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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Machinima's Interactive Film Festival 2013 Opening Night

Dump Master 3 greeted me as I walked into the 2nd Machinima Interactive Film Fest last Friday night, a film fest showing off Machinima known and new talent for one night and two days over at iam8bit on Sunset.  A short fake doc on the making of a video game where your moves consist of  taking a crap on others could not prepare anyone for the different vids they could gander at the tablet connected big screens at the multiple stations in the gallery area. Three TV's, two headsets for each station and no Oculus Rift support, just yet.

Booths for the different categories this year: Live-Action, Animation and Fan Films. They spread out over the iam8bit gallery  floor. Kogi and Crepes Bonaparte gave the party a taste along side the free Lucky Buddha Beer. Hours into the event it was hard to find a free spot to stand or even view any of the films that could win a lucrative deal with Machinima to produce a short series.

It was a chance that night for anyone to talk to the directors, actors and crew of the films being shown ... if you already knew what they looked like. Iam8bit, please invest in some name tags. Went to a Meetup event a few weeks ago and they even had them to make introductions easier.

Cast and crew of Tumbleweed
With no idea who anyone was, I tried asking a gentleman, who was getting his photo taken by iam8bit staff, what his role in the night was. I asked him if he was a director or an actor. He grinned at me, "No, sorry. Maybe, one day." I said to him, "Well, your dressed very nicely and look great." He smiled again, "That's very complimentary of you." Too bad I'm hetero, because I said all the right things to this gentleman. Could have been a nice evening if I liked men.

Men-liking aside, I met some more men that night. Thought they might be part of that night's VIPs when the were taking group photos together near the Machinima backdrop and gambled to see who they were.

Clayton Cogswell(r) Noel Carrol (l)
"We should have, but we we're stupid, we blew it", that's what Noel Carrol from Good Cops Entertainment had to say about not being in the first Machinima Interactive Film Festival. He's enthusiasm alongside his partner Clayton Cogswell for their new series Tumbleweed, an old west show with video game jokes (Red Dead Redemption inspired), were that of men ready to party.  You could hear chuckles comes from those who put headphones on their heads while watching their episode on the festival floor.

They had a second chance with this year's festival. They didn't show off their prior series of Good Cops, mustaches and cop humor, at last year's event. Clayton and Noel we're making the evening theirs by celebrating with cast and crew. I asked about how working with Machinima was and soon I'd be hearing the same words, "So much easier", that and happy faces, well silly faces, these two guys were really funny. Clayton and Noel were happy they were part of this year's fest thanks to the reminding nudge of Woody Tondorf.

Woody Tondorf knows his Batman, he also brings in new content for Machinima and had one of his own films The Dark Knight Legacy playing on Fan Film TVs that night. Noel and Clayton introduced. We discussed Batman in length and he could be vetted with the title Batman fanboy. He went over wanting to create a world based on the current movies that led to seeing a Nolan-like Red-Hood featured in his film playing there.

When going over interaction Woody pointed out, "We have around forty films playing in there, if it was a regular film festival it would take a week. You can see everything or nothing."

Interaction could have been a live play of Tumbleweed with Clayton and Noel from earlier when I asked them about them connecting with others that night. They joked about a live performance of Tumbleweed that sadly remind a joke. I would have enjoyed it.

Woody then introduced me to the work of "Z" (Eric Zaragoza) and Aaron Schoenke. He nearly couldn't stop praising the work of both of the directors before I got talk to them. Z was there for his Fan Film, Dead Space: Chase of Death. Aaron, came with his father Sean, their a father son production team, for their latest Super Power Beat Down of the White Ranger Vs. Scorpion.

"We knew when we saw the helmet", Z got into they look of the Dead Space short he directed. Different from the game aesthetic it still looked real, the iconic helmet/mask from the series. Z went over being able to make content that looks professional and get it noticed thanks to Machinima. We went over the third game in the series, which he was just starting. I warned him to stop. Hopefully, he can keep his artistic vision from the first two games in the series. Allowing those who can really direct and also love video games is what he got across to me about Machinima.

Animation like Coin and Goodnight Sweet Pakman brought out both the love of games an animation. Coin has you see a complete playthrough of a beat-em-up with some crazy fight moves and animation you can relate to if you ever played a game in genre out of the 80's or 90's. It's pace and the amount of action could choke out a Die Hard Marathon. Then you have a strange blend with 'Goodnight Sweet Pakman"
mixing live-action with colorful animation. Changing the ghosts to a hit crew and Pac-Man and Pac-Woman to 1950's movie tropes of a detective and his gal.

The festival has no equal, unless you consider a table kiosk area in a Best Buy, only if that Best Buy was having a massive party. You connected with the movies and those who made them like you would at a party. A party that could have used name tags.

-If you missed the event, here's all the films that were playing at it.
-I'll look for news on who wins for a future report.

*Happy Birthday Jon Gibson of  iam8bit