Distracted Media have secured funding from Screen Australia for a sequel to their 2011 crowd-sourced horror film, The Tunnel.
The Sydney-based production company Distracted Media are currently in development on their second project, The Tunnel: Dead-End (working title). Producers Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedesci are overseeing the project; both shared above-the-line production duties on The Tunnel, which enjoyed some critical acclaim and commercial success. The film originally attracted press coverage for its unique funding initiative known as 'The 135K Project', which saw online contributors pay in advance for a piece of the film's profits, and the subsequent distribution strategy which encompassed simultaneous online, DVD, theatrical and pay-TV release.
Harvey and Tedesci believe providing a sequel is a way of thanking their fan base for their support. "Initially, we weren't anticipating doing another Tunnel film but the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the original, as well as our fans clamouring for another on an almost daily basis, made us go back and give it a second thought,” said the pair in a statement when news of the funding decision broke. “We weren't going to go ahead unless we could find a story we were 100% behind, which we now have and are thrilled to have the support of Screen Australia."
The Tunnel: Dead-End will follow the sister of missing cameraman 'Tangles' (Luke Arnold) as she tries to come to terms with his disappearance; she retraces her brother's final hours in the subterranean tunnels beneath Sydney. No casting or production start date has been finalised.
Tedeschi and Harvey are obviously thrilled that Screen Australia will fund the new work, but are quick to point out that their new involvement in the traditional film financing will not lessen their faith in the 135K model. “The Tunnel: Dead End is a great opportunity to take Distracted Media into a different playing field,” they said via the press release, “but as producers we still very much believe in the basic principles of the 135k Project.”
Distracted Media will fast-track the sequel, which they will produce in conjunction with their second 135K Project film, Airlock. The film, described as a “claustrophobic science-fiction thriller in the vein of Alien,” will be a more visually ambitious production than The Tunnel and, according to Tedeschi and Harvey, enjoy even greater exposure and subsequent profit-sharing returns. “Having a more mainstream film in The Tunnel: Dead End will enable us to up the stakes significantly with Airlock, which will hopefully raise the bar for our free internet releases and what we can put back into their success,” they said.