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What Is Interactive Film?

The future of cinema will not be defined by a single direction. Old genres will live alongside new genres. But it is increasingly becoming clear that at least one of these directions will take the form of cinema as some kind of participatory experience, where the audience of one or many may impact how a narrative unfolds itself over space or time. These new forms should not be reduced as simply choose your own adventure models but instead should be seen as the coming to life of post-modern preoccupations with multiplicity, diversity, open-endedness, spatial conceptions of self, and story puzzles explicitly expressed through interactive technology.

Late Fragment is an interactive film that lets audiences piece together, both literally and figuratively, the cinematic narrative in front of them. The physical experience is not unlike channel surfing in front of the television, except imagine that each channel presents different scenes from the same story. Sitting on the couch, remote control in hand, audiences can click enter on their remote control, and impact the way the story unfolds, sequencing the events of the story depending on when and how often they click enter. Late Fragment is like many of the non-linear movies we have come to love including Crash, Short Cuts, and Amores Perros. But with Late Fragment audiences now impact what scene they may get next.

Inspiration?

Interactive narrative has been explored in many different ways by artists, filmmakers, and designers from all over the world. From Mike Figgis Timecode to Peter Greenaways VJ Tulse Luper Performance, from Lev Manovichs Soft Cinema, to Marsha Kinders Bleeding Through the Layers of Los Angeles by Rosemary Comella & Andreas Kratky with Norman Klein. But with the numerous experiments in form, interactive structure and interface designs, Late Fragment was most inspired by Switching, an interactive film directed by Morten Schjodt of Oncotype and produced by the Danish Film Institute.

While the notion of interactive cinema is not entirely new, Late Fragment is North Americas first interactive dramatic feature film and is an important model of collaboration in leading-edge experimental dramatic content and format that will be engrained into Canadas filmmaking history.

Late Fragment was one of the first feature films in Canada to shoot with the Panasonic-AG-HVX200.

It was a little hairy at first because we were shooting straight to disc and there were no workflow workshops, websites, or experts at that time. We had to design the system from scratch with Caitlin Odonovans help, one of our line producers, and with Tim Martin, our Post-Production guy from Frameblender.

The post-production of Late Fragment was done in 2 overlapping stages: the Traditional Film Editing stage and the Interactive Editing stage.

In stage one, the stories of Faye, Theo and Kevin were edited separately as three distinct linear films.

The second stage consisted primarily of combining all 139 edited scenes from each story into a master interactive film experience, with the stories of Faye, Theo and Kevin unfolding simultaneously.

This part of the process involved little conventional editing of shot material. Instead, a frame from every scene was printed onto an index sized card, and these cards were posted and arranged on a wall, much like how screenwriters arrange scenes when writing a script.

The Wall was used to display the entire non-linear structure of the film and to determine the many possible paths which the viewer could navigate. After much trial and error, the cards were arranged to create an interactive journey that had many dramatic possibilities.

Once completed,The Wall became the interactive script for the programmers. It charted the flow of the overall story, noted all clicking relationships between scenes, and was designed to satisfy the user with multiple viewing experiences.

Roslyn Kalloo

Page last updated by cfccreates, 6 years ago
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