EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has won an auction for the right to create a feature out of Sundays, a dazzling 14-minute short film by first-time feature director Mischa Rozema that had at least three studios vying for it after it went viral on Monday. Sony Pictures and Fox also chased it. Sundays becomes the latest in a growing trend where emerging filmmakers are dazzling the studios with short films that offer proof of concept and demonstrate an ability to create worlds and tone. Rozema and his cohorts from Amsterdam-based PostPanic used Kickstarter to raise the $50,000 it cost to create the short that evokes films like Inception and The Matrix for its dreamy tone and mind bending visual displays.
This deal has a fun backstory. Circle of Confusion’s Jairo Alvarado saw a commercial done by Rozema and tracked him to Amsterdam. The filmmaker pitched him Sundays as a feature. Rather than try to bring it directly to studios as a pricey feature by an unknown, they teamed with UTA to hook up the Kickstarter campaign for a short. His new UTA agents flew to Amsterdam where they helped Rozema cast it and where he put together the plans for a short shoot in Mexico City (Rozema did most of his location scouting via Google Earth). They shot it and posted it at the director’s PostPanic commercials production and VFX house that he runs with Jules Tervoort and Ania Markham in Amsterdam. Rozema took a general meeting in Hollywood last fall, showing his commercials reel and teasing Sundays. When the finished 14-minute short went viral Monday, studios were all over it. It got so crazy that another agency began sending out the film, apparently unaware the director was already signed by UTA. UTA and Circle of Confusion and attorney Jennifer Levy of Behr Abramson Levy Llp closed the deal earlier today. Rozema will come to Hollywood again in a couple of weeks to meet with Warner Bros’ Greg Silverman and Drew Crevello and Jon Gonda, who are running point on this, and they’ll hire writers to draft what shapes up to be Rozema’s feature directorial debut. Watch here to see what all the fuss is about: