Hollywood’s $30 Million Gamble: $500 YouTube Robots

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Two years ago, did you know the name Neill Blomkamp? No? Well, take a minute right now to write down the name Federico Alvarez, because he may well be the new creative force to storm Hollywood.

He was paid a million bucks by a movie studio just a few days ago for bringing a new media focus to an old-school format: The short film. Spending only $500 out-of-pocket, Alvarez made the rather remarkable 5-minute short below, depicting a major city being invaded, and obliterated, by an army of towering robots.

Uploaded to YouTube in only early November, the film, called Panic Attack!, exploded. In less than a month, it was viewed nearly 800,000 times, and resulted in Alvarez flying out to Hollywood, to be wooed by the major studios. It was Mandate Pictures that ultimately signed the man from Uruguay, paying him a $1 million directing fee and green-lighting a budget of up to $30 million. More than that: He now has a new apartment, a new car, and will be working with Spiderman’s Sam Raimi in developing the project.

Five minutes of footage and a month on the web: The new career path for up and coming filmmakers?

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