The Sundance Film Festival has announced the film and installation selections for their upcoming edition, which will take place in Park City, Utah between January 22 and February 1, 2015.
Among the sixty short film selections are 13 animated projects, including new works by indie favorites David OReilly and Don Hertzfeldt, animation-to-fine-art-world crossover Takeshi Murata, and Réka Bucsi’s Oscar-shortlisted Symphony No. 42.
Also worth listing are the installations in Sundance’s New Frontier programming. The New Frontier space is dedicated to exploring “the crossroads of film, art, and media technology as a hotbed for cinematic innovation.” The thirteen projects selected for the exhibition include numerous pieces that incorporate animation.
Bath House / Sweden (Director: Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Screenwriter: Jerker Virdborg) — Six characters meet in a public bathhouse: the pedant bathhouse manager, a couple with a strange way of communicating and a gang with shady intentions. Something goes wrong.
Beach Flags / France (Director and screenwriter: Sarah Saidan) — Vida, a young Iranian lifeguard, is determined to be the one to participate in an international competition in Australia. However, when Sareh, who is as fast and talented as her, joins the team, Vida faces an unexpected situation.
The Horse Raised By Spheres / U.S.A., Ireland (Director and screenwriter: David OReilly) — Horse ponders his loneliness.
Mynarski Death Plummet / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Rankin) — A completely handmade historical micro-epic combining wartime aviation melodrama with classical and avant-garde animation techniques, Mynarski Death Plummet is a psychedelic photo-chemical war picture on the themes of self-sacrifice, immortality, and jellyfish.
OM Rider / U.S.A.(Director and screenwriter: Takeshi Murata) — In a vast desert bathed in neon hues, a misfit werewolf tears full speed ahead over forbidding terrain while his hoary counterpart awaits.
Palm Rot / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ryan Gillis) — An old Florida fumigator discovers a mysterious crate in the Everglades that ruins his day.
Storm Hits Jacket / France (Director and screenwriter: Paul Cabon) — A storm reaches the shores of Brittany. Nature goes crazy, two young scientists get caught up in the chaos. Espionage, romantic tension and mysterious events clash with enthusiasm and randomness.
The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal / U.S.A. (Directors: Christina Felisgrau, Ronnie Rivera, Screenwriters: Ronnie Rivera, Bernardo Britto) — A computer and a woman fall in love, only to be torn apart because of their inappropriate feelings for each other.
Symphony no. 42 / Hungary (Director and screenwriter: Réka Bucsi) — The film applies an unconventional narrative. It presents a subjective world through 47 scenes. Small events, interlaced by associations, express the irrational coherence of our surroundings. The surreal situations are based on the interactions of humans and nature.
teeth / United Kingdom, U.S.A., Hungary (Directors and screenwriters: Daniel Gray, Tom Brown) — Things of worth are often neglected in favor of that which is more immediately gratifying. Unfortunately, things that are neglected are often lost forever. In teeth a misguided and intensely focused man’s life is chronicled through his oral obsessions.
Tupilaq / Denmark (Director and screenwriter: Jakob Maqe) — The Tupilaq is both a symbol of the spirit of a forefather and a curse. This personal and moving short film revolves around the themes of cultural alienation, abuse and the contrast between mythological greenlandic nature and western urban culture.
Two Films About Loneliness / United Kingdom (Directors and screenwriters: William Bishop-Stephens, Christopher Eales) — A split screen separates the worlds of Jonathan Smallman, who is recording his online dating profile, and Philip Button, Internet chef and hamster, who is noisily recording his new cooking video.
World of Tomorrow / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Don Hertzfeldt) — A little girl is taken on a mind-bending tour of the distant future.
NEW FRONTIER INSTALLATIONS
1979 Revolution Game
Artists: Navid Khonsari, Vassiliki Khonsari
1979 Revolution Game presents an innovative approach to non-fiction storytelling. Designed to engage players with an immersive “on the ground” experience of the Iranian Revolution, the game integrates an emotionally impactful narrative with interactive moral choices and intuitive touchscreen gameplay while remaining true to history.
Artist: Oscar Raby
This immersive documentary uses virtual reality technology to put the user in the footsteps of Director Oscar Raby’s father, who in 1973 was a 22-year-old army officer stationed in the north of Chile, on the day when the Caravan of Death came to his regiment.
Artist: Max Rheiner
Flying is one of the oldest dreams of humankind. Birdly is an experiment to capture this dream, to simulate the experience of being a bird from a first-person perspective. This embodiment is conducted through a full-body virtual reality setup.
Artist: François Quévillon
This interactive installation uses the audience’s body motions and positions to explore 3-D reconstructions of urban and natural spaces that are transformed according to live environmental data, including meteorological and astronomical phenomena.
Evolution of Verse
Artist: Chris Milk
Chris Milk, working with visual effects powerhouse Digital Domain and virtual reality production company VRSE.works, has created this photo-realistic CGI-rendered 3-D virtual reality film that takes the viewer on a journey from beginning to new beginning.
Artist: Ian Hunter
A dark energy experiment leads to a devastating attack by monstrous Kaiju, and you are standing at ground zero — all in 360-degree, stereoscopic 3-D cinematic virtual reality. You will “be there” as the beasts lay waste to a crumbling city and humanity makes its last stand. Cast: Susie Abromeit, Bill Lippincott, Daniel Martin, Brian Dodge, Vincent Chiantelli.
Paradise is certainly not paradisiacal if you look at it through our eyes. But neither is it totally devoid of humor, melancholy and absurdity. Perhaps it is first and foremost life as it is, and then a touch exaggerated in the digital overdrive.
Perspective; Chapter I: The Party
Artists: Rose Troche, Morris May
A young college woman attends a party with the intention of shedding her “shy girl” persona. At the same party, a young man is after a similar reinvention. They meet, drink, and misinterpreted signals turn into things that cannot be undone. Virtual reality simulators let viewers experience both characters. Cast: Tabitha Morella, Caleb Thomas, Zachary Zagoria, Anna Grace Barlow.
Artists: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Possibilia is a multi-layered narrative experience from acclaimed directing duo the Daniels. The story of two quarreling lovers splits exponentially into more and more possible worlds as their relationship unravels. Cast: Alex Karpovsky, Zoe Jarman.
Artist: Nonny de la Peña
More than one million children have fled Syria and news reports indicate children are being specifically targeted in the violence. By combining pioneering virtual reality technologies with audio and video captured during a real event, audiences feel transported to the powerful scene, becoming witnesses as the intense tragedy unfolds.
The VR works of Felix & Paul
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël
Felix & Paul’s groundbreaking live-action virtual reality experiences range from independent documentary to fictional work with major Hollywood studios and stars. These experiences let viewers sit in the room with musicians making music, roam the Mongolian plains with yak herders, and experience an encounter with the afterlife.
Way to Go
Artist: Vincent Morisset
It is a walk in the woods. It is an astonishing interactive experience, a restless panorama, a mixture of hand-made animation, 360-degree video capture, music, dreaming, and code; but mostly it is a walk in the woods, c’mon!
Artist: Danfung Dennis
Zero Point, a 3-D and 360-degree documentary for the Oculus Rift headset, creates an entirely new digital dimension. From combat training simulations to research labs at Stanford to indie game developers and hackers, this immersive experience highlights the future of virtual reality.
(Images at top: Paul Cabon’s Storm Hits Jacket (left) and Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s Bath House.)