Like any major film festival, Tribeca gives its festgoers a chance to rub shoulders with filmmakers of all stripes. Like those adorable, inquisitive little robots over there. They’re filmmakers too.
The industry spends a lot of time talking about the opportunities and disruptions of new media, but this year Tribeca has put its new media where its mouth is. The fest has programmed five transmedia works to be presented under the banner Storyscapes, a juried section incorporated into its more traditional movie slate.
Although this year marks the first time such multiplatform projects have been elevated to a competitive showcase, Tribeca’s been exploring the potential of interactive storytelling for a few years now. This year’s panel presentation of the world premiere of David Cage’s vidgame “Beyond: Two Souls,” starring computer-generated versions of Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, follows in the footsteps of a similar 2011 showcase for Rockstar Games’ L.A. Noire. And Tribeca Film Institute already programs a Hacks series of workshops and funds projects through its New Media Program.
“We realized we were involved in the production of this work, but we were neglecting the exhibition and distribution,” says Ingrid Kopp, TFI’s director of digital initiatives and a curator of Storyscapes.
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Those cute little robots are part of filmmaker Brent Hoff and robo-artist Alexander Reben’s “Robots in Residence” (pictured above), a project that tasks its automatons with filming and directing a documentary drawn from conversations with festgoers. Also on the Storyscapes lineup are multi-platform chronicles of superstorm Sandy (“Sandy Storyline”) and sleeplessness (“A Journal of Insomnia”) and a fan-made re-imagining of “The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars Uncut).”
“Technologies have always changed the form,” says Kopp. “This is just an extension of that.”