TRAILERS

Watch: Shane Carruth's Pitch Trailer for His Sci-Fi Project 'A Topiary'

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May 29, 2020
Source: Vimeo

A Topiary Trailer

Surprise! This isn't an official trailer, but it is certainly worth watching. And you better hurry…! Filmmaker Shane Carruth posted a trailer online for his long, lost project called A Topiary, an original sci-fi film he was working on for years. But he doesn't know if it will be removed by Vimeo. "This will probably get taken down because I lifted a bunch of shots from films." We first heard about the film around 2013, when Carruth was finishing his other film Upstream Color. It's an intriguing concept involving a group of young pre-teen boys who discover some machine that creates funnels which form various shapes and objects. This trailer does a much better job of visualizing it. This is a "mock-up" or "pitch" trailer, where a filmmaker uses clips & footage from other films to create a "what my film would look like" version of a trailer to sell to studios / financiers. However, it's clear there is some VFX footage made just for this - as seen at the end. Take a look.

Here's the original pitch trailer for Shane Carruth's film A Topiary, from the Upstream Color Twitter:

A Topiary Film

An early original description of the script: It’s a tale told in two parts: The opening section follows a city worker who becomes obsessed with a recurring starburst pattern he sees hidden everywhere around him, even in traffic grids. He eventually joins with other believers, forming a kaffeeklatsch-cult that's soon undone by greed and hubris. The second half follows a group of 10 preteen boys who discover a strange machine that produces small funnels, which in turn can be used to build increasingly agile robotlike creatures. As their creations grow in power and size, the kids' friendships begin to splinter and they’re forced to confront another group of creature-builders. A Topiary was a sci-fi film project in development by filmmaker Shane Carruth, director of the films Primer and Upstream Color previously. He has been producing projects and doing other work ever since Upstream Color in 2013. It sounds like A Topiary will never be made, but at least we got this look at it anyway. So what do you think? Would you watch this film?

Find more posts: Sci-Fi, To Watch, Trailer

9 Comments

1

A fantasy inside of a fantasy ...

shiboleth on May 29, 2020

2

Exactly...

Alex Billington on May 30, 2020

3

This clip did absolutely nothing for me. Using clips from many other movies that you've seen only adds confusion along with the knowledge that the clips are being used illegally only obstructs whatever intentions there was for even using them. For me the clips from other people's movies only added thoughts and feelings I would have to overcome to even come close to finding interest in whatever this project is and what it's about. It all seemed nonsensical to me.

thespiritbo on May 29, 2020

4

This is very common practice when pitching shows and movies. It's meant to show tone, not necessarily be a logical representation of the plot.

zach on May 30, 2020

5

I worked in the film business for over 40 yrs. It's not common practice to do something like this as it's illegal. On top of that it didn't show 'tone' anymore than it showed any kind of logic. It was a chaotic mess using other's people's work without permission and was ineffective to a huge degree. That's just my opinion and others are welcome to theirs. Cheers.

thespiritbo on May 30, 2020

6

I've seen pitch trailers like these before and it's certainly not uncommon from what I've read, maybe it was back when you worked in the film industry. A direct quote from Rian Johnson who made one for "Looper" using footage from movies like Seven and Blade Runner: "just after I finished the script for Looper but before we began preproduction I asked Joe to record some voice-over, and with help from my friend Ronen Verbit constructed this "fake trailer" using clips from other movies. This is a fairly common thing to do when you're trying to get a movie off the ground, but it was the first time I tried it."

Efterklang on May 31, 2020

7

I've seen pitch trailers like these before and it's certainly not uncommon from what I've read, maybe it was back when you worked in the film industry. A direct quote from Rian Johnson who made one for "Looper" using footage from movies like Seven and Blade Runner: "just after I finished the script for Looper but before we began preproduction I asked Joe to record some voice-over, and with help from my friend Ronen Verbit constructed this "fake trailer" using clips from other movies. This is a fairly common thing to do when you're trying to get a movie off the ground, but it was the first time I tried it."

Efterklang on May 31, 2020

8

Yes, that's true! I think we actually posted that Looper trailer way back when... These aren't uncommon, but it is uncommon to see them. Because they don't have rights to all the footage and music they use, they just throw it together and it's meant only for pitch meetings. And it's always fun to see them when they do get out! It's a cool way to envision your own movie.

Alex Billington on May 31, 2020

9

Heard nothing but great things about the screenplay years ago. It's such a shame he's quitting filmmaking after his next project. Hoping he gets it made the way he wants, he deserves it. Love both his movies.

Efterklang on May 30, 2020

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