Rebecca Webb: Why the Filmatic

The Filmatic is a digital media festival specifically created to celebrate the future of film-making and film-going, yet whatever we present will always uphold and cherish the fundamentals of story telling and foster our audiences’ desire to connect to each other.

It is my mission as a film curator at ArtPower! not to fight the tide, but instead to embrace a society that consumes movies on smart phones and personal tablets. And yet even with our immediate access to an abundance of media choices wherever we are at the moment, perhaps some feel that they are missing the simple joy of sitting in a dark theater, together, with others.

The inaugural Filmatic Festival forged the intersection of these two concepts - bring your smart phone to the theater to interact with others and the content of the “movie.” Turbulence, an award winning “transmedia” project, directed by Nitzan Ben Shaul, was such an event. Audience members had the opportunity to collectively determine the trajectory of this traditional narrative. Of course this experience was far from conventional - the key point was that the audience was immersed and invested in the story as a creator and participator, not a passive bystander.

Around the time we were formulating concepts for a new kind of festival- and thinking about the way we see movies now, I read an article in the New York Times by Digital Media blogger Frank Rose. He had attended a symposium at University of Southern California where George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were contemplating the collapse of mega movie budget films. Rose quoted Spielberg, who said at the event “We’re never going to be totally immersive as long as we’re looking at a square, whether it’s a movie screen or whether it’s a computer screen … we’ve got to get rid of that and put the player inside the experience, where no matter where you look you’re surrounded by a three-dimensional experience. That’s the future.”

This “future” is what we want to explore through ArtPower!’s Filmatic Festival. The Filmatic highlights the creative work of UCSD faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and also features thought provoking work by international filmmakers.

Focusing on themes of “Time and Velocity” this year, I am truly excited to include a cadre of UCSD research scientists as artists-filmmakers in this year’s Filmatic line up and plan to cultivate this spectacular niche for future iterations of the Filmatic. In fact, we rebranded the Filmatic Festival tagline to “The Art of Science and Cinema” from “Movies of the Future” to reflect this exciting shift! We are also thrilled to increase the amount of innovative student work at the Filmatic including 8k cinema, short films, 3D printed drones and much more.

The 2nd annual Filmatic Festival, co-curated by a San Diego power team, and lovingly crafted by ArtPower! and a cadre of exceptional UCSD students, can boast 32+ events, 3 workshops, and 5 panels.. all in the span of four days, and mostly taking place at the Qualcomm Institute at Calit2, UC San Diego - a place that is known for technological innovation in the arts and sciences.

Our vision for the Filmatic Festival is that it will grow with the latest technological advances, that it will become the place and time to feature forward thinking ideas about audience participation, story reinvention and social commentary.

A brand new festival has a lot of moving parts. I would like to thank each individual who collectively are working together to create this unique enterprise. This team includes ArtPower! staff, tenacious student assistants, the Filmatic curators and artists, the Filmatic advisors, and the leaders and innovators at Qualcomm Institute at Calit2 for believing in our vision.

Please join us for the 2nd Annual Filmatic Festival this April 30-May 3, 2015!

photo: Adriene Hughes