It's Not SciFi, It's YouTube: Ataque de Panico's Federico Alvarez Mattos

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Uruguayan filmmaker Federico Alvarez Mattos recently made headlines when his special-effects-laden YouTube video, "Ataque de Panico (Panic Attack!) 2009," caught the eye of Hollywood bigwigs, who offered him $30 million to bring his talents to the large screen under the tutelage of director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man). Our Mexico-based communications manager Ricardo Blanco interviewed Mattos and put together this short piece about his incredible journey:

"Since age 8, I was a director. I got a cheap camera from my father and the first things that we filmed were special effects, made with Playmobil [small plastic figurines]," says Mattos, who is gradually uploading all his old videos to his YouTube channel. The filmmaker has come a long way from those days of toy-centric movies; now, in his short "Panic Attack!," he leads the inhabitants of Montevideo into a terrible future dominated by an invasion of massive robots.

For Mattos, the short is "an attempt to bring Hollywood to your neighborhood your country." The idea of giant robots invading a city other than "the usual" Los Angeles or New York came to him when he was a graduate student in screenwriting in Amsterdam. He thought it might be impressive for people to see Montevideo immersed in a science fiction environment.

Achieving this was not easy. Mattos started filming the short in 2006, but then he put it on hold, as he didn't have the required software to complete it. "We were missing the plug-ins needed; the ones available were very sophisticated tools, complex and slow," he recalls.

He resumed the project in late 2008, working on it for roughly 8 hours a day over 6 months. It cost $500 to make, and he uploaded it to YouTube on November 3, 2009.

Now it has over 1 million views and Mattos has the attention (and funding) of Hollywood. How did this happen?

"Beyond that you like the story or the effects, there is something indisputable: the film was seen by half a million people in two weeks. blogged it the day it went up [and it went from there]," says Mattos.

Now he's been asked to direct "a sci-fi movie about an alien invasion" but cannot reveal more about the project. But we have to ask: Will there be robots?

"I don't think there will be," Mattos laughs. "I'm a little tired of them."

40 Responses on "It's Not SciFi, It's YouTube: Ataque de Panico's Federico Alvarez Mattos"

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