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Putting Together “The Hollow Child” — An Interview with Jeremy Lutter and Ben Rollo

3 Feb
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(left) Jeremy Lutter (right) Ben Rollo

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Plays
Feb 9, 9:00pm
Feb 11, 4:00pm

Silvercity
3130 Tillicum Rd.
Victoria, BC

The supernatural world of malevolent entities is never far in “The Hollow Child.” It’s in the woods and the neighbourhood — a concept director Jeremy Lutter and writer Ben Rollo effectively conveys in their debut feature film premiering at the 2017 Victoria Film Festival, which starts today.

One of the telling visuals is how Lutter wanted the woods to appear outside of every window of the abode. Living by the forest can sometimes create a certain air of unease, especially if it’s everywhere. You never know what can thunder out. This danger is effervescent in “The Witch” (2016) and it may have inspired these two when making this work. Instead, in conversation, Lutter mused about the possibility of Rollo having his own dealings with those spirits since he lived by the woods. Part of the experiences seen in this film might be considered autobiographical.

“When living in the West Coast of Canada, it made sense to make the woods scary and have the story focus on the wild vs civilization,” said Lutter.

When the supernatural is involved, anything can be found in the wilds of British Columbia and this movie was filmed here. This province is well known for its Bigfoot legends than fears over the ‘wee folks, namely gnomes or fairies from European tradition — to which this film takes inspiration from. With this movie, there’s a certain type of ‘tree-folk’ known to cause problems and, according to these filmmakers, the sleepy township is sort of aware of but does not talk about, which adds to this film’s ominous tone.

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What’s Next after Cardboard Crash, VR Cinema? Talking to NFB’s Vincent McCurley

11 Jan

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Virtual Reality (VR) is making further steps into the mainstream this year, and Vincent McCurley, Creative Technologist of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), knows how to make an experience in this field matter. His work, Cardboard Crash, is only a beginning in exploring what this technology can do. It is not always about smoke and mirrors. The applications range from use in drawing in the third dimension to medical imaging — one day, doctors might be able to perform emergency surgery in the virtual space because they can’t get to the hospital in time. While its use in the entertainment forefront is getting the most attention at shows like the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show which wrapped last weekend and at film festivals there’s more to this technology than meets the eye.

“It’s really about putting the audience in a position where they feel like they’re actually in that world. My program came out of that core idea of what makes VR different than any other medium,” said McCurley.

Ultimately, VR is the computer mediation of our senses. A truly immersive experience makes what’s presented by wearing that headset completely indistinguishable from reality to an image on a computer. A suspension of disbelief is required and a willingness to be entertained (or shocked) by the computer program creates part of the fun. For this particular application, this software engineer and filmmaker created, it explores a topic that academia is interested in. It’s a subject worth exploring when considering Google wants to put self-driving cars on the market. The future is looking dangerous.

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In Conversation with MCM, Redefining Storytelling with the multi-narrative “Dirt”

19 Dec

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

201699_10150171129933450_3208833_oMCM (Michael Milligan) is a prolific and progressive-thinking author, screenwriter, computer programmer making waves with his mobile app, Get Dirt. It redefines how a story can be told. Instead of reading a book, the tale is told through a different kind of “found footage.” Unlike the cinema approach which locks viewers to a sequentially edited product, all the information is at the user’s disposal and he or she has to shift through it to discover the tale. There’s also a comparison to a Victorian-age book, but more on that later.

Part of his approach comes from a condition he has. Aphantasia is a rare problem where folks are unable to mentally visualize images. “I can’t see things in my mind’s eye,” said MCM, “It’s actually a brilliant thing, I think, for script writing especially because a scene or any event is built out of key components that you need to focus on for its execution to make sense, and everything else is extraneous because I don’t know what it looks like.”

When writing for animation, especially at the preschool level, the formula is simple: educate the viewer. Often, the piece involves teaching a lesson the youth can take to apply in everyday life as they grow up. As with many programs developed in this television entertainment medium, they are done in a boardroom in a roundtable discussion. Ideas are pitched and in what’s developed, it’s made into a 23-minute show. This writer’s task is to develop a focused script that gets to the point. Continue reading

Level Achieved. Unlocked, the World of Games Interview with Jeremy Snead

13 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Both Videogames the Movie and the upcoming eight-part documentary, Unlocked, the World of Games Revealed are a passion project from filmmaker Jeremy Snead. With the former, he focussed on certain aspects of an industry that he knew he could comfortably cover — history, culture and business — but as for what’s next, the seeds were already planted and to see the idea grow was required.

“I met a couple of producers that asked me what to make next if I could take my pick, and that’s where Unlocked started,” said Snead.

This new series will become available online Dec 15, through iTunes, Google Play, Steam and Amazon and a physical release with bonus material is being planned. The topics explored present more than a look at videogames impact upon society. It has celebrity correspondents who are genuinely interested in the subject they are presenting. To decide on what topics to explore was not easy for this producer. The list was huge. To match the right person to look into that particular aspect of an industry or part of the culture was not always easy. To decide on having eight topics explored throughout the eight episodes felt right, according to this director, and he joked, “How long do we need [to tell the story] without lingering too much without making it a Ken Burns 15 hour style docu-series?”

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