By John Hood
In a town (and a region) that already boasts the country’s most popular congregations of bookists (Miami Book Fair), foodies (South Beach Wine and Food Fest), artsies (Miami Art Week), boaters (Miami Boat Show), and electronic dance music fans (Ultra), it stands to good reason that this would be the place to launch what promises to become the most popular congregation of transmedia operatives.
Of course, being the only transmedia fest in the country would help, as will being the media center of an entire hemisphere. Add the young gun creatives, the upstart incubators, the corporate cools and the old guard foundations who make South Florida their home base, and well, you’ve got a recipe for certainty.
We speak of course of FilmGate, which just wrapped its third and most extensive run yet; a run that was made all the more fleet by Fordistas’ tres savvy Tech Playground.
Put into play by Product/81, backed by South Florida Ford and taking place over two of FilmGate’s seven-day stint amid the oceanside oasis of the Loew’s South Beach, Fordistas Tech Playground was everything anyone could want in an interactive transmedia feature — and all anyone might imagine too.
Make that more than even the most imaginative might imagine. When Fordistas promised Playground, they weren’t simply being euphemistic. Tech companies of the stature of Panasonic and Sony made available their latest, greatest offerings to the world of cinema; as did cutting edge next gen companies such as Nauticam, Cinedrones, and Schneider Optics. And to add full scope to the Playground’s tech aspect, integrals including Coastal Grip and Electric, Videoscope and Eroz Steady Aid also put their services to use. And, this being South Florida, there was hot cars (Miami Vintage Prop Car Rentals), hot print (1 Click 3D Print), hot talk (SoFlo Radio), hot blog (Tropicult), as well as the makers of tomorrow’s hottest movies (Indie Film Club Miami).
As you might suspect, frolicking in this cyber sandbox where some of South Florida’s most ingenious cineastes, from every side of the lens. Students from the media and film departments at FIU, Miami-Dade, UM, Florida Atlantic, and New World School of the Arts joined veterans from the likes of Borscht Film Festival, Rakontur and Fusion Television, who in turn were joined by more independent Scorcese’s- and Spheeris’s-to-be than anyone had a right to host — anyone, but FilmGate’s Fordistas Tech Playground, that is.
All in all, creatives young, old and in-between got to put their hands on tomorrow’s most promising pieces of transmedia technology amid a plethora of mentors, experts, and peers. And the spark of superlative creations could be felt throughout both days of serious playing. So it’s a cinch that when Fordistas Tech Playground resurfaces for FilmGate 2016, a whole new subsection will have to be created — that which features the works of those who were sparked to screen by Fordistas Tech Playground 2015.