Short Formats: Interactive Film

I must apologize to my few dear readers, but i can’t afford to start the discussion on narrative now, as i stated in the previous post. That’s because would be reckless of me not talking at least a little bit about interactive films after their introduction in the last article.

As the internet became the best vehicle to distribute short films, it thoroughly changed our possibilities regarding their form. As i’ve stated while illustrating with the Arcade Fire music video (which if you haven’t yet seen, you should) in the music video discussion, this is quite a brand-new niche and we’re still developing the language and exploring its prospects. Take for example that viral Facebook movie app Take this Lollipop, it creates a short film based on the information you display on Facebook. The storytelling is certainly poor, still, it is just another example of how this field needs better stories. Both examples demand something from the viewer to enhance the experience and introduce these details into the narrative, but there’s barely no control inside the film itself. Everyone gets, literally a different experience from watching these films, it’s like if they read Barthes’ Death of the Author and said “Yah, we got your point”.

It’s worth the note that the majestic work of mise-en-scéne on The Wildnerness Downtown, fragmenting the screen into a innovative splitscreen concept. Watch out, Brian De Palma.

While the interactivity into narrative films of this kind uses a pre-set to specify its settings, the documentary has found itself a comfortable nest in a different sort of interface. Much more closer to websites or even videogames, documentaries like Bear 71 and Brother Soldier gives almost a roleplaying experience into their films. With a great use of voice-over, both of them are quite delightful. Bear 71, allowing you to visit a small vectorial representation of the Canadian National Park and follow the data points along the boundaries. I honestly kept myself a feel minutes wandering because i wanted to find a lynx.

Still, the most amazing feature of interactive film is that they completely break the barrier of runtime. Despite the opening scenario into longer short films, their runtimes are still predefined, but in the case of films like Welcome to Pine Point, you set your own time. The single fact that the possibility to skip a scene is made PART of the film, gives a completely different view, because the user decides the length of its experience and regardless of its duration, as long as it reaches the end it’ll be complete according to the expectations of this interactive film. It’s like agglutinating the outrage of the DVD remote control and turn it into a good thing.

There’s a lot of corn to harvest from these fields and i cheer to anyone whom decides to explore the limits of the cinematographic language into this kind of movie.

For example, wouldn’t be great to see a half noir, perhaps even based on Clue, where you had these, for the sake of the example, 9 scenarios and according to the order of view your interpretation of the final facts would be completely different, each set-piece could give red-herrings and confirmations for former and latter declarations.

It’s all about experience enhancement, nothing better to keep your viewer closer than allowing him to choose the film he wants to see.

This is the fifth article of the series Short Formats. You may check the others by clicking here.

See you next time, unquestionably to discuss narrative ideas for short films.


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