“We’re fired up that Bill Block and the Miramax team have recognized the wealth of emerging IP and underrepresented filmmaking talent lying within DUST’s ecosystem,” Gunpowder & Sky CEO Van Toffler said. “Miramax was our dream partner for this project because like us, they believe unique and diverse stories like ‘The Masseuse’ are the future of sci-fi storytelling and we can’t wait to get this one told!”
The feature is based on a short film written and directed by Tan Ce Ding that was released on the Dust channel in 2019. It is set in the near future where androids live and work among humans, resulting in a lonely android technician falling in love with the female android masseuse he’s been tasked to fix. All the while, the technician must navigate being radicalized by his abusive father into an anti-android terrorist hate group.
David O’Leary, who created and wrote the History Channel’s “Project Blue Book,” is set to write the feature version of “The Masseuse.” It is the latest out of a series of projects sources from Gunpowder & Sky’s IP incubator.
“I am so thrilled to be working with the Miramax and Gunpowder & Sky teams on this exciting and timely project,” O’Leary. said “’The Masseuse’ short film packs a powerful punch and immediately sparked to me as a strong basis for a compelling feature film. The short has a unique sci-fi concept that’s not only a dark warning cry to the powers of hate and radicalization, our fears of automation and being replaced, but also our deep need to belong and connect with one another.”
Gunpowder & Sky’s co-founders Toffler and Floris Bauer will executive produce along with Eric Bromberg, SVP of development. Bill Block will be producing for Miramax, Munika Lay, VP of film, will be overseeing the project for Miramax.
July marks Dust’s five-year anniversary. Since launching in 2016, Dust has released hundreds of films – from more than 500 diverse filmmakers across 46 countries – that are available on more than 40 distribution platforms. In addition, its audio studio has already released three chart-topping seasons of the “Dust” podcast series, with “Chrysalis”, season three starring and executive produced by Emmy-award nominated Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”) and co-starring Academy-award nominated Toni Collette (“United States of Tara), claiming the top global fiction spot.
O’Leary is represented by Paradigm, Zero Gravity, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.