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ELI is an award-winning short science-fiction thriller starring David Anders. It was debuted at the Newport Beach Film Festival in April 2007 and premiered in Los Angeles on the Universal Studios backlot. The film was directed and edited by Josh Lee Kwai, written by Tyler Erskine and Ron Beyers, and produced by Erskine, Beyers, Lee Kwai and Jeff Poppen as a filmmakers "calling card". With a budget of $40,000, ELI was financed by the producers, donations from their friends and family and a grant from the LEF Foundation. The non-profit arts organization Fractured Atlas acted as fiscal sponsor allowing donors to make tax-deductible contributions. The film was shot on HD using a Sony F-900 donated by Panavision. Shooting lasted five and a half days in five different locations in the greater Los Angeles area including Irvine, Downey and Leo Carrillo State Park.
A man wakes up in a hospital, lying on an operating table. He has no idea where he is and cannot even remember who he is. He jumps up and runs out of the room, searching the area and trying to figure out what is going on. He escapes from several doctors and orderlies who try to sedate him and stumbles through the eerie building, owned by the Mirror Corporation. The man keeps trying to figure out where he is, what is going on, and most of all, who he is. He notices that he has a strange tattoo on his hand that says "ELI", and abruptly has a memory of a mysterious woman on a serene beach.
Suddenly, doctors and security guards close in around ELI. He runs deeper into the MirrorCorp labyrinth, trying to reach the ground floor and a chance at freedom. But, when he rounds a corner and catches a glimpse of the woman from his memory, he sees a chance to find answers. Forsaking all else, he sneaks after her, desperate to uncover the truth about his identity, however sinister the answers may be.
- Winner: Best Horror/Suspense Film at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival 2007.
- Winner: Best Sci-Fi at the Show Off Your Shorts Film Festival 2008
- Winner: Judges Choice Award at the Wizard World Con Film Festival L.A. 2008
- Winner: Best Dark Future Screenplay at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival 2007
ELI is reminiscent of both The Matrix and The Twilight Zone. Lee Kwai has also acknowledged Minority Report, 300, the television series Battlestar Galactica and video games like Metal Gear Solid as major influences on the visual style of the film.