Gunpowder & Sky has announced that its Sci-Fi channel Dust will stream Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, the short USC film that helped kickstart George Lucas' career. The film is about a man trying to escape an oppressive society constantly monitored by security cameras, and was later developed into a feature film by Warner Brothers and Francis Ford Coppola.
Though produced by Lucas way back in 1967, the film's themes have some relevance in our privacy challenged times, the streaming company noted. "We are excited to see that Dust is tapping into the zeitgeist of a growing fan base that is gripped with how technology is transforming our lives," said Gunpowder & Sky President Floris Bauer.
Lucas was able to secure film and cameras for the project by agreeing to teach the USC's Navy Production Workshop, then using the enlisted sailors as cast and crew. He also had access to USC's computer department, where some of the scenes are set, and shot around the UCLA campus, LAX and Van Nuys airport. The short was widely praised at the time as highly inventive visually, and still stands up. It took first place in the dramatic category at the National Student Film Awards, according to the Harvard Crimson.
Francis Ford Coppola eventually agreed to help Lucas make a feature film out of it with a budget of around $800,000. The movie, starring Robert Duvall, was re-edited by Warner Bros. against Lucas' wishes, and lost money when it was released in 1971. Lucas eventually bought the rights back and went on to make a few more films you may have heard of.
Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB will stream on Dust's Facebook, YouTube and Instagram channels and through watchdust.com on December 11th, just ahead of the December 15th release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.