Why should filmmakers with a straightforward narrative be the only ones to get some time in a Sundance Institute lab?
The Sundance Institute is launching its first New Frontier Story Lab, to support artists whose projects explore the merging of film and new media technologies. The lab will happen Oct. 23-28 at the Sundance resort in Provo Canyon.
"Over the past few years, new forms of storytelling have emerged and already proven the potential to engage audiences in creative and innovative ways," said Michelle Satter, director of Sundance's Feature Film Program. "We created the New Frontier Story Lab to support visionary artists developing projects that will change the way we experience stories in the future."
Creative advisors for the lab include screenwriters Michael Goldenberg, Richard LaGravanese, Marti Noxon and Wesley Strick, along with conceptual artist Lance Wewiler, documentarian Laura Poitras and others.
Six projects have been selected for the first lab. They are:
"18 Days in Egypt," by Jigar Mehta & Yasmin Elayat (Egypt / U.S.A.) • An interactive documentary project focusing on the first 18 days of this year's Egyptian revolution - using video, photos, tweets and other electronic media. Mehta is a journalist, and Elayat is an interaction designer and software developer.
"Follow Back," by Brigitte Dale & Robbie Wilkins (U.S.A.) • The story revolves around Jane finding her estranged father's Facebook page -- prompting Jane and her boyfriend Mark to go on a road trip to catch a glimpse of the father and his new family. The story will be told interactively, with the characters sharing their journey in real-time via social media. Dale is a writer, director and actress; Wilkins is an artist and member of the first Collaborative Documentary Fellowship at UnionDocs.
"Kill Shakespeare," by Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery (Canada) • Set in a world where Shakespeare's characters struggle for freedom, Hamlet tries to rally the Bard's greatest heroes to battle the worst villains. Del Col and McCreery created "Kill Shakespeare" as a comic series, and are trying to develop it as a feature film, game and theatrical experience.
"The Last Hijack," by Tommy Pallotta & Femke Wolting (The Netherlands) • A feature documentary and interactive online experience about Somali pirates. Pallotta is a storyteller who has used his animation techniques in collaboration with Richard Linklater ("Waking Life," "A Scanner Darkly") and other filmmakers. Wolting, director of the transmedia production company Submarine, has worked with Peter Greenaway and others.
"Question Bridge: Black Males," by Chris Johnson & Hank Willis Thomas (U.S.A.) • A transmedia art project about Black male identity in America -- incorporating a video-mediated Q-and-A exchange in which diverse members of this "demographic" bridge the divisions of economics, politics, geography and generations.
"Rome," by Chris Milk (U.S.A.) • Taking the concept album by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi (with Jack White, Norah Jones and Ennio Morricone's original 40-member orchestra), this multi-platform interactive narrative aims to culminate in a feature film (adapted from the novel "The Reapers Are the Angels") that will tie all the threads into a cohesive narrative. Milk's work "Wilderness Downtown" is on display at New York's Museum of Modern Art, and appeared in the New Frontier exhibit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
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