Friday, January 22, 2010

How to Become a Millionaire Latino Filmmaker

The answer is... make a short film. But before I get to that, a quick, personal update: I finally moved out west! Yes, I am now officially a resident of San Diego, where life is generally uneventful and the weather is always post-card perfect (except this week). And that's exactly what I wanted, so I'm happy. I'll be posting a lot more now that I'm done with the move and all of the expected headaches. Actually, I'm very much looking forward to the San Diego Latino Film Festival, which unspools March 11-21. I've never been to it, but it has a very good reputation. Expect write-ups and reviews from the fest as well as regular posts about other topics in the weeks to come. It's been a slow winter for Latin American cinema - the only major release since "Gigante" in early December is "Los paranoicos" ("The Paranoids"), an offbeat Argentine comedy which was panned by the NY Times today. But hopefully things will pick up now that Sundance is underway and Berlin is coming up.

Ok, so back to the initial question- How do you become a crazy rich Latino filmmaker? Just follow Federico Alvarez's lead. Get incredibly good at computer animation, make a visually sophisticated short for $300 dollars about space machines attacking (and destroying) Montevideo, post it on You Tube, sit back and watch Hollywood throw millions of dollars at you. It's that easy.

After Alvarez's short "Panic Attack!" became a sensation online, Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man") called him up and the two of them hit it off. Alvarez then signed a contract with Raimi’s production company and is now set to make his feature film debut with a $30 to $40 million dollar budget. It's unclear whether it will be a longer version of "Panic Attack!" or something completely different. Frankly, I hope it's not some retread of what Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay already do. I'm banking for something with some social relevance like District 9.

Here's the short in it's entirety. Enjoy it!