‘Escape From Tomorrow’: A Feature Film Shot in Disney Theme Parks Without Disney’s Permission [Sundance 2013 Review]

Independent film is filled with dreamers who are too naive to believe in the impossible — filmmakers who don’t concern themselves with the millions of reasons not to make a movie. Some of the best works of art are created from this naivety.

Escape From Tomorrow is a movie that takes place during a family vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Not only do the filmmakers make no attempt to hide or obscure the location, but the Disney theme park and costumed characters play a huge part in the story. Most of the movie was shot in Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disneyland without the knowledge or permission of Disney. This is a film that, from a conventional perspective, should never have been created, never mind screened at the top independent film festival in the United States. But it was, and after the break we’ll tell you how it was done.

Director Randy Moore went into the park with his actors and a tiny crew and shot the film entirely on the Cannon 5D DSLR camera. The cinematographer and AD conducted intensive location scouting, with every shot exhaustively planned and blocked in advance. They even charted the position of the sun weeks in advance for each shot of the movie to make up for the lack of lighting equipment. Sound was recorded without an on-set sound mixer, sometimes using smart phones, and sometimes using digital recorders taped to each actor, which would record an entire day’s worth of audio, which editors had to sort through afterward.

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