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Meet The Sundance Institute's 2014 New Frontier Story Lab Fellows (As GIFs)

Introducing the six projects selected for the 2014 New Frontier Story Lab.

by Kamal Sinclair, Co-Director, New Frontier Lab Progr
Oct 6 2014, 5:00pm

2014 Sundance Film Festival New Frontier attendees experience Oculus Rift virtual reality technology. Image courtesy of WireImage/Jerrod Harris.

Established in 2011, the New Frontier Story Lab is dedicated to the best and brightest in non-traditional storytelling (watch our short doc on the New Frontier Story Lab here). From projection-mapped movie marquees, to interactive, immersive, and experimental hybrid-films, the week-long experience showcases artists and teams working at the intersections between art, film, gaming, performance, and technology. This year, in anticipation of the program, Kamal Sinclair, Co-Director, New Frontier Lab Programs, introduces the six projects selected for the October 22-27 Lab.

The 2014 New Frontier Story Lab taking place at the Sundance Resort in Utah next month, (October 22nd-27th), will truly be a landmark moment in the evolution of the program.

This year’s projects are undoubtedly pushing the boundaries of story and story design from a variety of deeply thoughtful approaches, from the conflict zone photojournalist, attempting to dissipate war by creating an embodied experience that humanizes the “enemy”; to the virtuosic performer using projection-mapped light and audience immersion to explore the dimensions between the creator and created; to the stand-up comedian looking to reinvent the one-hour comedy special by eliminating the distance between performer and audience in his exploration of the “new brown experience”; to the hybrid documentary/video game that throws its players into the fog of revolution, in which every decision leads to a historical truth; to the algorithm-based film that gives a real-time experience of the earth struggling through climate change in the context of our own social-media sourced testimony; to the deeply meditative game that affords players a rich aesthetic and philosophical year in the life of Thoreau at Walden Pond.  

During a week-long immersive Lab, this year’s six creative teams will work with Creative Advisors to take their projects and their disciplines to new frontiers.

1979 Revolution by Vassiliki Khonsari and Navid Khonsari

1979 Revolution, the action/adventure game, immerses players in the gritty, euphoric streets of revolution—where the choices you make may betray you. Set in the actual events of 1979 Iran.

About the Artists:

Vassiliki Khonsari arrived at filmmaking through Visual Anthropology, with a specialty in verite storytelling. In addition to her TV Producer/Director credits, Khonsari's Doc Feature Producer credits include Our House and Pindemonium and she directed the award-winning Pulling John. Co-founder of iNK Stories, Vassiliki is passionate about her current development projects that focus on immersive stories.

Navid Khonsari, co-founder of iNK Stories, developed the cinematic look and feel for Grand Theft Auto/Vice City/San Andreas, Max Payne and more. Films include The Contract, Pindemonium and Pulling John.  Khonsari recently completed his first graphic novel, Infidel.  As a guest lecturer, Khonsari focuses on the discourse surrounding the convergence of politics and gaming and the potential of games to incite empathy.

Walden, A Game by Tracy Fullerton and Lucas Peterson

Walden, A Game, simulates the experiment-in-living made by Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond in 1845-47, allowing players to walk in his virtual footsteps, attend to the tasks of living a self-reliant existence, and discover in the beauty of a virtual landscape the ideas and writings of this unique philosopher.

About the Artists: 

Tracy Fullerton is the lead game designer and director of Walden, A Game. Her recent credits include The Night Journey, a collaboration with media artist Bill Viola. She serves as the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair of USC’s Interactive Media & Games Division, and the Director of USC Games, ranked the #1 games program in North America by the Princeton Review. She created innovative games for Microsoft, Sony, MTV, among many others. Her long career in game design and influence on the independent games community was recently acknowledged by the IndieCade Trailblazer Award.

Lucas Peterson is the environment designer and character artist for Walden, A Game. He is a fine artist with an emphasis in drawing and design who has turned his talents to game design. In addition to Walden, A Game, Lucas has contributed to a number of projects at the USC Game Innovation Lab including the FutureBound college access games and the Chrono Cards WWI history games. He holds a BFA from the USC Roski School of Fine Arts.

Heart Corps by Dandypunk in collaboration with Darin Basile

Ink illustrations are brought to life with projection mapping and live performance, in a fully immersive, "walk-through", graphic novel experience. 

About the Artists: 

Dandypunk, from a background in street art and acrobatics, discovered a way to combine the two using the "magical lantern" that is the projector. Mixing whimsical, hand drawn illustrations and stop motion animation, with newer technology and physical movement, he seeks  to evolve a style that has been described as "digital light poetry". 

Darin Basile is a self-taught, visual generalist; a wee bit more of an engineer than artist, a developing storyteller, and an introvert with an honest desire to understand himself and others. He hopes to imbue others with a sense of wonder for the worlds around us and empathy for those that inhabit them.

Sakoon/Paint The Town by Hasan Minhaj and Greg Walloch

A participatory multi-platform journey with comedian Hasan Minhaj that explores the complicated and nuanced struggles of the "new brown experience" as an immigrant in America and inspires an enlightened approach to intolerance. The project includes a live solo show, radio broadcasts, feature film and interactive digital media.

About the Artists: 

Hasan Minhaj is an LA based comedian, actor, and writer. He is a member of the The Moth Mainstage Company. He hosted the documentary special Stand Up Planet and his viral web series The Truth with Hasan Minhaj has been featured in The Huffington Post, Gawker, New York Times, and more. He has appeared  on programs including Arrested Development, Getting On, @Midnight, and Chelsea Lately

Greg Walloch’s live solo shows have toured in Moscow, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Poland, Scotland, Tel Aviv and in various festivals across the United States. The concert film "F**k The Disabled," based on Walloch's live solo show stars Greg Walloch with a cast that includes Stephen Baldwin, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Recently Greg was featured in USA Network's Characters Unite national tour, with sold out engagements.

Weather by Braden King and Matthew Moore

Weather is a multi-platform, multi-channel interactive installation that seeks to create a deeper and more tangible connection to the impact of Global Climate Change through emotional experience.

About the Artists:

Braden King is a NY-based filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. His most recent feature film, HERE, starring Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal, premiered at the 2011 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. A three-screen installation version of the project, HERE [ THE STORY SLEEPS ], premiered at The Museum of Modern Art in 2010 with live soundtrack accompaniment by the Boxhead Ensemble; it toured internationally for the following two years. 

Matthew Moore is an multi-media artist based in Phoenix, AZ. He explores the broad issue of place making and addresses issues of ecological, cultural, and economical sustainability. His artwork has been exhibited internationally, at the Sundance Film Festival, the Walker Art Center, Phoenix Art Museum, Mass MoCA, the World Congress of Soil Science in Korea and Nuit Blanche in Canada among others; and has been featured in numerous publications including Art Forum, Art in America, Wall Street Journal, as well as on National Public Radio.

The Enemy by Karim Ben Khelifa and Chloé Jarry

The enemy is always invisible, when he becomes visible, he ceases to be the enemy.

About the Artists: 

Karim Ben Khelifa is an award winning photojournalist and war correspondent who has often freelanced for Time Magazine, Vanity Fair, Le Monde, the New York Times Magazine, Stern and others. In 2012, he was named the Carroll Binder Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is currently a Visiting Scholar and Artist-in-Residence at the Open Documentary Lab at MIT in Cambridge.

Chloé Jarry joined Camera lucida as new media producer of transmedia and cross-media development in 2011. She produced a collection of iPad and iPhone apps mixing games, interactive animations and extracts from several childrens’ films produced by Camera lucida, i.e. Le Carnaval des animaux, Antoine’s Four Seasons or Peter and the Wolf. Since 2011, Chloé Jarry has developed more than 10 transmedia projects.

To learn more, visit the New Frontier Story Lab website


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