“Oculus” (pictured above) is centered on a cursed 300-year-old mirror and is world premiering Sunday in the Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness section.
Focus Features International is selling “Somnia” at Toronto along with “Oculus,” which was co-financed by MICA Entertainment,
“Somnia,” written by Flanagan and Jeff Howard, centers on an orphaned child whose dreams and nightmare manifest physically as he sleeps. Flanagan and Howard also co-wrote “Oculus.”
“It’s been crazy to get selected in that I have never attended,” said Flanagan.
“Oculus” centers on a brother and sister (Brendan Thwaits and Karent Gillan) finding the cause of their parents’ deaths — a mirror which has caused destruction in over its 300-year history.
“It’s all based on a short film I made on my laptop in 2005 for $1,000,” Flanagan recalls. “Next thing I know, I’m directing a real movie.”
“Oculus” was shot in Mobile, Ala., last October for 25 days. FilmDistrict acquired U.S. distribution rights at Cannes last year but has backed away from that pact recently due to a proviso calling for a wide release. So the project’s U.S. rights are up for sale again through Paradigm.
Flanagan had originally planned to shoot nine 20-minute Oculus movies.
“They’re still on my laptop,” he added. “We were thinking that we were going to be like George Lucas. It was kind of like a portable Overlook Hotel because it’s based on how characters perceive what they see in the mirror, it can be a sort of customized haunting.”
Flanagan and Howard are represented by APA, Affirmative Entertainment and Nelson Davis Wetzstein.