In order to nail down financing for his Black Listed script, writer/director Damien Chazelle directed this 18-minute short film version of “Whiplash” for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. And the rest is history: the film lured investors to produce the full script to the tune of $3 million. (Watch below, courtesy of The Film Stage.)
Produced by Right of Way Films and Blumhouse Productions, the short stars J.K. Simmons in an early treatment of the first “chair-throwing” scene from the 2014 feature, which won Sundance’s Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize. Johnny Simmons assumes the Miles Teller role.
Blumhouse’s Jason Blum, who co-produced with Jason Reitman and a long list of other co-producers, said Reitman also co-conceived this idea to do the short. “Jason had a lot of success with this [in the past],” Blum said. “Jason Reitman’s movies are tonally incredibly complicated, and he’s amazing with tone and before he proved himself, he had to come up with the same thing.” Thus the producers ran with it, and two years later they had the finished feature at Sundance.
Because the Academy rules deem features that grow out of shorts to be adapted, “Whiplash” ended up with a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination.