Escape Attempt

A soldier escaping a WWII concentration camp finds himself on an unknown planet in a distant future only to discover a frozen gulag controlled by a brutal alien race.

Based on the science fiction novella “Escape Attempt” by the iconic science fiction writers, the Strugatsky Brothers (1925-1991)

  • Alex Topaller
    Murals, Beatles "Come Together", Michael Jackson "Behind The Mask", Alicia Keys Unstaged, Juanes "Me Enamora"
  • Dan Shapiro
    Murals, Beatles "Come Together", Michael Jackson "Behind The Mask", Alicia Keys Unstaged, Juanes "Me Enamora"
  • Christina Lazaridi
    Nobody's Watching, Into the Blue, The Last Day of Charle E. Rays, One Day Crossing
  • Anna Burnett
    Ripper Street, The Darkest Hour
  • Piotr Witkowski
    Proceder, The Champion, Squadron 303
  • Andrzej Chyra
    Komornik, The Debt, Katyn, In the Name Of
  • Alex Topaller
    Murals, Beatles "Come Together", Michael Jackson "Behind The Mask", Alicia Keys Unstaged, Juanes "Me Enamora"
  • Jacek Kulczycki
    Infinite Storm, Whaler Boy, Mr Jones, Two Words as the Key
  • Lukasz Tomasz Koltunowicz
    Rambo Last Blood
  • Andrzej Chyra
    Key Cast
    "Saul Repnin"
    Komornik, The Debt, Katyn, In the Name Of
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    600,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • SITGES Film Festival
    October 9, 2023
    Official Selection
  • FilmQuest

    United States
    October 28, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Alex Topaller, Dan Shapiro

Alex Topaller & Dan Shapiro are Grammy award winning filmmakers and founders of the New York based, design-driven studio AGGRESSIVE.

Their work includes music videos for the likes of The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Pharrell Williams, an XR concert for Alicia Keys, and commercials for clients such as Amazon, Google, Boeing, Honda, American Express and Intel, among hundreds of others.

Their pioneering experiences and activations have been exhibited at SXSW, Global Expo Dubai, The Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach, The UN General Assembly, Bloomberg New Economy Forum and more.

Topaller and Shapiro’s critically acclaimed experiential film MURALS, which uses cutting-edge 3D scanning to place viewers face to face with the war devastation in Ukraine and follows captures of Banksy’s artwork, premiered at Cannes NEXT, of the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023.

Their science fiction film “Escape Attempt” will premiere at the SITGES Film Festival in October 2023.

Alex and Dan’s work has earned many awards and nominations, including Grammy, AICP Next, MTV VMA, ADC, D&AD, The One Show and Communication Arts awards.

Their work has been featured across the globe as Vimeo Staff Picks, Behance features and festival showcases, as well as publicized by Variety, The New York Times, WIRED, American Cinematographer, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Creativity and NOWNESS among dozens of other publications.

AGGRESSIVE is actively working to provide support to Ukraine via their initiative.

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Director Statement

Our film is based on the science fiction novella of the same name, by the iconic Soviet era writers, the Strugatsky Brothers (1925-1991) (screen adaptations include the likes of Tarkovsky’s Stalker, Avatar, and upcoming Roadside Picnic TV series on Apple).

In 2018, when we initially decided to make this film, we envisioned it as a warning to what might be if our society doesn’t recognize dictatorship and evil for what they are. Unfortunately, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our film acquired a tragic timeliness. “Escape Attempt” has reentered the political conversation in both anti-Putin Russia and Ukraine where the government has been using the book as an allegory to current events.

At the film’s core lies a fundamental question about history and the nature of humanity: is change possible? Can humans shift the way they behave, or are they forever condemned to re-enact past tragedies?