Panic Attack Director Federico Alvarez Lands a Film at Ghost House

November 29, 2009
Source: Film Junk

Panic Attack

The web can do wonders for your career. Film Junk is reporting (translated from El Pais) that Uruguayan filmmaker Federico Alvarez, who unleashed his hugely popular short film Panic Attack (watch it right here) a few weeks ago online, has landed a directing gig at Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures. Alvarez has signed on to direct a sci-fi film that they're hoping will be the next District 9. They're giving him a $30 to $40 million budget, however it does not sound like Alvarez is creating a feature-length version of Panic Attack. He will write the script and come up with an original story that will probably involve giant robots.

I never featured Alvarez's Panic Attack on the site because I honestly just wasn't that impressed. Everyone else on the web went ape shit for it, calling it the next big thing and just awesome. I thought the CGI was a little shabby and besides that it had no story or goal or anything besides mass destruction (and despite it started out focusing on some little kid). Those are my thoughts, though, and I bet with a $40 million budget, Alvarez will be able to do a lot more (and he'll write a good script first before starting). Again if you haven't seen it, check out the Panic Attack short right here, at least so you can know what all the buzz is about.

According to the original article, Alvarez spoke with Raimi on the phone and the two seemed to hit it off. Raimi will help "shield" him from the business side of things so he has the freedom to "make the movie he wants." If we hear anything else, we'll certainly let you know. Is this something to look forward to?

Update: This news has finally hit the trades and we have some new details on the project via Variety. They don't say much else that we didn't already cover above, but they do say that Alvarez pitched this as "an alien invasion film" to Ghost House and Sam Raimi. Additionally, Alvarez will not be writing his own screenplay. Ghost House will be hiring "a high-end scribe to turn the idea into a feature," putting more faith in their own writers to write a story that Hollywood will like than a newcomer from Uruguay. Also, for those who don't know, Alvarez has also been directing commercials, although this short was his first fictional feature.

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Very mediocre and nothing we haven't seen done better. I don't see how this translates into a feature directing gig ... especially if this guy is writing.

JJ Abrams on Nov 29, 2009


mediocre? no, it was pretty decent for four minutes. bring it on!

jake the snake on Nov 29, 2009


Entertaining yes, but in more an ID4 way than Alive in Joburg.

YK on Nov 29, 2009


he made it with 300 dollars.. more respecto, please

Voces on Nov 29, 2009


^^ If thats true I say give the guy a shot...and for four minutes that was awesome imagine what he would do with 2 hours.

Cody on Nov 29, 2009


@ Voces: Yep I doubt you could even get a sandwich in Hollywood for $300! - I think he could make apretty good film with $30million, possibly even less, the key is the story, Night Watch was made for $4.2 million and looked really good.

Crapola on Nov 29, 2009


how very independence day / war of the worlds of him.

Eric on Nov 29, 2009


I enjoyed the 4 minute short for what it was, and if his budget was what #5 suggested, then the negativity should stop and the dude should be given a chance and a little more respect.

Dude on Nov 29, 2009


After a summer of ho-hum CGI (Transformers 2 and GI Joe) and still being less than blown away by Avatar, I am willing to give somebody new a shot. The short looked good enough and the editing did help invoke some sort of emotional impact; not sweeping, but better than most anything starring Tom Cruse or Will Smith these days. So, good job on the short, Alvarez. Now, the question is can Alvarez write a good story and, most importantly, direct real people in order to get real emotions? That's what makes a great movie, good CGI just makes a good trailer.

Goudos on Nov 29, 2009


Mechs...who doesn't like mechs? Very awesome indeed.

Batman on Nov 29, 2009


God, I hate when I hear an older film's score (in this case 28 Days Later, but often Requiem For a Dream, or American Beauty) in a different trailer or a film. It totally takes me out of what I'm watching and reminds me of zombies running and cities abandoned. I would have appreciated the thing a lot more had he chosen something less recognizable.

Mark on Nov 29, 2009


this is short film like japan film world of warcraft and gold

robert on Nov 29, 2009


looks like a made for tv movie very weak

Madnezz344 on Nov 29, 2009


I saw it and pretty much have the same view that Alex has; mindless entertainment and explosions- just another michael bay. Are you kidding?! Make a real human film with real emotions, and a touch of magic, not too much and you have a winner. Paranormal A. has got to be the most provocative film this year.

Victor on Nov 29, 2009


i say we give the guy a chance. ill be watching out for him.

samuel j on Nov 29, 2009


I just enjoy hearing that sometimes, when u get that creative tick and have to make something out of it, it can pay off. I think he deserves the chance. One love for the underdogs!

Topher on Nov 29, 2009


the heads of the film studios need to get more of these short film directors, they usually can make a good movie.

xerxex on Nov 29, 2009


I liked the beginning of the clip, before the (poorly designed) robots were clearly scene. The first minute or so had atmosphere, style, and wonder. After that, it became just a montage of destruction with no rhyme or reason, to the point that I didn't even finish it. And it's only five minutes long.

Timothy on Nov 29, 2009


I agree with #16 ... this shows that maybe he can handle special effects, but a feature film is usually about something called "people", and relationships, and this does not demonstrate any ability to handle actors or story.

Dave on Nov 30, 2009


That mediocre reviews I've read, this guy made a short with $ 300 in Uruguay because it can, is cheaper. For hobby with friends with no intentions of anything and had been producing creativity to something that brought great film

daniel on Dec 2, 2009


I am from uruguay too and for those who dont believe in the 300 bucks budgets. he obviously had allready the computer, programs you can download for free in 1000s of pages. (only in n. america you pay rediculous prices for programs) . he spend the money for the extras when they are running around. it took a day traveling with the people around the city and take the shoots. hopefully he will do fine. uruguay is also an excelent shooting place, research a bit, they did great part of miami vice here in uruguay

Carlos on Dec 7, 2009


ah, and he sad he spend something like 1 dollar for fx downloadable smoke and explosions.

Carlos on Dec 7, 2009


This "short" was actually made as a music video people. It´s a terrific one at that, and it only cost 300 dollars to make. The short was all about seeing our boring little city being invaded by aliens, something that left every uruguayan in awe. This movie is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to Hollywood for me 😀

Santiago on Dec 14, 2009


Buenisimo, valio la pena verlo ojala que haga una pelicula pronto

paul A. Robles on Dec 26, 2009


Muyy buenaa es Uruguaya cmo nosotros aguantt es lo + ... Voos sos locoo viitee ,, jajajjaja Chhaauu Byyee

Aguvicwi on Apr 2, 2010


just so you know, the reason why that video was so impressive, and why he was offered a movie deal, is that he made Panic Attack on a budget of just $300!!! THAT'S why there is a massive uproar about it.

Richmond18 on Apr 29, 2010


First at all, I'm sorry, my English is too bad. I'm from Uruguay and I work as assistant in publicity. The idea of the director was to show all his skills in fx for catch clients (for publicity); he hasn't imagined that success and he looks surpriced for the situation. I'm sure he can do it better than panic attack. And he's done several short-films before and -believe me- he's good.

EnzVonKastell on Jul 17, 2010


I spend a good amount of time in Montevideo Uruguay and have seen this film too many times because for like 3 months they were showing it before every movie in Uruguay. It was fine the first time but after that it was enough. I am happy for him though!

Richard Cummings on Dec 18, 2010


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Safin on Jan 16, 2011


For a 4 min short film it's bound to be very pro messing as a FUTUR carreer way to go my friend we're all behind you 100% from Canada go for it show us what you can do with the reel equipment and good luck.... Your the real thing you've got the goods and the talent and a beautiful carreer ahead of you! Ciao Lyne

Lyne Mario on Sep 30, 2011

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