When the lights went down at the “hitRECord with the Movies” performance in the Eccles Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 26, audience members began screaming as the movie screen flashed a message to “please turn on all recording devices.”
Then project creator Joseph Gordon-Levitt ran onstage, with a microphone in one hand and a camera in the other, encouraged the audience to record everything.
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The nearly two-hour event was an opportunity for Gordon-Levitt, who leads the hitRECord project as a character named “Regular JOE,” to promote and explain the interactive programming initiative. The actor launched the hitRECord two years ago as part of Sundance’s New Frontier art and technology program, attracting an audience of 99 people. Two years later, “it’s blowing my mind” to be talking to an audience of 1,300 people, he yelled.
Gordon-Levitt describes hitRECord as a connector for artists of all mediums. To enroll, people sign up on the website and begin uploading. Other members borrow clips and add their own art to create something new. Then Gordon-Levitt and his team edit the clips into a final project.
On Thursday night, Gordon-Levitt, a Sundance veteran of films such as “Hesher” and “Brick,” screened projects created through hitRECord, ranging from cartoons featuring Benjamin Franklin singing about one’s constitutional right to take pictures and record, to a short film based on a true story. He had a conversation about the concept of “indie” with the audience via Twitter, and invited actors Parker Posey and Brady Corbet on stage to film an impromptu script reading.
The event ended with Gordon-Levitt playing his guitar and singing “Hey Jude,” and 60 film clips of the song quickly were launched on YouTube.