The YouTube-to-feature-filmmaking pipeline will only become more common in the years to come as young creators who develop their voice on the platform get scouted for bigger projects, but for now, each major success story is making headlines. As the $15,000-budgeted Skinamarink––the directorial debut of Kyle Edward Ball, who honed his craft on YouTube for years––is about to cross the $2 million mark at the box office, another horror film creator on the platform is getting his shot in the big leagues.
17-year-old Kane Parsons, whose viral video series The Backrooms has racked up nearly 100 million views on YouTube, has now been set by A24, James Wan’s Atomic Monster, Chernin Entertainment, and 21 Laps to direct a feature adaption of the sci-fi horror feature, Deadline reports. Scripted by Roberto Patino (Westworld, Sons of Anarchy), there are no plot details on this feature adaptation, but the original series is set in the mid-90s amidst creepypasta-inspired liminal spaces and one can read the synopsis below, courtesy of the extensive Wiki:
The story mainly revolves around the Async Research Institute, an organization that studies the Low Proximity Magnetic Distortion System. They are trying to connect our world to The Backrooms in order to solve the overpopulation and storage problems. However, the experiment has dire consequences for many Async employees and the Earth, and the organization soon finds out that the system is not working as planned. They do not give up though and try to keep all the problems a secret from the outside world and continue to investigate their creation.
With its minimal plot and unsettling, lo-fi aesthetic crafted almost entirely with realistic-looking CGI, the sky’s the limit for what Parsons and Patino can explore in this feature adaptation. However, considering he’s in high school, the Northern California-based Parsons will have to wait on production until his summer break, so expect a 2024 release.
“I aim to find intriguing concepts that personally interest me while also having a large potential audience,” Parsons said in an interview last year with his high school newspaper The Swarm. “Once I’ve come up with an idea, I spend pretty much every waking moment that I’m not at school on finishing it.” He added, “Once I’ve animated and am happy with how everything looks, I set the shot to render. This typically takes around 5-7 hours. Once I have my rendered shot, I bring it into Adobe After Effects, where I add the necessary post-processing. I typically manage to get 1.5 shots completed per day and fewer on school days.”
As we await to see his feature debut, check out the original short below, along with a few recent ones, and more on his YouTube channel, which has racked up 2 million subscribers, celebrated in a recent Instagram post.
For more, check out a two-hour interview with Parsons below.