EXCLUSIVE: Searching director Aneesh Chaganty has selected five burgeoning filmmakers who will get a chance to see their short films come to life on the big screen via his YouTube Space Director’s Lab.
Participants are Sarah Rotella and Adriana DiLonardo from Unsolicited Project, Tony E. Valenzuela from BlackBoxTV, Shae-Lee Shackleford from SketchShe, Tim Hautekiet from TimH Films, and Mikey Murphy from Mikey Murphy. Each original short, which can be viewed here, will also be screened ahead of a special showing of Searching this Thursday in Los Angeles and the winner will be announced by Chaganty. The winning short will play ahead of Searching in select theaters starting the next day.
27-year-old Chaganty, who landed a spot on Google Creative Lab Five team after releasing a Google Glass short titled Seeds, served as a mentor to the participants.
“I’m honored to have hosted this workshop and to be part of these incredibly talented filmmakers’ bright journeys. They all bring different skill sets and ideas to the table, so choosing just one short out of the five is going to be tough,” said Chaganty. “But I’m really excited for everyone to be able to watch all of them, regardless of which one makes it to the big screen.”
Searching, Chaganty’s directorial debut feature, stars John Cho as David Kim, who starts to go down an Internet rabbit hole when his 16-year-old daughter (Michelle La) goes missing. A local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case, but 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search his daughter’s laptop. It opens a Pandora’s box of clues, truths, and secrets that might or might not lead him to his daughter. The thriller, which was written by Chaganty and Sev Ohanian, also stars Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, and Sara Sohn.
Screen Gems is releasing the film in select theaters August 24 before expanding nationwide August 31.