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'Escape from Tomorrow' showcases DIY film advances

What are some of the challenges of do-it-yourself filmmaking?
What are some of the challenges of do-it-yourself filmmaking?
Piero Fissore

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A feature film shot surreptitiously at Disney World - featuring Epcot Center, pretty princesses and It’s a Small World - is somehow escaping litigation and coming to a handful of theaters and video-on-demand October 11.

The strange guerilla film centers on a family whose Disney vacation turns into a surrealist horror. The filmmaker, Randy Moore, and his cast and crew spent days and days at Florida’s Disney World using small, but pro cameras, to pull off the high-production-value feature. The advent of affordable, high-quality digital cameras, such as Canon’s 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera and the RED ONE mean do-it-yourself filmmakers can come off looking like Spielberg.

So if “Escape from Tomorrow” was hugely buzzworthy when it premiered at Sundance, why hasn’t it provoked a lawsuit from Disney? How far can independent filmmakers go in avoiding proper permits and licenses? If you’re an independent filmmaker, what risks do you take to envision your dream?

AirTalk speaks to intellectual property attorney, Ruth Carter, and for the indie filmmaker perspective, co-founder of SlamDance (a truly indie collective created as a backlash to Sundance going “too commercial”), Peter Baxter.


Ruth Carter, Attorney specializing in intellectual property, based in Arizona

Peter Baxter, Founder and Director, Slamdance - a film festival and film collective; Filmmaker - upcoming documentary “Wild in the Streets”