Amazon has cut a deal to acquire the independently produced Creative Control, a dark satire about the tech industry that premiered at SXSW in March, winning the special jury prize for visual excellence in the process. Variety reports that Amazon Studios, the company's TV and movie arm, has slated the movie for a theatrical and streaming release next year. The new acquisition comes two months after Amazon Studios struck a deal to distribute its first film, Spike Lee's upcoming Chi-Raq.
Creative Control tells the story of an advertising executive tasked with selling "Augmenta" wearable glasses. Set in an achingly hip corner of Brooklyn, and featuring a cast made up of actual tech executives and future-savvy celebrities (including Reggie Watts, playing himself), the movie looks at the human beings behind technology who can use and misuse new products. Director Benjamin Dickinson drew on his knowledge of the tech industry — as a commercial director he has worked with Google in the past — to dream up Creative Control's Google Glass-esque technology.
Amazon Studios will release the movie in theaters and online in 2016
Even though Creative Control paints a slightly unhappy vision of the near future, Dickinson, who also stars in the film, is positive about the future of augmented and virtual reality tech. Speaking to The Verge's Emily Yoshida in March, Dickinson said that Creative Control doesn't blame technology for any of the negative things that happen in the movie. "It's humans," he said. "Smartphones, augmented reality glasses, they're all just a hammer. You can kill someone with a hammer or you can build a house."
Indeed, the director's next project will use technology similar to the glasses that appear in his movie — he's creating a short VR clip with Reggie Watts. Dickinson says he's tried a few of the virtual reality headsets currently in development, but was particularly blown away by Valve and HTC's Vive. "Oh my god," he said in March. "It is next level. It is seamless. When I used the Samsung thing, after about three or four minutes I started to feel dizzy, and I didn't like it. I was in the Valve 20 minutes, and I didn't want to leave."