As red carpet events in Second Life go, the screenings and judging of films at this years ‘48 Hour Film Project for Machinima’ was set to be the pinnacle in the social calendar for film makers and those who simply love Second Life produced film. It had taken the team involved months of hard work to prepare for this, the ulitimate showcase of virtually produced movie magic and in addition, esteemed real life film Director, Peter Greenaway, had agreed to deliver keynote speeches on his vision of the future of machinima itself.
Best known for producing seminal films such as The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’ ‘A Zed & Two Noughts’ and ‘Drowning by Numbers’ Peter Greenaway is a leading authority on all aspects of film making including the relatively new genre of machinima. After training initially as a painter, Peter gravitated to producing visually spectacular and cutting edge movies and his love of the ‘image’ is particularly evident in his films narratives. His work has also featured appearances from a host of award winning actors such as Helen Mirren, Joss Ackland and Ewan McGregor, so it was no suprise to see the four sim ‘UWA-BOSL Ampitheatre’ fill up fast for the nine hour event.
Of course, it wasn’t only the presence of a bona fide film making genius that had drawn such huge crowds-we were here to watch some of Second Life’s finest film makers reveal their own contributions to the ‘48 Hour Film Project’. Managed and produced in Second Life by the irrepressible Chantal Harvey, this yearly contest attracts film making devotees from all over the world and is part of the real life version of the same event.Teams have to produce films at very short notice, often forgoing sleep, food and rest until their film is complete and they have to adhere to a theme using central ‘elements’ provided to them by the organisers. From concept to fully finished product, they are given a mere two days to attempt this epic, creative task. Not everyone involved manages to meet such demanding deadlines but this year, an impressive nineteen teams managed to beat the clock and over one hundred residents sat back in their seats to watch the results streamed by AVIEW Television and broadcast across Second Life by BOSL radio.
Taking to the stage, Peter Greenaway launched proceedings with an impassioned talk on the history of film-and his disappointment that Second Life machinima can often ape the conventionality seen in mainstream Hollywood movies. For him, machinima should be used to break new frontiers; not mimic that of standard movies. Proclaiming that “Cinema is dead! It’s an artform with a limited lifespan, a beginning, middle and end and now after a hundred and fifteen years, we have reached the end of that lifespan.” Peter was met with nodding approval from the majority of attendees all eager to hear him speak at this historic occasion. He continued “We now live in the age of the ‘screen’. Every media copies, apes and mimics previous mediums but machinima is image based, not text based like traditional cinema and the image always has the last word.” As he finished his speech, Peter told us all that “I remain optimistic. We are all incipient post modernists now. Machinima makers walk alone and face many challenges but Second Life with its extraordinary light, water reflections and visuals means we can use the characteristics of this medium to lay down the groundwork of something new.”
After Peter Greenaway had answered questions from the assembled audience, Phaylen Fairchild and Chantal Harvey introduced all films that had been entered in this years contest giving a brief synopsis of the films content plus live interviews with the film makers themselves. Despite the time constrictions, the lost weekend with hardly any sleep or food, all the machinima makers were full of energy and enthusiasm for the event. Flimsey Freenote, Producer of one of the winning films told us here at BOSL “The creative process has been what I have most enjoyed about taking part! It was so amazing to do this as a team-and in real time. We have done other projects together so we automatically all took our part and ran with it.” And what about next year, would she repeat it all again? “Definitely! It’s the first time I’ve ever entered any of my films and we are already planning to fix a few things next year like having a production assistant to help with communication.” This was echoed by another entrant, Mewsic Bing, whose take on the traditional ‘buddy movie’ was a hit with the crowd. “This was our second time taking part and we’ll do it again for sure” he laughed. “Maybe on another platform as SL left us with much less time than we had hoped for but we enjoyed it tremendously and will do it again.”
At the end of the night, I couldn’t resist asking Peter Greenaway if he enjoyed being in Second Life for social reasons too, he answered “I certainly enjoy the language and its possibilities though there are other more often engaging places to party.” Peter? Come and party with us at BOSL and I promise you a virtual night to remember.
Entrants this year:
Jewell Theatre – 48HourFilm (roadmovie)
M4SK22 – Anemone (doppelganger/time travel movie)
Machinimatrix – The Shadows (horror)
Metaverse Television – Rough Romance (romance)
Sound’r – The Other Door (buddy)
WarTechnica – SB1070 (sci-fi)
Fluent Media Productions – You Dont Know Jack Schmidt (silent movie)
Tough Question – It was a Difficult Question (western-musical)
NicolleX Group – Changes (fantasy)
Grey Matter Films – Nihilist (film noire)
IdeaJuice Studios – Wet (buddy)
In Limbo – Within you, Without you (sci-fi)
Insomaniacs – Beyond Sundown (drama)
Machinimart – Doublewalker (doppelganger/time travel movie)
Rediculous Sandwich Studios – Make me Wet (mockumentary)
Stone Falcon Productions – The Lake (horror)
Dream Machine – TheRealThing (musical – western)
Moondust Films – Unforeseen (film de femme)
Ninja Bandits – Quantum Warrior (romance)