×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

IFilm Web exposure leads 2 to CAA deal

Helmers Hunt, Branit take short trip to percentery

Entertainment programming on the Web may not yet have attracted mass audiences, but it’s pulled in those who matter most to aspiring filmmakers: agents.

First time helmers Jeremy Hunt, 26, and Bruce Branit, 32, signed with Creative Artists Agency late last week after the duo’s three-minute short “405: The Movie” was posted on Netcaster iFilm.com.

F/x-heavy pic focuses on a jetliner that lands on a Jeep driving on Los Angeles’ always busy 405 freeway.

The filmmakers spent three months creating the short on their home computers with f/x software they already owned, a digital video camera and virtually no budget (though they did have to pay a $75 traffic ticket for filming on the freeway).

Until recently, the duo spent their days working as f/x artists at Digital Muse, creating visuals for TV series “The X-Files,” “Seven Days,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” musicvids and pics. They spent nights working on “405.” Newfound success has led Hunt and Branit to take a leave of absence from their jobs.

An iFilm programmer initially discovered the duo’s film on their Web site (405themovie.com) earlier this month and encouraged the directors to bring the pic to the Netcaster, where an agent with CAA’s new-media division viewed the pic.

A week later, a deal from the tenpercentery was put on the table. No funds were exchanged.

Vids unnecessary

Upon viewing the pic, Dan Adler, head of new media for CAA, e-mailed the short to agents in the division and the film departments, doing away with the need for videotaped copies.

“If it weren’t for the Web, they wouldn’t have reached the audience they did,” Adler said. “These guys are clearly great storytellers. They demonstrated a great deal of talent as filmmakers and got their film seen by people who needed to see it.”

CAA will focus on selling the duo as directors for features and commercials or as writers.

Jump-starting careers

“It’s been a pretty exciting week,” Branit told Daily Variety. “Everything has happened really fast. We just want to tell really cool stories. The Web has helped jump-start our careers,” he added.

“When something that’s pretty good appears on the ‘Net, people tend to take notice of it,” Branit said. “We’re the ultimate moviegoers. We love action sequences or sci-fi. We just wanted to do something fun. Honestly, how many treatises on being a lesbian in Morocco can you watch?”

IFilm receives hundreds of film submissions per week. “405” received over 40,000 hits in its first eight days after the site posted the pic on its front page June 12. Before that, “405” generated over 10,000 downloads in the first week on its own site.

“Our plan initially was to put this on our site and e-mail it to everyone we knew,” Branit said. “We didn’t think the reaction would be as big as it was. Everything we planned to happen in the first three weeks happened in the first three days.”

More Film

  • Kevin Hart Monopoly

    Kevin Hart in Talks to Star in Monopoly Movie

    Kevin Hart is in talks to star in Lionsgate and Hasbro’s Monopoly live-action movie, which he will also produce through his HartBeat Productions label. Tim Story is in final negotiations to direct the film and also produce through his Story Company banner. HartBeat’s John Cheng will also produce and oversee the pic with Carli Haney. Story Company [...]

  • Playtime Unveils Three New French Comedies

    Playtime Dives Into Different Waves of French Comedy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Playtime, the Paris-based co-production and sales company which will be presenting Francois Ozon’s anticipated “By the Grace of God” in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, has acquired three offbeat French comedies: Geraldine Nakache’s “I’ll Go Where You Go,” “The Bare Necessity” with Fanny Ardant, and Valerie Donzelli’s “Our Lady of Paris.” “Our Lady of [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • The Pokémon Company Unveils Extensive Line

    The Pokémon Company Unveils Extensive Line of 'Detective Pikachu' Merch

    The Pokémon Company is putting out an extensive line of products for its first-ever live-action Pokémon movie, “Detective Pikachu,” it announced on Thursday. Among the new offerings are Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) booster packs, action figures, an interactive plush from Wicked Cool Toys, and an adorable deerstalker hat with Pikachu ears. All of the [...]

  • Other Angle Bows Raft of French

    Other Angle Bows Raft of French Comedies at UniFrance's Paris Rendez-Vous (EXCLUSIVE)

    Other Angle has picked up international sales rights to “A Good Doctor” with Michel Blanc, “Just The Three of Us” with Catherine Frot, and “The Father Figure” in the run-up to the UniFrance’s Rendez-Vous in Paris. Directed by Eric Besnard, “The Father Figure” is a supernatural comedy drama following a writer who mourns the death [...]

  • Playables and Double Fine Film 'KIDS'

    Playables and Double Fine Creation 'Kids' Chosen for Berlinale

    “Kids,” a short film from Playables and Double Fine Presents, has been officially selected to screen at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival, announced Thursday via press release. The Berlin International Film Festival, commonly called the Berlinale, is one of the largest film festivals in the world. “Kids” will screen in a Berlinale sidebar called Generation. [...]

  • Roland Joffe

    Roland Joffe to Direct Mobster Drama 'The Legitimate Wiseguy'

    Roland Joffe will direct the independent mobster drama “The Legitimate Wiseguy,” Variety has learned exclusively. Joffe received Academy Award nominations for best director for “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986. He also helmed “The Scarlet Letter,” “The Forgiven,” “City of Joy,” “Time Traveller,” and “There [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content