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January 20, 2013 2:10 AM   Subscribe

"Escape From Tomorrow" is playing at the Sundance 2013 Film Festival. The black and white movie describes one family man's mental disintegration over a day at Disney's Orlando park. Randy Moore directed the film on-site without the knowledge of Disney. Reviews are generally good, with comparisons to The Truman Show and Eraserhead, though people who have seen it wonder how this will play out legally.

Filmmaker Magazine: "The film is like a bad acid trip version of National Lampoon’s Vacation, but with Wally World substituted by the real thing."

New York Times (spoilers): "There is a gruesome vomiting scene, a creepy obese guy on a motorized scooter and a sequence at Disney’s Epcot theme park where Mr. Abramsohn’s character gets Tasered in the crotch. He is then taken to a secret room underneath Epcot’s Spaceship Earth sphere — referred to in the film as “the giant testicle” — and brainwashed. Ultimately, he suffers a bloody death at Disney’s Contemporary Resort."

LA Times: "To make the movie, Moore wouldn’t print out script pages or shot sequences for the 25 days he was filming on Disney turf, instead keeping all the info on iPhones. This way, when actors and crew were looking down between takes, passersby just thought they were glancing at their messages."

The director on filming: "So it wasn’t like we weren’t prepared, but the whole thing was still extremely distressing as we basically lived the movie with the actors. At one point, I even made the camera department shave off their facial hair and dress in tourist attire, which almost provoked a mutiny."

A clip from the movie, the movie poster, and an associated twitter account.
posted by Wordshore (33 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would like to see this film.
posted by mannequito at 2:24 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we have a spoiler alert, please, mods. The NYT quote gives away too much of the plot.
posted by essexjan at 3:22 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Okay, yeah, added. The NYT one did seem pretty spoilery. ]
posted by taz at 3:38 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the lack of spoiler (thanks, taz). Small point discovered while researching for this FPP on a public computer. The director, Randy Moore, has the same name as a porn star. If you run searches on him, you may want to turn SafeSearch, or similar, on beforehand.
posted by Wordshore at 3:49 AM on January 20, 2013


Going mad at Disney...? I suspect that the "Small World" ride plays a significant role. And, making a film crew look like tourists probably required a makeup and wardrobe budget larger than your typical massive horror film!
posted by HuronBob at 3:50 AM on January 20, 2013


I would love to see this film I will likely never see.

Gee, thanks?!
posted by markkraft at 3:50 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


wheres my cut
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:12 AM on January 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


how it will play out legally... If there is one thing Randy Moore is fucking praying for it is for Disney to sic its attack lawyers on him. As long as they paid their admittance, paid for their rides, and didn't disrupt the experience for the other visitors, Moore did nothing that everyone else who goes to a theme park doesn't do -- he took pictures and showed them around. Are they going to start making every visitor sign a copyright waiver? I don't think so.

The fact that once he was off-site he arranged those pictures into a subversive nightmare is beyond their control, and PARK SUES FILMMAKER is the kind of headline that will make everyone in America willing to crawl across broken glass to see the film. I'm sure the Disney lawyers are advising their corporate masters that the only smart thing for them to do is hunker down, be absolutely silent, and wait for it to blow over. Of course, corporate masters can be very stupid, so they might not take this advice, particularly since they focus so much on control of their image.
posted by localroger at 6:24 AM on January 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


how it will play out legally

I'm thinking he must have violated something, by using Disney park imagery within a commercial project without consent. Note: not defending Disney, just wondering about the legalities.
posted by davebush at 6:43 AM on January 20, 2013


Too early in the morning to dig it all up, but yes, for creative (not journalistic) work one needs the permission of the owner of the private space you are using in recorded video media. And since every inch of Disney World is private space...
posted by andreaazure at 6:52 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Golly, that poster is terrible! Hard to tell whether it's intentionally so for some ironic purpose, or just...terrible.
posted by How the runs scored at 7:11 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


This:
how it will play out legally... If there is one thing Randy Moore is fucking praying for it is for Disney to sic its attack lawyers on him. As long as they paid their admittance, paid for their rides, and didn't disrupt the experience for the other visitors, Moore did nothing that everyone else who goes to a theme park doesn't do -- he took pictures and showed them around. Are they going to start making every visitor sign a copyright waiver? I don't think so.

VS this:

Too early in the morning to dig it all up, but yes, for creative (not journalistic) work one needs the permission of the owner of the private space you are using in recorded video media. And since every inch of Disney World is private space...

Perhaps this can be a case that changes the law (and force people to sign a multi-page contract to be able to enter places like DisneyWorld)
posted by rough ashlar at 7:25 AM on January 20, 2013


I guess it wasn't so far fetched. This reminds me of the way "Chubby Rain" was shot in "Bowfinger".
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 7:26 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aren't there certain regulations that people kind of simply opt-in to when they purchase a Disney theme park ticket or pass?
posted by FJT at 7:37 AM on January 20, 2013


The black and white movie describes one family man's mental disintegration over a day at Disney's Orlando park.

Sounds derivative of that Chevy Chase film where he takes the family to Wally World.
posted by three blind mice at 7:39 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was expecting it to look like a dogme film but that clip looks incredible.
posted by cazoo at 8:02 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damon Packard supposedly got away with just a lifetime ban for the bits of Reflections of Evil shot at Universal Studios without permission. And that crazy thing is widely available, so maybe this will be officially releasable. And even if it's not, there are many channels for distributing "illegal" art these days.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:04 AM on January 20, 2013


I have to see this film.
posted by Catblack at 8:48 AM on January 20, 2013


I'm on my way to Sundance tomorrow and I'll see if I can't pick up tickets for this film. Thanks for the heads up and, more importantly, for the spoiler alerts.

I'll revisit this thread after the show! : )
posted by mistersquid at 9:00 AM on January 20, 2013


From the description, I was expecting shaky-cam ameteurism but that clip looks like it was done in a 1940s studio.
posted by octothorpe at 9:02 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Regarding the poster, I think the typography is a bit weak, but I really like that it's actually a painted image.
posted by davebush at 9:10 AM on January 20, 2013


Thinking through it all, if Disney did get all litigious over it and even won the case (which I think may be a distinct possibility because of the aforementioned private property being used in commercial context without permission + how frackking litigious Disney is) and had the film suppressed and Moore et al fail to break even the film will be seen by a fair number of people via digital "illegal" copies and it will give them the needed marketing edge for the next project. "Hey, this is that guy-who-shot-that-film-inside-Disneyland's next flick, it might be worth watching."
posted by edgeways at 9:14 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Loved the poster which, perhaps oddly, immediately reminded of Logan's Run.

I have to see this film.

One way or the other, surely it's extremely likely to appear in some form soon as film distribution seems to be more porous than a colander? For example, the big recently opened films up for Oscars appear to have been leaked weeks back as there's apparently high quality versions floating around online, if you don't mind the text "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION" popping up intermittently when you watch them.

Even if helicopters of lawyers fly in (Apocalypse Disney?) then it just needs one leak, accidentally or deliberately or "accidentally" deliberately and, yeah, that's it?
posted by Wordshore at 9:22 AM on January 20, 2013


Really, don't under-estimate the corporate stupid with this sort of thing. Just a shame that Jobs is no longer on the board, given the creative use of iPhones in guerilla film-making. Also, don't under-estimate the determination of Big Media Corp to reinforce any sort of rights issues; for Disney to go to war on this might make every last MeFite roll their eyes unto heaven, but I bet it'd go down well with their investors. (MeFites who are also long on Disney may develop ocular twitches.)

Oh, the film? Sounds it's got a better claim to its celluloid than most of the stuff that inchworms out of Hollywood.
posted by Devonian at 9:26 AM on January 20, 2013


Related: Missing in the Mansion, a short but effective "found footage"-type horror movie, also shot surreptitiously at Disneyland, in and around The Haunted Mansion.
posted by webmutant at 9:34 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


mannequito: "I would like to see this film."

You and me both. SOOOOO, in my case. Here's to hoping it get a distribution deal and not sued into a smoking crater by Disney.

C'mon Disney! Remember Wheaton's Rule. Learn it. LIVE IT!
posted by Samizdata at 9:45 AM on January 20, 2013


Oh, so this is like the bits of L.A. Confidential that got cut from the adaptation.
posted by dhartung at 10:49 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hey, this is that guy-who-shot-that-film-inside-Disneyland's next flick, it might be worth watching."

Related: Missing in the Mansion, a short but effective "found footage"-type horror movie, also shot surreptitiously at Disneyland, in and around The Haunted Mansion.


Just a pet peeve, but this is Disneyworld, not Disneyland. Disneyland is in California, while Epcot and the Magic Kingdom are in Florida: The black and white movie describes one family man's mental disintegration over a day at Disney's Orlando park. Randy Moore directed the film on-site without the knowledge of Disney.

Having them shave off their facial hair to look like tourists seems pretty over-the-top to me, no wonder they almost mutinied! Tourists come from everywhere; facial hair is not going to give you away as part of a camera crew. Most people in theme parks are too concerned with pushing their way through crowds/herding their kids together/trying to figure how to get where they're going and otherwise exhausted, hot and bothered to really pay any attention to the other tourists, so your fellow guests aren't going to get suspicious.

As for the Disney employees, they probably couldn't give a damn about bearded guys with iPhones. They see them every day, after all.

Now, if you are walking around trying to find one of the entries to the underground tunnel system, that would definitely get you noticed. Then, being clean-shaven might be beneficial, but that's because you'd look more like an employee without the beard.
posted by misha at 11:45 AM on January 20, 2013


Wordshore: "The black and white movie describes one family man's mental disintegration over a day at Disney's Orlando park"

I am assuming the soundtrack is "It's a Small World".
posted by chavenet at 12:10 PM on January 20, 2013


the big recently opened films up for Oscars appear to have been leaked weeks back
Yeah, you gotta love screener season. Can't remember which one I recently watched- it was a apparently a p2p release because it didn't follow scene release rules- that had an intact notice at the beginning saying it had a unique digital watermark on it for purposes of punishing leakers, heh heh. Good ol' pirates!

On the other hand, lots of stuff does take a while to leak, and things that never get a DVD release might never show up on the public parts of the internet. Here's hoping that this ends up something like Los Angeles Plays Itself, which is famously unreleasable, but definitely available and well worth seeking out.
posted by hap_hazard at 12:49 PM on January 20, 2013


From the second paragraph of the NY Times article:
The movie, while careful to leave out certain copyrighted material (like the It’s a Small World song)...
So, no.
posted by desuetude at 1:24 PM on January 20, 2013


More (minor spoilers abound) from A.V. Club, Los Angeles Times, Park Record and The Playlist.
posted by Wordshore at 3:34 PM on January 20, 2013


Short video interview with the Director, including a few very short clips from the film. (Contains consumption of live seafish)
posted by Wordshore at 4:51 AM on January 21, 2013


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