Carl Rinsch’s Sci-Fi Short The Gift Sparks Bidding War


Lately it seems that if you want to break into Hollywood, the best way to do it is with an eye-catching short film. Ever since Neill Blomkamp hit paydirt with District 9, a feature-length version of his short film “Alive in Joburg”, studios have been looking for more talented filmmakers to offer brief 5 to 10 minute glimpses of potential blockbusters. Uruguayan director Federico Alvarez also landed a deal with Sam Raimi’s production company last year based on the strength of his YouTube hit Panic Attack!.

Now Carl Erik Rinsch is the latest director to attract studio attention with his new short film “The Gift”. Created for the Phillips Parallel Lines project (an ad campaign to sell TVs), the movie showcases an intriguing I, Robot-esque chase sequence set in a futuristic Russian police state. The same day that the short premiered online, a bidding war broke out among several studios (including Warner Brothers and Fox) who want to turn the short into a feature length film. Rinsch isn’t exactly an unknown; he works for Ridley Scott’s production company, and was at one point lined up to direct Alien 5. Still, it’s funny how desperate these studios seem for original ideas, when there are probably so many other directors dying for a chance to prove themselves right now. Check out the short film after the jump and see what you think.

  • Wouldn’t a Half Life 2 movie be great?

    This is definitely more impressive than Federico Alvarez’ short film. I could get excited about turning this into a feature length film.

  • SirPrize

    Picture: Half-Life 2 anyone?

  • Fatbologna

    Here’s another great new short film that comes highly recommended by Edgar Wright! Good Stuff!

  • kyriacos 100 years from now Russian police still drives soviet cars..

    LOVE IT!

  • “Still, it’s funny how desperate these studios seem for original ideas”

    do you ever edit yourself, that is the silliest line you’ve written in a long time. with all the branded, remake bullshit being the only things greenlit why would you write that?! sorry to take a dump on you Sean, but this is hardly a sign of the trend shifting for the film lover…I hate Hollywood right now!

  • by the way there is NO story here; robot butler takes the command of a stranger to his own demise?! you could say he did know the guy killed his master but the woman screaming and the cops should have given the robot some clue. more eye candy and no story – I can see why Hollywood loves it.

  • My point is that there are probably tons of cool scripts and ideas for something like this floating around out there, but they see one short film that has some neat special effects and they’re instantly all over it. I’d say that’s a sign of desperation. Maybe not for “originality”, but for something that looks cool because they don’t have confidence that they can create something like this themselves.

  • swarez

    These shorts are only made for their looks in HD, the narrative is second.

  • AlexG

    stupid emotionless butler-robot face, vague and uninteresting story (unicorn in a box, eh?..) and the chase scene didn’t impress me that much either (too video-gamey, particularly in its first half)

  • So true… The Narrative only comes second. I felt nothing for the characters. Nor did I understand the reason why the robot made a run for it. It seems they made a story based around the CHASE. Just some excuse to have a robot being chased through moscow. The CGI was great in the beginning, the set up, perfect… It had such potential… but then, it just fell apart during the sub standard chase scene that we’ve all seen a million times before, only to have it totally crash and burn with its utterly weak ending. Very sad.

  • Niklas

    really? it was a cool short film but I dont see why the studios would be all over it..

  • These studio big wigs need to see a short film called Siblings, whoever directed that thing is the future of cinema. ;)

  • I do think Sean brings up a good point that Hollywood is very juvenile in their inability to support an idea by reading a script and looking at a director’s previous work. “the suits” get all crazy when they see a short like this instead of “seeing it” in a script, concept art and a portfolio of previous films. think about that? that’s ridiculous and so juvenile. that means the decision makers in Hollywood have the same evaluation skills as a 15 year old high schooler; they can only get excited when it easy to digest and is in their face!

  • pcch7

    Definitely looks like Half-Life.. I´d rather see these guys get a chance to do a feature film of their Half-Life short, Escape from City 17

  • pcch7

    And regarding Seans comment, that´s pretty much what happened with 300.. Snyder would show them concept art and try and explain to the studio many times but they kept asking for something more and finally gave him money to do shoot one scene which of course won them over immediately.

  • Allen

    How the fuck is this original? Russian evil? Oh come on! I bet if americans for once have their time of being evil in movies, they wont be taken up by the studios.

  • swarez

    It’s not supposed to be overly original, only to look good. These films are made to pimp a new TV, not to revolutionize cinema.