If there's one word that sums up this century so far, it's interactive. These days, audiences don't want to sit and silently watch a film screening or listen to a monotonous lecture. In our modern times of Twitter, Instagram, and digital engagement, they want in on the action.
Now, in tribute to these changing moors, Indie Film Club Miami (IFCM) is introducing the city's first interactive film festival, Filmgate.
Showcasing the best in independent content creation and co-creation, the festival will span February 1st through 3rd and feature names like groundbreaking DSLR filmmaker Philip Bloom, indie director Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Miami's own Rakontur king, Billy Corben. Not to mention audience members, who'll become stars of the show themselves.
Throughout the three days of the festival, screenings and workshops will cover filmmaking how-tos, indie retrospectives, rock stars, mobile technology and all kinds of other stuff. Basically, if you can dream it, Filmgate's got it. And you can be a part of it.
"Because cross platform can come in so many forms, each project is very different. In one of the projects, the audience will download a free application to their phone and while they are watching the screen, they will get prompted to do certain things or enter or text or call or be called. It's very immersive. Another project will ask you to choose your own adventure or ending. Then, there is a Super Mario skit, where everyone from the audience will be a part of the level. Transmedia is fun," says Diliana Alexander of Indie Film Club Miami.
The first day is made for music lovers. The festival will kick off at O Cinema on Friday, February 1, with "Spinners of Sound," a series featuring local acts Hola Hi, Deaf Poets, Sirens and Sealions and one surprise band who'll sing songs and tell stories. In addition, they'll be screening the Sundance documentary, Sound City, directed by Dave Grohl and featuring music legends Trent Reznor and Tom Petty.
Day two is all about transmedia. The audience will be immersed in different mediums including video, dance, movement, gaming, music and mobile technology. There'll be works by Joe Penna (known on YouTube as MysteryGuitarMan) and Tiffany Shlain, creator of the Webby Awards and frequent TED talker.
In addition, noted British filmmaker Philip Bloom will be disseminating his extensive knowledge to eager audience members at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. Bloom, famous for his groundbreaking work with DSLR, has worked for Lucasfilm, Sky and the BBC.
"There is so much to cover in a one day so I have to be selective. I try to do a mixture of technical and creative as both are as important as each other," Bloom told Cultist. "These workshops are also often guided by what the attendees really want to learn. A lot of people avoid these types of workshops as they feel they will be too technical. Far from it, my favourite part of any workshop is the creativity part!"
The final day will feature a retrospective by indie director Alejandro Jodorowsky and his film Fando&Lis. While he won't be present in person, audiences will get the next best thing - a Skype Q&A with him and his son Brontis.
O Cinema will also be home to multiple workshops on Sunday, including How to Make Your Film for Free, Without Asking Your Mom for Bail Money, led by Miami's own Billy Corben and Ruth Paul of SAG Indie, and Top Gear, featuring the best new technology for 2013. Most workshops are free, but some cost $10.
"There are some amazing local projects like The Beach Chronicles, which we are also showing and since it deals with a very stylish art deco Miami, some of the characters will appear, drinks in hand," Alexander adds. And luckily, almost everything is free.
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"Since most people go, 'WTF is transmedia,' we thought, why not make those screenings free? Then content creators and audience alike will experience it without being deterred by entry fees and hopefully be inspired to create more projects like that. Not to be grandiose, but we feel it is the future of storytelling," says Alexander.
And Bloom has some words of wisdom for those looking to learn from his example. "The best advice I can give to any budding filmmakers is just go out and do it. The more you shoot, the more you share and get feedback the better you will get. As long as you love making films you are halfway there!"
Filmgate runs February 1st through 3rd at O Cinema and Miami Cinematheque. A full schedule of events is available on their website.