so that it appeared as though they were simply documenting a vacation and checking their texts and emails. The black and white, neo-noir film focuses a pessimistic, 40-something family man at the parks with his wife and two children. As the vacation drags on, the protagonist finds himself following two French girls around the park.

Zeitchik writes, "The third act “Escape” takes on an increasingly macabre tone. And though the movie borrows tropes from horror movies (think young girls running out of sight and creepy smiling dolls) and 1950s futurism, it most often evokes David Lynch, both in its deadpan tone and its utter inscrutability."

The fim's description on IMDB reads, "In a world of fake castles and anthropomorphic rodents, an epic battle begins when an unemployed father's sanity is challenged by a chance encounter with two underage girls on holiday."

Brooks Barnes of The New York Times describes the film's graphic imagery.

They ride the teacups and pose for pictures at Cinderella Castle, but Dad (Roy Abramsohn) starts to go bonkers after receiving a phone call from his boss. He drools over under-age girls, thinks animatronic figures are evil and coming to life, and pretends to shoot himself with a fake Frontierland rifle.

There is a gruesome vomiting scene, a creepy obese guy on a motorized scooter and a sequence at Disney’s Epcot theme park in which Mr. Abramsohn’s character is Tasered.

Zeitchik also notes that the movie doesn't exude a guerilla style—he writes that it feels as though the movie was shot with Disney's full cooperation. He mentions the intense emotions and difficulties that Moore (and his cast and crew) went through while filming in stealth, worried they'd be caught and the project would be squashed.

Now, Moore's Escape From Tomorrow is the talk of Sundance. Trever Groth, director of programming for the festival, called the movie the highlight of his programming season. Cinematic Media is representing the film's rights. They're the group that helped make it so you could see former Sundance darlings Precious, Napoleon Dynamite, and Exit Through the Gift Shop (the Banksy movie).

The problem with Escape From Tomorrow, though, is that it is widely believed that Disney would never let this film make it to a theater near you, especially given the juxtaposition of the feel-good American Dream imagery and the dark, pessimistic tones of the film.

If you've got a few minutes, you should definitely read Zeitchik's piece to learn about Moore's process and the film's future. Read Barnes to learn about the film itself and Moore's feelings about the Disney corporation. And then prepare yourself for the fact that it's entirely possible that you'll never get to see the coolest film at Sundance this year.

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