Filmmakers have been developing movies lately based on even more ridiculous premises than usual, including movies based on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Rubik’s Cubes, Battleship, Risk, Candyland, Monopoly, Monsterpocalypse, and even frickin’ gum wrappers. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a mockumentary based on a 16 second YouTube video found funding, and yet, here I am, contemplating driving to the nearest film school and yelling, “Don’t do it! Find a different industry to work in! You have so much to live for!”
Wildlife documentarians Jenny Walsh and Lesley Hammond have announced they’re making what Hammond calls “the first feature film to come out of a viral video clip”. The Life and Times of Sneezing Baby Panda is based on their 16 second viral video of a baby panda sneezing, which has 107 million views and still gets an average of over 150K more views each day. The clip was taken while filming a documentary in 1999 on the pandas of China.
At first the duo were angry when shows like South Park and 30 Rock referenced the clip without paying royalties, but then they “realized that we’d accidentally been given a star” says Hammond. Since it’s a Chinese custom to go back many generations when telling your family’s story, Walsh and Hammond decided to make a mockumentary about the panda which would show its imaginary ancestors participating in major events throughout China’s history. One panda is a terracotta warrior; one’s on the Long March; another will replace the interpreter at the famous meeting between Nixon and Mao. We’re holding out hope for a Lady Gaga panda.
They’ll also be working with China Film Co-Production President Zhang Xun to make sure none of their historical references would offend Chinese audiences. They scraped the potentially-offensive idea of showing a panda swimming with Mao in the Yangtze River, for example, but that won’t stop us from drawing pictures of it, so there. How do you like us now, China?
And here’s the video that started it all:
AAAAA SO CUTE! I MUST SEE THIS MOVIE!
Okay, you win, film industry. Make a movie about it. Just don’t tell mamma panda what it costs: