Looks like Sam Raimi and Ghost House Pictures have won the Federico Alvarez sweepstakes. A couple of days ago we posted a short film from the young Uruguayan filmmaker called Panic Attack!, which had been spreading across YouTube like wildfire and attracting a lot of attention in Hollywood. Now we have news from the Uruguayan newspaper El PaÃs that Alvarez has signed a contract with Sam Raimi’s production company and is set to make his feature film debut with a $30 to 40 million science-fiction film. Clearly they are hoping this will be the next District 9… but can he deliver?
While the original article is in Spanish, the loose translation also tells us that Raimi spoke with Federico Alvarez on the phone for an hour and a half and the two seemed to hit it off. The idea would be for Raimi to shield him from the business side of things in order to give him the freedom to make the movie he wants (not unlike how Peter Jackson helped mentor Neill Blomkamp). The film will be shot in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay. It’s unclear if the story will be based partially on Panic Attack!, but the project was hastily developed over Alvarez’s two week whirlwind trip to Los Angeles, and it sounds like he wants to include robots in some way. Either way, it should be interesting to see what comes of this. As I’ve mentioned previously, I think District 9 is a great production template to work from and I hope we see studios taking chances on a few more young filmmakers in the near future. (Thanks to Nico for the heads up!)