PARK CITY, Utah -- Roger Corman has been to the Cannes and Venice film festivals. But for some reason, the independent filmmaker who has nearly 400 movies to his credit has missed the Sundance Film Festival -- until now.

The video-game tale "Virtually Heroes" is the first Corman production to premiere at the indie-cinema showcase, appropriately playing Sundance's midnight-movie program of way-out horror, comedy and action.

True to Corman's low-budget approach, "Virtually Heroes" was made for less than $500,000 by blending combat footage from the producer's previous Vietnam war movies with a new story about two self-aware video-game characters (Robert Baker and Brent Chase) battling the Vietcong.

"I thought if I could find a way to use the big battle scenes from all of these pictures and put it together in a new picture and shoot just a short period of time to tie them all together, I could get a big-looking picture for very little money," Corman, 86, said in an interview.

The movie's heroes come to question the reason for their existence in a world where they keep fighting the same battles and die over and over.

Corman's films include such cult hits as "The Little Shop of Horrors," "Grand Theft Auto," "Piranha" and "Death Race 2000." In 2009, he received an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement in independent film.