Interactive Film Fest screens flicks of the future at UCSD, April 24-27

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

Attention, movie-lovers! Filmatic is coming! Powered by UC San Diego’s ArtPower!, the inaugural Filmatic Festival, April 24-27, will feature four days of interactive screenings, workshops and panels exploring the future of film and the changing nature of the audience experience.

The venue is Atkinson Hall, headquarters of the on-campus Qualcomm Institute, a division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology that is committed to interdisciplinary collaborations. The festival will include pieces by UCSD professors in the visual arts and theater departments, a student film festival and a gaming museum, where visitors can try out the latest in virtual-reality glasses.

ArtPower’s longtime film curator, Rebecca Webb, said she was inspired to create the new festival after reading an article on movies of the future.

“Things will definitely be more interactive,” she said. “What’s onscreen will only be one part of the experience. With the Filmatic Festival, we’re providing an arena for people to share the joy of participating in a variety of immersive, multi-sensory, collective experiences.”

Webb mentioned the huge decline in movie-theater attendance, with people preferring to watch films on their own home-

screens, phones or tablets. “They’re not content to sit passively in theaters anymore when so much of modern life and technology revolves around the ability to interact and create in real time,” she noted.

In what is meant to be a blend of cutting-edge art and technology, Filmatic audiences will have a chance to interact with the films, using their cell-phones to determine plot lines and outcomes. “It will be exciting, creative and fun,” Webb said.

Even if you’re not a total techie, she promises you’ll find plenty of entertaining and thought-provoking possibilities at the festival, where a panel of local movie mavens, including Webb, San Diego Asian Film Festival artistic director Brian Hu, filmmaker Neil Kendricks and video artist Trish Stone, have assembled a broad range of events.

One of the highlights will certainly be David Michalek‘s “Portraits in Dramatic Time,” featuring 45 super-short scenes performed by 100 expert actors, including Hollywood stars and lesser-known artists from different theatrical traditions.

“The scenes, only 10 seconds long, were filmed at high speed, and then slowed down 100 times slower than real life, so that each 10-second scene becomes a 10-minute one,” the New York-based writer-director explained.

The slowness allows viewers to use their imaginations to create their own stories out of what they see. “It’s like meditation,” said Michalek, who teaches courses with titles like “Mysteries of Art and Beauty” at Yale. “Portraits,” commissioned by Lincoln Center in 2011 to celebrate the opening of its new plaza, is a refreshing antidote to the attention-deficit-disorderly rush of our daily lives. Michalek’s 2007 venture into slo-art, “Slow Dancing,” was enormously successful worldwide, and he will be speaking (to 4-day pass-holders only) before the Saturday showing of “Portraits” (6-8 p.m. Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Sunday, $5-$12).

Other Filmatic highlights:


3D Virtual Worlds:

6:30-7:30 p.m. daily, free, advance tickets required. Virtual reality glasses enhance guided tours of StarCAVE and NexCave, two immersive environments that utilize 12 micro-polarized monitors and 34 projectors. The 3-D StarCAVE experience is described as “standing in a rainstorm made of rainbow fragments, with the power to guide the storm by hand.”



8-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10-$21. Viewers determine the plot of this Israeli romantic thriller, a 2010 award-winner for technical innovation. Director Niztan Ben Shaul will be present for post-screening Q&A. u—

If you go:

Filmatic Festival,

April 24-27, Qualcomm Institute of Calit2, UCSD Campus. Single event tickets: Free-$25. 1- and 4-day passes available. (858) 534-8497. Schedule and tickets: and