Sundance Director Creates Incognito Feature Film in Disney Parks

January 21, 2013, 11:23 PM · Escape from Tomorrow, a newly premiered film which takes place in Walt Disney World and Disneyland, is causing a stir at the Sundance Film Festival, both critically and politically.

Why the latter? According to the LA Times, Randy Moore, the filmmaker, recorded and released the film entirely without the Walt Disney Company's knowledge or consent. Using a handheld camera, scripts on smartphones, and unknowing guests as extras, Moore recorded the entire film, including a scene in which Epcot blows up, entirely within the resort over the past 3 years, then edited the feature in South Korea to avoid leaks and rumors.

Critically, the movie is doing very well. The Walt Disney Company has yet to comment on the film, which arguably showcases the resort in a negative light.

While Disney may pursue legal action and prevent this film from ever being shown commercially, we may have some help on that front from pirates... and I don't mean Captain Jack Sparrow.

Replies (12)

January 22, 2013 at 12:55 AM · I'd love to see this film. I hope Disney leaves it unfettered. Your thoughts?
January 22, 2013 at 5:30 AM · Leave it unfettered? Disney? NO WAY.
January 22, 2013 at 6:13 AM · Oh what a surprise Disney Bashing on TPI ...... and its only day 22 of the new year..... Sometime I wonder why this website isnt called WE HATE ALL THINGS

As for the film I work in law and what this film maker has done is broken the law.... and apart from that like any story there are always 2 sides otherwise you get a skewed one sided view that just missleads people.

January 22, 2013 at 9:40 AM · I have mixed feelings on it. I'm really excited to see it and think it's an intriguing concept for a movie. On the other hand, I do see that Disney may have a valid legal point to go after the director. The question is whether they'll give him the publicity for the movie by attacking him or just not comment and work in back channels. I really don't think it hurts their brand much, as attacking the fact that Disney is a big corporation is pretty obvious.

Also, I think it's great that this site is fair about Disney and doesn't just write glowing things. Keep up the great work!

January 22, 2013 at 10:48 AM · IMHO Robert Niles does a good job of reporting objectively on the theme park scene. Though we all enjoy the fantasy side of the theme parks, the corporate bureaucracy behind the parks are sometimes less customer friendly than they would like us to believe. Large corporations are generally financially bottom line driven. While that is the American capitalistic way, hopefully long term good is not sacrificed for short term profits. Mr. Niles does well in keeping the good of the theme park customers in the forefront and calling out any corporation that does not reinvest in maintainance and long term customer and park improvements. Ignoring that problems exists, is not in the best interests of the theme park customers. Mr. Niles balances his criticisms of all the theme park corporations and does not appear to isolate his criticisms towards any park system. To believe there are no problems is just being naive. Robert simply reports on where he sees the shortfalls.
January 22, 2013 at 11:16 AM · Maybe my comment on disney bashing was too off the cuff, however I never see any critical bloggs or thread on USF or IOA, IOA is a mess of a park, with only one strong point HP. Cartoon Lagoon is a absolute disaster with poor themeing and 2 rides that get u wet, Marvel land again is a mess, it feels like a generic concrete them park, apart from spider man and hulk its pretty lack lustre. USF for me is a theme park IOA just seems like any other middle of the road theme park.

As for my comment about the disney film yes without critisim things dont get better as long as its constructive, film making especially when its a fly on the wall can give a very onwsided view. Good journelism should allow for a balanced view with both sides of the argument being given, a undercover report just concentrating at the bad points is not a fair reprensentation of a service or business, for every negative exposure there may be just as many positives. Just saying if you want a fair representation give both sides of the story and let the watcher decide rather then force feed a one sided argument. Its like the rest of the world viewing all Americans as gun wielding red necks in the bible belt. That comment is certainly not my view but its to make a point how damaging a very narrow unresearched view can be.

January 22, 2013 at 10:02 PM · I'd be surprised if Disney doesn't take legal action. The blowing up of EPCOT? They can't be cool with that. I also believe that the park ticket has some agreement on it that you can't use pictures and film in the parks for commercial reasons. This seems to be a big breech of that.

I do think Disney gets the most flack on the site, but then again, it's usually the standard that all other rides and parks are compared.

January 22, 2013 at 10:14 PM · I'm sorry, but can someone show where this article, or the comments otherwise, has "Disney Bashing." As I recall, the article stated that Disney is unlikely to be happy with this illegal film (as they should) and will most likely take legal action. That doesn't really criticize anything.

If the comments are what suggest it, any regular on this site knows that most of Mike's posts are for laughs. I don't think he really cares about Disney one way or the other.

January 23, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Not every post I make is me trying to be funny, James. My post above certainly wasn't an attempt at such. I was simply noting that Disney doesn't let stuff like this slide. And I may not be a Disney-phile, but if you can find examples of me "bashing" them, I'd be interested to see them. And although I don't have deep feelings for or con..I DO care what they do, since it affects the whole industry.
January 23, 2013 at 9:28 AM · Mike, I agree completely. However, and again, I am trying to find the reason why being critical of Disney was brought up, which includes the article and any subsequent comments.
January 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM · Just about anytime somebody uses extreme words like "never" and "absolute" you can take their criticisms with a grain of salt. In addition, calling IOA a "mess of a park" and "any other middle of the road theme park" is a pathetic attempt at trolling. We have good, honest discussions around here, and you can't be a fanboy for any particular chain of parks without getting smacked down by the regulars.

Now as far as the movie goes - it isn't journalism! It's entertainment! It doesn't have to be balanced because it is a fictional account set in real locations which I believe is the premise of a large percentage of the movies released every year.

As far as putting Disney in a fictitious bad light, welcome to the club, MIckey! Just about every American institution worth a hoot has been portrayed in less than flattering ways in movies over the years and just about every major American city has been blown up, flooded, and/or destroyed by aliens or mutagenic monsters. It was inevitable that Disney would eventually join the crowd.

The only mistake that this filmmaker made was wasting his inheritance to finance a movie that American audiences will never see because Disney will have it tied up in court forever. As far as breaking the law, that is debatable. Disney has to prove trademark infringement which they most likely will and should do. Beyond that, this guy has succeeded. He's gotten the attention and critical acclaim he wanted, and he's a sure bet to get a production deal from somebody in the industry.

January 24, 2013 at 1:22 AM · Thanks for defending me, James. I tried to make the article completely objective and devoid of my opinion, which I waited to express in the comments section.

Disney wouldn't be in the wrong for suing, but why bother? Is anyone in the target audience for this film - indie film buffs, students, and critics - really going to change their opinion about the corporation after watching this piece? I think it's an amazing achievement in art, and for a corporation whose roots stem from grand artistic achievement to blacklist a film which accomplished just that seems callous.

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