Sundance Film Festival - New Frontier Exhibits - 2011

Sundance Film Festival – New Frontier Exhibits- 2011

I attended the opening week-end of the Sundance film festival and found it to be an exhilarating creative experience. More information about the festival may be found at www.sundancefilmfestival.com.

Highlights of Visit to New Frontier, including being in attendence with Robert Redford onsite:

The New Frontier at the Miners Hospital on Park Avenue in Park City opens new doors of creativity. Artists in the venues explored narrative structure, three-dimensionality of the cinematic image, and innovations in transmedia storytelling.

Pandemic 1.0

Lance Weiler

“A mysterious virus begins to affect the adults in a small rural town, and the youth soon find themselves cut off from civilization, fighting for their lives. How fast is the virus spreading? It is confirmed – the virus has hit Park City. Pandemic unites film, mobile and online technologies, props, social gaming, and data visualization, enabling audiences to step into the shoes of the pandemic protagonists anytime during the day. Mission Control is the only way to learn where you stand in the face of the spreading pandemic.”

We were informed that 20 festival goers were given cell phones and told to transmit photographs and data, props were hidden in town that would diminish spread of pandemic, and twitter data was analyzed, all in the hope of curtailing the epidemic. We did not find a prop and were not handed phone during our stay, but enjoyed the experience and returned unharmed nevertheless.


Lynn Hershman Leeson

“Lynn Hershman Leeson employs transmedia storytelling to create a seminal history of the American Feminist Art Movement. Expanding the scope of her documentary !Women Art Revolution RAW/WAR is a live, user-generated, community-curated video archive that documents the achievements of women artists. RAW/WAR reconceives history as an ongoing project of collaborative authorship where participants enter an interactive environment to upload new material and use Wii powered virtual flashlights to illuminate invisible histories. RAW/WAR is created by Lynn Hershmanm Leeson in collaboration with Alexandra Chowaniec, Brian Chirls, and Gian Pablo Villamil.”

I downloaded my cinematic trailer and music videos to site to be archived in their library.


Daniel Canogar, Spain

By transforming electronic detritus into stunning sculptural installations, Dabnikel Canogar’s work externalizes the hidden structures of media technologies and explores the short lifespan of the hardware that encrusts and defines our modern lifestyles. Spin projects the copied contents of discarded DVDs back onto their surface to reveal the moving images trapped within the discs. Hippocampus 2 is constructed from tangles of electric cable refuse. Light is projected on the sculpture in such a way that it seems to free the energy stored in the electronic waste, awakening in it memories of the past.

Both Multimedia sculptures were both beautiful and fascinating.  On each DVD were remnants of their story. Most chilling was a murderous clown.


Takehisa Mashimo, Akio Kamiksato, and Satoshi Shibata, Japan

“The sublime and elegant work liberates the pixel entirely from its usual proscenium format and reshapes our encounter with the moving image by using steam as a screen and an interactive interface.”

If you plunge your hands into the steam quickly a virtual butterfly will fly away and disappear. If you hold your hand in the steam for a while, butterflies will flock around and play with you.


Bill T. Jones, U.S.A. 3 D Video Installation

Bill T. Jones dances a series of original and haunting choreographic sequences accompanied by his own vocalizations as Open-Ended Group captures and portrays the movement using a customized technique. “After Ghost dancing” expands to in corporate 3-D technology.


Squidsoup, UK

“Pixels become independent creatures that move through time and space. It uses projection to visualize virtual bugs that participants can interact with in a real sandpit. The bugs are aware of their surroundings and respond to the shapes in the world around them. Viewers can pick bugs up, dig holes, and create mounds that the bugs must react to. If the bugs are squashed, they die, but if they live, they evolve to become butterflies.”

I helped a few mate, squashed a few accidently, and helped a few turn into butterflies.


“The project invites participants to create individual drawings that ware woven into a collective, animated music-video tribute to Johnny Cash, set to his song “Ain’t No Grave.”


“All That Is Solid Melts into Air powerfully juxtaposes two documentary videos, which are projected on opposite sides of the room – one depicting a Nigerian guerrilla group battling the colonization of petroleum recourses on their land, and the other showing Chicago stock traders speculating on energy futures. The view, caught between the two videos, negotiates these two scenarios. As the films play, the stakes rise, and the intensity crescendos to an uproar.

This was an absolutely astonishing project. Extremely powerful! It was only shown eight times during festival but is a must see for everyone in the world.


“Our prolonged and increasing exposure to dramatic entertainment shapes our imaginations, our aspirations, and the way we reference our memories and structure the time in our day. How does a television show have such an impact on our lives” In Three’s Company: The Drama, James Franco examines the classic TV show. Breaking out individual elements of narrative character, composition, and set design to reconstitute them and create an immersive experience of the story world through which we may consider how this definitive 1970s sitcom connects and organizes our memories.”

It would be my guess that James was included here due to his celebrity status. I sat in the parlor and watched an old episode of “Three’s Company” projected onto wall. James did voice over to portray all characters. Two guys sitting next to me thought it was quite funny, but I didn’t get it, and was not moved or transformed by experience in the way I was with other installations.


Avish Khebrehzadeh

“Avish Khebrehzadeh’s works integrate painting and video to evoke fairy tales and dreamscapes, which are often inspired by her own dreams and memories. In Theater III and Edgar”, three loosely linked vignettes unfold on a massive painting of a grand theater with a proscenium screen. The film tells the story of three men carrying a pregnant woman past a village into the desert, where they leave her. She then disappears down a hole with the man who has been digging it. In the last act, the drama transgresses many boundaries, including the very screen where it is being presented.

It was very intriguing to see video installed into a painting of a theater. I would have liked video to be more sophisticated. It may be the way of the future with film installed in paintings covering museum walls.


The ambulance/hearse is a vehicle designed for emergency response and ceremonial lament. In this work, the vehicle’s chassis lies astride a fresh piece of asphalt – a corpse on clean sheets. Possessed with satirical humor and dark patriotism, “We like America and America Likes Us (The Corpse) becomes an allegory of American consciousness that embodies a great contradiction: a national character with a gift for survival despite its movement toward implosion.



Blast Theory, UK

“To start your adventure, you arrive on a deserted street corner with your cell phone. Keep your eyes peeled for traps. Other people seem to be in on what’s going on. The phone rings, and your journey through the underbelly of the city begins. A Machine to See With mixes documentary storytelling, stolen thriller clichés, and the films of Jean-Luc Godard to create a 75 minute experience that invites you to play a part, take risks, engage in games, and make the ethical decisions we all, in the end confront.”

I did not choose to engage in this project. However, I was told that the decision you make tell you a lot about yourself. And in the end you will be required to commit a crime – will you follow your instructions? Well, that depends on your integrity, bravery and ability to decipher right or wrong within the context of a unique circumstance.

I did not see the following three screenings, but heard positive reviews.


Mkiwa Matreyek


Miwa Matreyek


Deke Weaver


Braden King