Transilvania Film Fest Brings Tech Trends Into Focus

InfiniTIFF sidebar spotlights innovations in storytelling

Virtual reality, live cinema, Instagram Stories and new forms of storytelling will take center stage at the Transilvania Intl. Film Festival during infiniTIFF, an eight-day exploration of how technology is reshaping the way we create and share our stories.

For its sophomore edition, infiniTIFF returns with a slate of screenings, workshops, and a full-day summit dedicated to “people who are actively shaping the future of this industry,” says curator Erwin M. Schmidt, founder of new film technologies company Cinemathon, and of a co-working space for film and tech entrepreneurs and creators, The FilmTech Office.

Two years ago, organizers approached long-time collaborator Schmidt about ways to “expand the profile” of the Transilvania film fest, long a champion of the off-beat and avant garde. The spotlight on new and innovative technologies was a natural complement for a festival accustomed to sharing “great stories on the big screen,” says Schmidt, while highlighting the seismic shifts transforming the way content is made and consumed.

“At any given moment in history, there was a moment of transition from one status quo to the next,” says Schmidt, citing the emergence of once-disruptive technologies like talking pictures and TV. “Sometimes, the gaps between drastic changes are longer, sometimes they’re shorter.” He adds, “We’re in a moment of transition. And that is exciting.”

The infiniTIFF program includes a selection of groundbreaking VR films, an interactive live cinema performance by the award-winning duo the Kissinger Twins, and a selection of YouTube videos put together by guest curators, highlighting the depths of “our collective audiovisual memory of the past two decades.”

A workshop will also explore the narrative possibilities of Instagram, which Schmidt calls “a place for storytelling that is highly undervalued.”

“The hands-on aspect is very important,” he says. “We wanted infiniTIFF to be more than just a place where you can go and watch new stuff. We wanted this to be a place for some people to get their hands dirty with these new forms of storytelling.”

The stories created during the workshop will have a live premiere at the infiniTIFF Summit on May 30, and can be followed and explored on Instagram @infiniTIFFstories. The hashtag is #infiniTIFFstories.

Lastly, a half-day summit May 30 will bring together industry leaders to examine the intersection of film and tech, featuring guest speakers Ricardo J. Méndez, technical director at Samsung NEXT; Sten Saluveer, CEO and founder of Estonia’s Storytek Creative Accelerator; Simon Alexanderson, researcher at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Thomas Langhanki, founder and CEO of Experimental Game; and Irina Albita, co-founder of U.K. fintech startup Big Couch.

“There’s a lot of curiosity in the film industry…for new technologies, but also a certain amount of skepticism,” says Schmidt, commenting on the “false promises” of ersatz revolutions from the likes of 3-D, VR and blockchain, whose transformative potential has yet to be tapped.

Schmidt says it’s important to “see beyond [the promises] and try to understand what the real potential is” for new and innovative ways of storytelling.

“The technology is there, and technology will find its way no matter what,” he says. “The question is how can we shape what happens with the tech?”

(Pictured: The Kissinger Twins)

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