Innovators of Immersive Media “Converge” on Lincoln Center


Mike Knowlton leads a recent StoryCode Immersion event.

Cinema has been entertaining audiences for over a century now. At first, we sat and watched silent, black and white films. Then we sat and listened. Then, we watched in color. Now we can watch in HD Digital IMAX 3D, and all that is great. But still, we are just sitting and watching. There is definitely a place for the passive entertainment of taking in a movie, but there is also so much room to expand on the experience.

If you remember climbing under the blanket with a flashlight and a choose-your-own-adventure book, you can attest to the power of taking part in the narrative process. This same motivation has helped turn video games from bouncing a block off a paddle to fighting off alien invasions and forming meaningful relationships with other characters. How can this be translated into cinema, where everything is prerecorded and projected out to large groups of people at a time?

That is an issue countless artists, innovators, marketers, and others are starting to tackle. Film Society of Lincoln Center, in collaboration with Kill Screen Magazine and StoryCode, is pleased to announce Convergence: Immersive Media at Lincoln Center. This ongoing series of forums and events will explore emerging trends in transmedia—narratives that exist across multiple platforms and are changing the ways we tell stories.

Convergence is made up of four programs: Kill Screen DialoguesStoryCode ImmersionStoryForum, and Story Hack.

Jay Bennett of Smokebomb Entertainment will stop by on April 24 to share his experience with Totally Amp'd with the StoryForum crowd. It is a free gathering that allows these creative storytellers to meet with like-minded individuals and discuss their ideas and projects. Bennett will be speaking about his project, which features interactive web content, an iPad app, its own soundtrack and more. This is the heart of what transmedia is, engaging users on a variety of platforms, working in tandem to tell a cohesive story.

Kill Screen Dialogues feature top game designers discussing the process behind creating some of the most influential and innovative games in recent history. Coming up on May 15 is a discussion with Navid Khonsari, the director of Grand Theft Auto III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas, among other notable works. These games truly redefined what a video game could be, giving the player incredible control over their surroundings while still maintaining a strong, compelling narrative.

We all know about Facebook and Twitter. StoryCode Immersion speaks with the creators of some of tomorrow's most ingenius social platforms and how they can be used to engage with users and allow them to interact with stories. On May 8, Mark Harris will talk about Broadcastr, a location-based service that allows users to unlock images and sound clips at specific places. Instead of sitting in a theater, the viewer can be travelling around, taking part in the narrative themself.

Story Hack is a totally unique event that will bring together writers, designers, filmmakers, developers and more to explore immersive media in a hands-on setting. Participants will form teams to design narrative models across three or more platforms and use them to tell an original story... all in one 24 hour period! The first of this first-of-its-kind gathering will take place April 28 – 29 in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and is by registration only.

The Film Society has long been interested in innovative storytelling. During last year's New York Film Festival, we hosted four "Beyond the Screen" forums focused on new gaming and transmedia applications. StoryCode and Kill Screen have both returned to the Film Society with one-off panels and events in recent months. Now, though, they will officially be regular guests, and we hope you will be as well! Stay tuned to the FilmLinc blog and social media channels for updates on more events as we announce them.

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