"New media refers to on-demand access to content any time, anywhere, on any digital device,
as well as interactive user feedback, creative participation. Another aspect of new media is the
real-time generation of new, unregulated content."
-New Media entry @ wikipedia.com
The New Media Film Festival is now in it's fourth year. The Los Angeles-based live 2-day event is unique in that it focuses on contemporary media technologies, especially when related to the wide variety of internet entertainment forms. In a sense, the New Media Film Festival is way out ahead of other indie festivals in that it's honoring and encouraging talent for an entertainment media shift that has only just begun. There is a vast international audience that is moving away from television/film and looking to their computers, tablets and smart-phones for entertainment. And although traditional media moguls (especially in Hollywood) have often shown disdain for these new forms, those companies that have embraced them (like machinima.com) have shown through their success that the future of entertainment is new media.
What the New Media Festival Does
The concept of "new media" is still in flux. Even the quote from the excellent article on new media at the Wikipedia (see above) is still somewhat ambiguous. This is because, unlike older models of entertainment, new media includes the users in the creation process. So, in effect, the users and creators of new media have a unique relationship that is often interchangeable. And this interactive process is still evolving both via technology and social media, which in itself has become a form of new media.
What the New Media Film Festival does is try to capture as much of the range of new media styles and tropes as possible. Under the guidance of the indefatigable Susan Johnston, who founded the festival and is its director, these various new media forms are combined with a fresh approach to presenting traditional media. What you end up with is a wonderful combination of art forms and styles all designed to create that sense of wonder and delight that is sorely missing from most main-stream media today.
In addition to featuring the 2-day festival live on the net at their custom pay-per-view site, Susan and her staff have structured the festival so that there are several intimate conversations, panels and meeting points between festival-goers and artist/presenters. And since many of those attending are also the creators of the new media being screened, the synergy I was talking about earlier between user/creator is very apparent at the festival. In fact, it's one of the main strengths of the festival. The festival also provides a unique opportunity for networking in this developing art/entertainment form.
What's happening at the 4th Annual New Media Film Festival
The two-day festival will take place at the Landmark Theater on West Pico in Los Angeles on June 11th and 12th. In addition to the traditional open night reception, there is a red-carpet press walk, award ceremony and closing night event. In between, there are numerous screenings taking place throughout the day. Some of the new media categories include: web series, mobile, shot on red, documentary, 3D film, machinima, animation, trailers, socially responsible content and music video. In addition to multiple screenings, there are panels, speeches, a Q&A session, an international art exhibit and (one of my favorites) the "art on wall" exhibit where various types of new media are projected on a main wall as people pass by.
For a full list of new media categories being presented and the complete schedule, go to the main New Media Film Festival website: newmediafilmfestival.com
"New Media Film Festival intersects the interactivity of new technologies & formats for Media & Cinema which exemplify the power of the cinematic arts to inspire and transform. A festival where we Honor Stories Worth Telling that are created by people of All Ages-All Cultures-All Media."
Attend the New Media Film Festival in person or online
I've been fortunate to attend the last two years of the New Media Film Festival, and each year the event has gotten better and better. The quality of films and media being presented was outstanding. Simply watching all of the screenings is worth the price of admission.
I was also impressed by the panels and discussions at the festival. Invariably, worlds of professional/traditional media creation and the new media creation styles with its wider acceptance of amateur and user-based creation come into conflict, but the discussions that result are always constructive and interesting. Most people attending will be running to their laptops or smart-phones right after a panel in order to follow up on a web series that was mentioned, or to check on a blog post or article written by one of the panelists. Both worlds of contemporary media are well represented at the New Media Film Festival, which I think is a very good idea.
We are living in an exciting, creative time. New media is the emerging zeitgeist and traditional media is trying to find a way to adjust and fit in. Much of what happens at the New Media Film Festival has a subtext of the contrast/conflict between these two media forms. And by attending the festival, you'll not only get a good idea of what's going on around the world in new media, but you'll hear both sides of a fascinating debate on the future of entertainment and media.
Tickets, Schedule and Event Information
A full two-day badge to attend the 4th Annual New Media Film Festival is available for $95. There are also tickets for block sections of each day's events starting at $20. For the film screenings, meet-ups and a quality festival experience, these are very good prices. You can purchase tickets in advance at newmediafilmfestival.com or at the Landmark Theater. Parking is easy at the Landmark and is fairly cheap.
You can also attend the festival using a pay-per-view channel set up by the New Media Film Festival. The $19.95 package includes "4 hours total of viewing Live (June 11 & 12th) and one On Demand viewing for 30 days following the event at your convenience."
The New Media Film Festival has an informative Facebook page which is updated regularly. And be sure to check the festival's YouTube channel for a lot of the media they'll be screening. The festival will be giving away $45,000 in prizes which is another boon to new media development.
I recommend the New Media Film Festival. It's unique in the content it presents, plus the festival is well organized and provides many opportunities to network and meet new people. The future is in new media and the New Media Film Festival is the place to discover that future.
Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.
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