Tuesday 22 February 2011

Sydney Film Festival will premiere the world's first 360-degree 3D AI cinematic experience

Sometimes I do wonder how far my contact information has gone. Now I can confirm that I have hit Australia! The press office at the Sydney Film Festival send me the below about a new cinema experience that has its premiere at the festival.

Scenario is the world’s first 360-degree 3D AI cinematic experience
Enter a fractured fairytale that propels viewers into the interactive, immersive future of entertainment!

How brilliant that this world-leading technology, which foreshadows the future of 3D cinema, has been generated in Sydney” – Clare Stewart, Festival Director, Sydney Film Festival

Scenario is a free Sydney Film Festival event which allows five participants per session to lose themselves in the brave new world of 360-degree 3D Artificially Intelligent (AI) cinema at the University of New South Wales’ iCinema Research Centre.

The project is adapted from events surrounding the notorious Fritzl case in Austria, where a father kept his daughter in a bunker for decades. Director Dennis Del Favero is known for his immersive video installations and photographic series, drawing upon real-life instances of trauma, amnesia and phantasy.
In Scenario you’ll meet Elizabeth K, a humanoid, who has been imprisoned in a concealed basement, along with her four children by her father, who lives above ground with his daytime family. Set within the underground labyrinth, Elizabeth K and her children take the audience through various subterranean spaces in an attempt to discover the possible ways they and the audience can resolve the mystery of their imprisonment and so effect an escape before certain death.
Combining dramatic writing by famed Australian writer Stephen Sewell (The Boys) with hard and soft ware from beyond the cutting edge, this is where art and technology meet to create truly new forms. With elements of experimental art, game logic, animation, storytelling and interaction colliding, this is a taste of the entertainment of the future – like a glimpse of the “holodeck” from Star Trek’s sci-fi imaginings.

Scenario director Dennis Del Favero feels the work is of the moment. “Two decades ago, if I had described Facebook, you wouldn’t have believed it. You would have thought: ‘how is that possible?’ But now it’s increasingly becoming our public forum, where we meet and interact. It could potentially be the same with AI cinema. The future could very well surprise us.”

Nothing like this has been done before. Not only do you have 3D animation, some of the characters also have artificial intelligence. That makes it an immersive film experience where no two “screenings” will be the same – as it allows the audience and the characters to jointly create the story. It is a two-way narrative.

Scenario foreshadows a dramatic shift in what cinema can be. Instead of cinematic storytelling being about what the audience thinks and believes, it can also be about what the characters on screen believe and think as they interact with the audience.

The project, directed by Del Favero, is the result of collaboration with screenwriter Stephen Sewell, AI scientist Maurice Pagnucco and a multidisciplinary team at the iCinema Research Centre, University of New South Wales, funded by the Australian Research Council. A monograph on the project has been written by Ed Scheer and published by UNSW Press and ZKM Germany.

Dennis Del Favero is an internationally renowned artist and ARC Australian Professorial Fellow, Director of the iCinema Research Centre, Visiting Professorial Fellow at ZKM, Germany and Visiting Professor at University IUAV of Venice, Italy. He is currently engaged in art projects that explore the dynamic relationship between human and environmental systems.

Stephen Sewell is one of Australia’s most celebrated and experienced film and theatre writers. Best known for his film and theatre work, including his AFI award-winning script for The Boys, he is currently a Visiting Fellow at the iCinema Centre.

Find out more about the festival at the official website.
The festival runs from the 8th - 19th June, 2011
Under 18s are not permitted to any festival screening except where we indicate the film has been classified or received a classification exemption.

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