And some of the actors Moore used, like those who played the French girls, would often have to be cued by phone via a spy across the grounds.
What’s remarkable about all this is that, in watching the film, one doesn’t get the feeling of a guerrilla filmmaking exercise. There are numerous wide shots, and scenes luxuriating in classic Disney images. It looks as if it was made with the full cooperation of the company, which of course it wasn’t.
“To me this is the future. Cameras in your hand. Cameras in your glasses. Anyone can be shooting at any time. And I think it will explode,” Moore said.
Moore has never attempted to speak to anyone from Disney, nor has anyone ever contacted him.
Still, there is no way the company could be happy with the result, in part because of what many courts might deem rampant trademark infringement but also because of the nature of the thing, a juxtaposition of Disney's family-friendly corporate imagery with some pretty grotesque behavior.
In so doing, the movie seems to be denouncing a culture-of-distraction in a way that might call to mind “Infinite Jest,” a novel Moore, like many of us, sheepishly admits he didn’t finish.
“I have nothing against Disney,” Moore said when asked if he saw his film as political. “It’s just upsetting that it was about a one-man vision, and now it’s like so much of the world in how corporate it’s all gotten,” he said. “I look at Apple and Steve Jobs and my biggest fear is that something like this will happen there.”
Whatever his politics, Moore in person comes off as affable and a little wide-eyed. He has never been to the Sundance Film Festival before, and was in fact surprised organizers even accepted his movie given. he said, Sundance’s abundance of corporate sponsors. (Before the screening Friday the festival’s Trevor Groth said that choosing "Escape" was the highlight of his programming season; he was, he said, ”blown away” by the film.)
Whether a distributor, even a bold one, takes a flier on this is the big question. The media interest would be high. The legal bills would be even higher.
The film’s rights are being represented by Cinetic Media, which has sold high-profile Sundance titles such as “Precious” and “Napoleon Dynamite” as well enigmatic fare such as 2010 Banksy movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” The company’s principal, John Sloss, declined comment for this story, but the feeling in distribution circles is that the movie will have a legal Everest to climb. While trying to censor an independent film tends to blow up in a conglomerate’s face, it would be hard to imagine how Disney would ever allow this film to see the light of day.
A Disney spokesperson did not return an immediate message seeking comment; it is not clear how aware they are of the movie.
Yet Moore said he didn’t expect any kind of typical distribution deal and wouldn't even necessarily need the film to be passed along, mixtape-style, to feel satisfied by what he’s created.
“It’s out there, and no one can change that,” said Moore, who said he wants his next film to be an indie project in a different vein, perhaps a European period piece. “If this never gets distribution, that’s OK. if not a lot of people see it, that’s OK. I made it, and it’s in the world. That’s all I ever really wanted.”
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT