Drafthouse Films released the final U.S. trailer today for The Congress, the 2013 live-action/animation hybrid directed by Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir). In a sign of the times, the film will first be released onto iTunes/On Demand on July 24, followed by a limited theatrical release on August 29, and a New York release on September 5.
Not only does the film contain animation, its story, which tackles the ethical and philosphical dilemmas surrounding the use of digital actors, is also relevant to the animation community. The idea was inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s 1970s novel The Futurological Congress:
More than two decades after catapulting to stardom with The Princess Bride, an aging actress (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) decides to take her final job: preserving her digital likeness for a future Hollywood. Through a deal brokered by her loyal, longtime agent (Harvey Keitel) and the head of Miramount Studios (Danny Huston), her alias will be controlled by the studio, and will star in any film they want with no restrictions. In return, she receives healthy compensation so she can care for her ailing son and her digitized character will stay forever young. Twenty years later, under the creative vision of the studio’s head animator (Jon Hamm), Wright’s digital double rises to immortal stardom. With her contract expiring, she is invited to take part in “The Congress” convention as she makes her comeback straight into the world of future fantasy cinema.