The Sundance Film Festival released its 2020 New Frontier lineup with 32 projects from 21 countries, which is expected to involve multiple new cities including Dallas. New Frontier will break out “into the wild” with satellite projects in the pool at the festival’s headquarters, AR dances in various locations, and a “nationwide fugitive newscast,” according to a statement.
The New Frontier lineup is part of the Sundance Institute’s spotlight on the crossroads of film, art, and technology with independent and experimental works in mediums including rocket travel, biotech, facial recognition, mixed reality (MR), smartphone AR, underwater VR, game engines, big data, AI, SMS text, and iPhone video capture. The presented works were curated from a mix of invitations and submissions to an open call earlier this year, according to a statement.
The fugitive newscast is an independent and ongoing artist-driven project by filmmaker Kahlil Joseph called BLKNWS.
“Technology infuses most aspects of modern life—and is evolving at a historic pace. The New Frontier artists that we showcase are taking completely fresh and thoughtful approaches to how the newest technological formats engage with the ancient art of storytelling,” Robert Redford, president and founder of Sundance Institute, said in a statement.
New Frontier’s “fugitive newscast” can be accessed at Dallas’ Texas Theatre as well as 10 other art house theaters around the U.S. including The Belcourt Theatre (Nashville, Tenn.); Cinema Detroit; The Loft Cinema (Tucson, Arizona); Michigan Theater (Ann Arbor, Michigan); The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); Nitehawk Cinema (Brooklyn, New York); Northwest Film Forum (Seattle, Washington); O Cinema (Miami, Florida); Parkway Theatre (Baltimore, Maryland); and The State Theatre (Ann Arbor, Michigan).
The technologies employed by New Frontier “enable experiences that capture, replicate, and replace the ‘real,’” said Shari Frilot, the chief curator at New Frontier, in a statement. She noted that when the human touch converges with technology, the experience moves into unfamiliar terrain where people “can shift who we believe ourselves to be, where our bodies begin and end, what we are to each other, and who we are ultimately capable of being.”
The 2020 Sundance Film Festival program plans to feature 241 works with 44 percent directed or led by one or more women, 35 percent led by one or more artists of color, and 19 percent led by people who identify as LGBTQ+. Out of the 32 New Frontier projects, 31 percent are led by women, 44 percent by artists of color, and 31 percent by people who identify as LGBTQ+.
The New Frontier lineup includes:
- Film and performance category entrant—A Machine for Viewing, United Kingdom, Australia (Directors: Oscar Raby, Richard Misek, Charlie Shackleton; producers: Richard Misek, Oscar Raby)―A unique three-episode hybrid of a real-time VR experience, live performance, and video essay in which three moving-image makers explore how people watch films by putting various ‘machines for viewing,’ including cinema and VR, face to face.
- Exhibition entrant—Breathe, Sweden, Canada, U.S.A. (Lead artist: Diego Galafassi; key collaborators: Jess Engel, Myriam Achard, Stephen Mangiat)—A mixed-reality application using body movement and breathing to immerse participants in the story of air. It recasts the ordinary experience of breathing as an immediate, direct link to a complex living world.
- VR cinema entrant—Flowers & a Switchblade, U.S.A. (Lead artists: Nic Koller, Weston Morgan; key collaborators: Candice Lee, Bridget Peck)―A real-life conversation in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is collaged together from hundreds of videos to form a fractured, 360-degree Cubist world.
- New Frontier Shorts entrant—E-Ticket, Hong Kong, U.S.A. (Director: Simon Liu)—A frantic re-cataloging of a personal archive and 16,000 splices. 35mm frames are rearranged in evolving patterns, created to illustrate the freedom of movement for the modern cloud.
The entire lineup can be found here.
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