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One of the biggest buzz films at Sundance this year was a black and white super-indie that charted one man’s downward spiral into madness.

Not the most unusual subject matter for a Sundance film, but Escape From Tomorrow has a very unusual hook. The feature debut from director Randy Moore takes place in a Disney theme park, and was shot inside Disney properties in Anaheim and Orlando, with no permission from the company. Furthermore, the lead character’s crazed state leads him to stalk a two teen girls, and features some full-on nightmare hallucinations of Disney characters. It’s fuel for Disney corporate nightmares.

Many people thought that Escape From Tomorrow would never see release because of the Disney connection, but now it has a release date set for October of this year. 

The official description of the film goes like this:

In a world of fake castles and anthropomorphic rodents, an epic battle begins when an unemployed father’s sanity is challenged by two underage girls on holiday.

The LA Times reports that

PDA, the distribution offshoot of the sales and management company Cinetic Media, [will release the film] on Oct. 11, according to a PDA spokesman. It will play on movie theater screens in many of the nation’s top markets as well as be made available day-and-date on cable VOD, the spokesman said.

The film has been trimmed by about 15 minutes, the paper says, which could help it quite a bit. I was totally transfixed by the film, in part because it is outrageous as hell, but there’s no question that a slightly shorter edit could do it a few favors.

Hopefully we’ll also get a good making-of documentary, because the process used to make the film was intense and even obsessive. Moore and his DP created extensive charts of sun positions in Disney parks in which they shot. They worked out elaborate staging and communication methods to pull off some intricate shots without being detected by park staff. The film is worth a look if only for the pure chutzpah employed to make it, and for the fact that it revels in the “illegal” locations.

But then there’s the content, which veers into the shockingly bizarre. I won’t spill anything here, but there’s stuff in Escape From Tomorrow to get an audience howling with shock and delight. I’m very glad that more people will be able to see it.

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