Escape From Tomorrow, a movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last weekend, follows a father as he goes insane at Disney World. The film paints a negative image of the “happiest place on earth” and is raising debate because it was shot at the theme parks unknowingly and without permission from Disney.
The film raises questions about how brands can protect their image in the age of digital cameras and smartphones. In regards to copyright concerns, is the filmmaker more guilty than a regular parent capturing photos and videos of their child on a ride? The NY Times writes:
‘Escape From Tomorrow’ underscores the difficulties confronting Disney, intensely vigilant about its intellectual property, as it tries to control the imagery flowing from its parks as people are shooting increasing amounts of video with their smartphones. Disney has followed an increasingly patient approach, allowing video taken inside its rides, for instance, to be uploaded to YouTube. But that video is usually extremely positive.
Escape From Tomorrow, by first-time writer/director Randy Moore, features an average American family man who is spending a vacation at Disney World with his wife and two kids when he receives a phone call from his boss telling him he’s been fired. He delays telling his family so they can enjoy their last day at the park but finds himself spiralling into madness, with the line between fantasy and reality becoming blurred.
The movie was filmed inside Disney’s theme parks and hotels in Florida and California, and criticizes their form of mass entertainment. It features a lot of brand imagery as the crew filmed inside at least eight rides with small, high-tech video cameras. The horror fantasy was made for under $1 million and the cast and crew (around 200 people in total) entered the parks in small groups so they didn’t attract attention.