Recent USC film school grad Jeff Wadlow was named winner of this year’s Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival, snaring a feature production deal with Universal.
The contest has run most of the year, kicking off a monthlong online contest at the Sundance Film Festival and continuing at Cannes as 10 semifinalists created shorts incorporating Chrysler vehicles. Five finalists spent the summer working with industry mentors to draft a script, shoot a scene and create related materials, then pitched them at the Toronto Film Festival.
A panel of industry professionals, led by Hypnotic co-founder Doug Liman, production execs at U and Focus Features and Chrysler design guru Freeman Thomas, tapped Wadlow for a $1 million production deal through U, which holds a minority stake in Hypnotic. Focus, U’s specialty imprint, likely will handle pic’s distribution.
Wadlow’s project is called “Living the Lie,” a modern-day retelling of Aesop’s fable about the boy who cried wolf. Shooting is projected to begin by early next year.
Wadlowcreated a short titled “Tower of Babel” with schoolmate/producing partner Beau Bauman at USC’s School of Cinema-Television. That project qualified Wadlow for the Chrysler contest. His Cannes short led to his signing with the William Morris Agency.
Other finalists were Seth Wiley and Geoff Haley of Los Angeles, Patrick Daughters of New York and Matthew Ehlers of Rochester, NY.