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Watch 6-Minute Viral Sci-Fi Short Film That Has Hollywood Abuzz Over Feature Film Potential

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by Tambay A. Obenson
October 16, 2012 10:24 AM
26 Comments
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It's not the surest path to get Hollywood studio attention, but, in recent years, several filmmakers have made short films that went viral (some we featured), and got Hollywood's attention. A few of those shorts have gone on to become feature length films.

Here's the latest one that, according to several reports, has Hollywood on the hunt.

Titled True Skin, it's a 6-minute sci-fi film directed by Stephan Zlotescu‘s, whose manager says thatindustry response has been insane,” five days after the full film was uploaded to the web, and attracted some 230,000 plays in that short time.

Within hours of release, we were receiving calls from major studios and financiers,” he added, and that they're in “active negotiations.

Ultimately, they want to adapt the short film into a feature film, saying that they believe it has the potential to be a franchise, broadening beyond cinema, and into video games and more.

And this won't be the first time Stephan's manager, Scott Glassgold, has gone down this path. He and his company (IAM Entertainmentspecialize in pitching movies via viral shorts as a different approach to the traditional “submit-screenplay-and-pray-for-a-miracle” approach that most first-time feature filmmakers rely on. 

Two years ago, IAM Entertainment drew Hollywood's interest with a fake trailer for an English-language version of a Serbian sci-fi movie titled Technotise. Currently, Avatar producer Laeta Kalogridis, is developing a live-action script for that project.

So is this one worthy of all the hype? Would you want to see a feature-length version of this? Watch and decide:

TRUE SKIN from H1 on Vimeo.

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26 Comments

  • Claud | October 24, 2012 7:31 PMReply

    I'm rather baffled by the comments below.

    A lot of you are criticising it for lack or story, bad characters, short scenes etc. I think you're missing the point.

    This is clearly the work of a conceptual artist. Someone who is a keen graphic designer, animator and visually inspired director. The purpose of this film, as it is for many shorts, is to showcase what the director can do.

    What this guy can do is mostly comprised of skill in creating a distinct style built on ambitious imagination and impressive technical ability. People in Hollywood have seen this and recognised potential in it.

    Sure, the story isn't exactly deep and you don't get to know the characters, but that's not easy to do in 5 minutes, especially when a piece is so focused on the visual and contextual concepts. There's enough there to act as a taster for something, and that's what Hollywood has seen.

    The premise is tired and the script could have been more subtle, but what he's done with the visuals (although I have issues with them aesthetically) - the amount of hours and dedication that must have gone into this - is alone worthy of serious recognition. The score is great too.

    All in all it's a brilliant exercise in style and should be praised as such. Stop looking for a masterpiece in every painting and appreciate each for its own strengths and the potential it offers if given a chance to blossom.

    I wonder how many of you who say they wouldn't see the feature version have watched films a lot worse and didn't criticise them half as much. And how many of you, if/when this guy releases the trailer for his feature will end up changing your minds.

  • Anthony | October 24, 2012 9:17 AMReply

    This is crap,
    People don't want to see a dehumanized characters and setting,

    It would be a big mistake to support this, it would only see a massive lose of money,
    Dumb, but what's the old saying? "A fool and his money are soon parted"

  • Heegrimm | October 24, 2012 2:47 AMReply

    Please... This is pure Deus Ex (the game), a pinch of Ghost in the Shell thrown in (in that you can save and back up your "ghost"). Not even a whiff of Blade Runner whatsoever. The writing is horrible. No originality whatsoever. OK as some kids animation diploma piece for its visuals and there it ends.

  • eshowman | October 23, 2012 12:13 AMReply

    I have seen the film it's pretty. More like Ghost in the Shell than Blade Runner. I'm confused about what this has to do with films of the African Diaspora?

  • eshowman | October 23, 2012 12:13 AMReply

    I have seen the film it's pretty. More like Ghost in the Shell than Blade Runner. I'm confused about what this has to do with films of the African Diaspora?

  • Jahmil | October 19, 2012 11:47 PMReply

    Lacks substance. Shows astute technical ability but is hampered by poor storytelling and excessive exposition. If you fail to tell a story in 6 minutes, how the heck are you going to fill a feature-length canvas? There is no justice in Hollywood...

  • JAB | October 19, 2012 7:03 PMReply

    A full length feature would be tough to take with or without longer edits, but I'd like to see a longer version of this remarkable --if highly derivative-- film. No debating that the visuals are striking, but maybe that's because I tend to love sci-fi.

  • Danny | October 18, 2012 6:13 PMReply

    Eh.... much like Caprica honestly.

  • Skillset | October 18, 2012 4:32 PMReply

    Nice t-shirt, Bro.

  • C.Ichiban | October 18, 2012 3:53 PMReply

    "My only choice was to enhance...even if it meant stealing that prototype. How was I supposed to know the damn thing was classified. Now the whole world was after me."
    I like the concept, the look is kinda cool, and I was even ok with the writing up until this part. That is some SHIT storytelling. And it gets worse from there. Investors...if you're going to take the idea, PLEASE give creative control of the story to someone else.

  • plinth8 | October 18, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    Some interesting ideas completely overshadowed by the fact that it was such a pathetic retread of Blade Runner. Sort of embarrassing. Maybe entertaining if you're a child enamoured by shiny things.

  • Mr Montag 199x | October 24, 2012 11:33 AM

    No, it has no relation to Blade Runner. This piece of crap has nothing save for some flashy bright neon lights and souped up digitial effects. Non existent storyline with monotone narrator with no depth.

  • Sniffy | October 18, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    I dunno about a full length film, but it would make a great videogame along the lines of Shadowrun/Binary Domain. I love the colors and concepts!

  • Gamer | October 18, 2012 1:38 PMReply

    This is basically just the setting of Posthuman Studios pen and paper rpg Eclipse Phase, with a few call backs to FASA's very old and famous Shadowrun. All of which is inspired by and/or steals directly from dozens of William Gibson and Phllip K. Dick novels. http://eclipsephase.com/ Its well presented, but its themes and setting have been a part of science fiction for decades. Nothing special.

  • fan of writing | October 18, 2012 12:31 PMReply

    That looks and sounds terrible.
    Spending all that time on effects and a crap script behind it. Bravo for attracting the agents of commerce.

  • NinaG | October 18, 2012 11:16 AMReply

    the "storyline" in the short was hitting on some white male fantasy a bit too much for my liking. i liked the colors tho

  • Mr. Friendly | October 18, 2012 4:07 AMReply

    Don't. Don't. Don't Believe The Hype.

  • Cyril | October 18, 2012 1:01 AMReply

    Hmmmm I don't know how to feel about it. Really.

  • JMac | October 16, 2012 8:15 PMReply

    I like the concept. Would watch a full length version with the right storyline.

  • Lines | October 16, 2012 5:53 PMReply

    i think its an interesting idea. It could have done with some better art direction, and reduce some of the fake neon lighting. I'm guess that "Hollywood" is more interested in the concept than anything else.

  • SHEBABABY | October 16, 2012 3:06 PMReply

    Looks pretty but where in the heck is the story. If you're gonna spend this much time and money to create something so visual, why wouldn't you make sure the story is on point as well? I'm a huge fan of movies like the 5th Element and this wasn't it. This just looks like a commercial for neon visuals in Bangkok rather than a movie. Hollywood is always falling for the okey doke. Silly Rabbits..lol

  • urbanauteur | October 16, 2012 3:32 PM

    LOL, Enter the Void its not but i'll give it 2 scoops of raisins;-)

  • NO BRAINER | October 16, 2012 1:51 PMReply

    Great visuals, but I wouldn't see the full version either. I must be the one with Super duper ADD because I yawned while watching it. Too much eye candy. No story. This promises to be one of "those" films. It kind of freaked me out.

  • Donnie Leapheart | October 16, 2012 1:39 PMReply

    This is further proof that Hollywood REALLY loves films with well developed characters! All of the characters featured in this short are full of depth and dimension and are placed in real-world situations that we can all relate. Props! *Wonders if I went over the top with the sarcasm*

  • B | October 16, 2012 11:48 AMReply

    No, I would not watch a full-length version of this. It's like some sort of ADD marathon; no single scene lasts for more than a second. All the constant flashing bright colors is enough to throw one into an epileptic seizure. No thanks. And the narrator's voice is excruciatingly annoying. The one positive thing: I admit it is somewhat interesting visually, if it weren't for all the flashing and too quick scene changes and letters constantly scrolling across the screen. Good luck to the filmmaker, but I wouldn't pay to see a full-length version of this (and this coming from someone who generally likes sci-fi).

  • Darkan | October 16, 2012 1:10 PM

    @ B, I agree with you 100% on this one.

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