FilmGate 2013: Miami’s Premiere Interactive Film Festival [Highlights]

Contributed by Monica Torres

The newest phenomenon in film is transmedia or interactive film. According to Jose Jacho, founder and creative producer at Indie Film Club Miami, transmedia includes using various forms of media by different artists to complete a story.  

For instance, you can watch a movie and then download an app or video on your phone later to see the end of the story. The idea is to get everyone involved.  Someone can write a poem about the movie and post it on a blog or write a song or make a painting.  

Jose, along with Diliana Alexander, the executive director of FilmGate, brought this new form of storytelling to the southeastern seas. Here’s a look at what you may have missed…

Day 1: Spinners of Sound at O Cinema

The aptly named opening night event of FilmGate, held at O Cinema, was an exploration of the relationship between music and film or storytelling. In the small dark cinema room, an audience of writers, artist, filmmakers, local art enthusiasts, and music fans filled the cushioned movie theater chairs.

Four bands: Avocado Estate, Hola Hi, Deaf Poets, and Sirens & Sealions performed in a makeshift area in front of the large movie screen.   Reminiscent of live theater acting workshop, they told the stories behind the songs in the spirit of spoken word confessional, before playing sets.  Each act took you into a different world.

Setting is everything. Sitting in movie-theater chairs in a dark cinema prepares us to be taken away into story because we have built in associations since childhood; we involuntarily lower our guards and open our minds to another world. Listening to bands perform live, in front of a blank movie screen at a cinema was a unique experience.

Every tune brought up various mental associations. There is a strong association between music and stories. We all know some of the best films have the best soundtracks, and some of the best songs have unforgettable lyrics that paint a vivid picture and tell a story.

Day 1: FilmGate Kick-Off Party featuring Kodiak Fur + Tusk at The Vagabond

Day 2: Philip Bloom Master Workshop at Miami Beach Cinematheque

Sunset Excursion: The Joy of Time Lapse

MORE SUNSET TIME LAPSE VIDEO

Day 2: UR KNTRLR at O Cinema

UR KNTRLR – A program of free transmedia projects screenings, each telling a story progressively through multiple media platforms and/or devices.

CATZILLA, script and directed by Michal ‘bonzaj’ Staniszewski of Platige Group – The main idea of this project was to develop an antithesis of other animation productions, which have been declining, aesthetically-speaking. Michal Staniszewski of the “demoscene” Platige Group drew up an interesting, action-filled story with a unique design and aesthetics that would be as close as possible to an animated movie on one hand and to a video game on the other. Demoscene is a computer art subculture that specializes in producing demos, which are audio-visual presentations that run in real-time on a computer. The main goal of a demo is to show off programming, artistic, and musical skills.

MERIDIAN, directed and produced by Joe Penna (aka MysteryGuitarMan) of Fourth Wall Studios - Joe Penna, Brazilian native, maintains a popular channel on YouTube by the name of MysteryGuitarMan. Meridian is the YouTube visionary’s directorial debut. This 3-part adventure, where time and space expand & contract, reveals a mystery, one sliver at a time.

EVIE, the short which preceded the transmedia feature LOST CHILDREN, was written and directed by Mark Harris and it tells the story of Evelyn Hamilton, a high-priced call-girl who stumbles upon a cult that changes her live. Mark Harris is a filmmaker and software architect focused on the intersection of story and technology. Mark writes software for gameplay, storytelling, and Transmedia. Indie Film Club Miami plans to bring the feature, recently performed to sold out crowds at the Lincoln Center, here later in the spring

ROAMANCING, conceived & produced by Erica Hargreave of Ahima Media - A transmedia travel tale told through the eyes of our characters and true to life travel storytellers about finding love and romance ~ and through that recognizing how similar we all are the world over and learning about and celebrating our differences. Immersive story-teller, Erica Hargreave of Ahima Media, in attendance.

LET IT RIPPLE Trilogy, produced by Tiffany Shlain of the Moxie Institute - Tiffany & her production company will be releasing a total of 15 Let it Ripple films over the next five years. Here are the first three films, all of which are available for free customization, and for volunteer translation. Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker, artist, founder of the Webby Awards, and co-founder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences.

INGRID PITT: BEYOND THE FORREST, directed by Kevin Sean Michaels his acclaimed animation short depicts the miraculous escape of Jewish girl Ingrid Pitt at age 8 from a concentration camp, in a cross-generational collaboration between Oscar-nominee Bill Plympton & 10-yr-old 1st-time animator Perry Chen.

CNTR<ALT<DLT

Affordable cameras and technologies are also revolutionizing the world of dance, where “dance on film” is becoming a separate art form it seems. Meet some of the greatest current artistic forces of Miami and New York – performers, choreographers, and teachers, here is a sampling of their stunning craft. 

The films ranged widely in subject and genre: from the whimsical to the intensely political choreography for social change. The screening contained seven films, by international and innovative artists Octavio Campos, Ana Mendez, Gabri Christina, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Marrissa Nick and Pioneer Winter.

Capturing dance on film serves an important role – it preserves the ethereal complexity and beauty of a choreographer’s vision.  But dance on film goes beyond mere preservation.  By utilizing cinematic principles of time manipulation, parallel action, editing technique and the reference of the frame, these works of art transcend into a new art form.  After all, what happens (or doesn’t happen) off frame is as important as what happens within it.

Day 3: El Topo at Miami Beach Cinemateque

EL TOPO was introduced by Brontis Jodorowsky with at the MiamiBeach Cinematheque. It might look Orwellian, but it was an intimate behind the scenes of a father and son relationship on set.

EL TOPO (The Mole) Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky with Brontis Jodorowsky, José Legerreta, Alfonso Arau, José Luis Fernández. The landmark cult film that began the whole Midnight Movie phenomena of the counterculture crazy 1970s. El Topo was the most talked about, most controversial quasi-Western head trip ever made, transforming the way risk-taking audiences, seeking mainstream Hollywood alternatives, watched edgy underground films. Classic Americana and avant-garde European cinema sensibilities meet Zen Buddhism and the Bible as master gunfighter and cosmic mystic El Topo (played by writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky) must defeat his four sharp-shooting rivals on an ever-increasingly bizarre path to allegorical self-enlightenment and surreal resurrection. In Spanish with English subtitles.

About FilmGate

FILMGATE is an interactive media festival and new technology trade show for independent filmmakers and production companies.  FilmGate celebrates visual story tellers and the industries that support them through interactive screenings, workshops, master classes, director talks and music.

FILMGATE is brought to you by Indie Film Club Miami – Not your ordinary film club