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VR, AR, 360º Video, Virtual Cinema—in immersive experiences, expect to be an active participant to drive your viewpoint and your narrative. The Convergence section of the 57th New York Film Festival takes place on October 10-13, 2019, at Lincoln Center's Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. For a reasonable $7 to $10, you can experience one of three Virtual Cinema programs. Anticipate wearing headsets and wait times with timed entry, but the interesting interactive installations and people surrounding you will distract.
Convergence programmer Matt Bolish selected the lineup this year to reflect our world crisis happening now. “The work in this year’s edition of Convergence really confronts some of the most pressing issues of the day: humanity’s impact on the environment (Anthropocene Project, Last Whispers), how we care for the most vulnerable among us (Metro Viente, Send Me Home), the terrors of homelessness and the opioid epidemic (Homeless: A Los Angeles Story, Ghost Fleet, Holy Night), with equal measures of pathos and humor (Eyelydian, Your Spiritual Temple Sucks).”
In a narrative, how would virtual cinema add empathy or add another layer of information or provide context? An example is the Anthropocene Project. While you are immersed in a VR headset, the scale of 360º video as the camera pans and zooms out of a manmade disaster in nature is breathtaking yet alarming.
Death, memories, and loss extend to a special off-site immersive theater installation of Poe’s The Raven in a world premiere at NYFF57 Convergence. The highly anticipated live theater performances will take place October 10–13 at The American Irish Historical Society’s mansion on Fifth Ave., across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (The Society hosted James Joyce’s play “The Dead” earlier this year, where the audience and actors moved from room to room.)
Live actors and AR headsets emitting audio cues and sonic ambience will guide you through the elaborate interactive installation. The premise is that Edgar Allen Poe has invited you to his wake. Over the course of the performance, you come to realize why you are truly there. Nevermore!
For the 170th Anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious and destitute death, NYFF57 Convergence team collaborated with Lance Weiler, Ava Lee Scott, Nick Fortugno, and Nick Childs to develop an experimental immersive theater installation with emergent technology. From their production notes, the concept is: “Fifty participants wearing Bose AR glasses will move through the building and ‘Poe’s mind’ with the Internet of Things lanterns in hand. The experiment will be released under a Creative Commons License. The goal is to develop, document and release our code so others can remix and share.”
Lance Weiler and Nick Fortugno run the Columbia University’s Digital Storytelling Lab and the DSL community collaborators’ meetups (which I do recommend) at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center. Columbia DSL also has a worldwide collaboration community, Sandbox, for prototype developers: columbiadsl.mn.co. Ava Lee Scott is the founder of Actors Theater of NYC (who will be performing) and specializes in immersive theater as a performer (Sleep No More, Home of Enchantments).
MAIN SLATE (September 27–October 11)https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/sections/main-slate/
PROJECTIONS (October 3–6)https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/sections/projections/
CONVERGENCE (October 10–13)https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/sections/convergence/
Virtual Cinema: Program One (21 min.)3 films from the Anthropocene Project
Virtual Cinema: Program Two (43 min.)Metro Viente, Eyelydian, Ghost Fleet, Send Me Home
Virtual Cinema: Program Three (39 min.)Your Spiritual Temple Sucks, Last Whispers, Homeless: A Los Angeles Story, Eyelydian
Immersive Theater Experience: Edgar Allan Poe The Raven (60 min)American Irish Historical Society mansion991 5th Ave / 81st St., New York, NY
Interactive iPad: Holy NightThe U.S. opioid crisis in a small Rustbelt town through the eyes of a preacher, grandmother, and teen. FREE
To learn more and buy passes/tickets: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2019/ Passes on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Sept. 8.
Venue & Box Office Information
Alice Tully Hall – for advance in-person ticket purchasing 1941 Broadway (between 65th Street and 66th Street) Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sunday: Noon – 6:00 p.m. Also open until 30 minutes after the start of any performance. 212.671.4050
Film at Lincoln Center Box offices open one half hour before the first screening and close 15 minutes after the start of the last show.
Walter Reade Theater 165 W. 65th Street, north side, upper level (between Broadway and Amsterdam) 212.875.5600
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center 144 W. 65th Street, south side (between Broadway and Amsterdam) 212.875.5600
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