FilmGate Interactive Media Festival

FilmGate is celebrating the art of digital storytelling at its fourth annual Interactive Media Festival at the University of Miami’s School of Communications. FilmGate invites one and all who are passionate about film, media, and/or technology with the intention of bringing together innovative and international artists that seek to breathe new life into their stories through developing technologies like Interactive Media, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality Projects. FIU Students and Staff can get a $30 discount with the code “FIU”. If this sounds like something that’s up your alley, check out our breakdown of the 3 day festival.

To get things started, Wynwood Brewing Company will be presenting the kick-off party on Friday, February 3rd. Not only will event-goers get the opportunity to explore and discover the Virtual Reality Portal, interactive installations, and experimental technologies, it also gives everyone the opportunity to connect and network on a more personal level.

Bright and early, Saturday’s agenda brings a networking brunch to the table. Knight Foundation’s Keynote Speaker Victoria Rogers and FilmGate director Diliana Alexander focus on their shared goal to converge digital artists with tech and media companies. The following hour brings forth a lineup of panels. With “Branding Meets Content”, Nelly Gocheva of the New York Times and Mike Knowlton of Campfire shine light on the preferences and perceptions that come with enhancing a brand. “Haptics: Sensory Storytelling” with Dave Birnbaum of Immersion focuses on applying technology to one’s advantage in eliciting emotion and realism in digital media. Lien Tran, a professor at University of Miami’s School of Communications, discusses “Designing for Mixed and Augmented Reality” along with Nick Fortugno from Playmatics and Ram Devineni, creator of interactive art installation Pirya’s Mirror, showcased at this event. At the last panel of the day, “From Showrunner to Showboss”, executive producer of Left/Right Productions discusses the responsibilities that are tied to executive producing a variety of shows.

In between panels, workshops will be open to attend, and can be paid for separately (day passes/full pass holders have access to most workshops). Only 15 spots are available for Adrian Morales’s hands-on workshop for “Creating Audio for 360 Interactive VR Environments”-tickets run for about $35 each, sign up before they sell out! SONY will also be hosting a workshop in one studio, followed by RED Digital Cinema’s interactive workshop on understanding high-resolution and exposure with their new EPIC-W 8K S35 Camera. Both workshops run for $20 and are included in passes.

After enjoying a few drinks thanks to Wynwood Brewing Company’s 5PM Happy Hour, make sure to stop by and check out the interactive screenings. Saturday’s theme is “French Spotlight” sponsored by the Cultural Embassy of France. Starting off with “Tantalum”, an interactive film directed by Gilles Porte, the feature consists of 5 different endings and 25 different ways of getting there. Bringing 3D (binaural) sound into play, the role of the director is placed in the user’s hands, since they are the ones making the final decisions. Usually having to choose between two possibilities, one ends up being fully immersed into the world they’ve somewhat created based from their preferences. Then, premiering for the first time in the USA, “Heis” will be screened. Fluctuating between cinema, live music, heritages, and the audience, Priscilla Telemon and Vincent Moon take an audiovisual experience to the next level in hopes of “merging different mediums to build bridges between cultures” in an avant-garde twist.

Sunday’s events are in the same order, starting off with a networking brunch with FilmGate panelists, Mixed Media Presenters, and Film Gear Expo Exhibitors. Later, “The Future of Acting” panel will be hosted by Tammy Green, Lori Wyman, Olivia Ormos, and Ana Moreno from their respective agencies. Following that, immerse yourself into “The VR Generation”, moderated by Kim Grinfeder, Milica Zec & Winslow Porter, and Fred Volheur. There will also be a panel titled “Confessions of a Web Star”; Natalie Odell, Adriano Nario, and Jesse Lewis built their fame on the Instagram platform and they will discuss one minute storytelling with Shlomi Ron and web director Christopher Irrazabel. To wrap things up, MIT Open Doc Lab will present “Interactive and Non-Linear Storytelling” with Beyza Boyacioglu and Jeff Soyk.

As far as interactive screenings go, there will be a Florida premiere of English directors Pete Middleton and James Spinney’s “Notes On Blindness”. Portrayed as a collaborative hybrid documentary to recollect and recreate John Hull’s experience after having lost his sight in the early 1980’s, it evokes emotion and poetry through dramatic reconstruction, sound design, and intense sensory cinematic techniques. Hull’s journey told through an audio diary inspired and based from original recordings as well as his published diaries, “Touching the Rock”, makes an impact as a groundbreaking screening.

The Interactive Media Festival will wrap things up with a 7PM Closing Party, so catch this festival for a day or two before it’s gone and get inspired by those who come from a different lifestyle to give a new perception into your own art. Visit the FilmGate Miami website for more information.

imageAlondra Guzman is an intern for the FIU Film Studies Program for the Spring 2017 semester. Alondra is currently seeking out the Film Studies Certificate as a Broadcast Media major.