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Sundance Names Six Transmedia Projects for First-Ever New Frontier Story Lab

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire October 6, 2011 at 8:42AM

As major film-supporting institutes begin to embrace transmedia storytelling, the Sundance Institute has announced it will launch a New Frontier Story Lab with six projects.
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Sundance Names Six Transmedia Projects for First-Ever New Frontier Story Lab
The Sundance Institute facilities in Sundance, Utah. [Image courtesy Sundance Institute]

As major film-supporting institutes begin to embrace transmedia storytelling, the Sundance Institute has announced it will launch a New Frontier Story Lab with six projects.

The projects range from an examination of the Egyptian riots to the story of a filmmaker finding her estranged father on Facebook to a project that imagines all of Shakespeare's heroes battling his villains.

Other projects include explorations of Somali pirates and black men in America and a film that will have a concept album produced by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi.

The festival has hosted a series of projects under the New Frontier banner since 2007.

The full release follows:

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES FIRST-EVER NEW FRONTIER STORY LAB, OCTOBER 23-28 AT SUNDANCE RESORT

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the New Frontier Story Lab, a new initiative to support artists and creators developing projects that explore the convergence of film and new media technologies. The six projects selected for the inaugural New Frontier Story Lab, October 23-28 at the Sundance Resort in Utah, were also announced.

The New Frontier Story Lab will focus on supporting projects that have original stories and engage audiences in innovative ways, across multiple platforms. Organized as an immersive lab experience, activities will include individualized story sessions, conversations about key artistic, design and technology issues, and case study presentations. Drawing talent and expertise from all of Sundance Institute’s creative programs, including Feature Film, Documentary Film, and the Sundance Film Festival, the Lab has been planned under the supervision of Michelle Satter, Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.

“Over the past few years, new forms of storytelling have emerged and already proven the potential to engage audiences in creative and innovative ways,” said Satter. “We created the New Frontier Story Lab to support visionary artists developing projects that will change the way we experience stories in the future. We are thrilled to include such an exciting group of projects in our inaugural Lab.”

The New Frontier Story Lab builds on the Sundance Institute Lab model, which offers an intensive, residential retreat focused on creative support, as well as the New Frontier program at the Sundance Film Festival, which launched in 2007 to showcase work of this nature. Artists previously featured in the New Frontier program at the Festival include Pipilotti Rist, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, James Franco, Jennifer Steinkamp, Matthew Barney and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“The New Frontier Story Lab is an exciting expansion of our work to a new and important field where we felt independent voices needed nurturing and resources,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “This new Lab is building upon the already-established legacy of the New Frontier program at the Sundance Film Festival, celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, which was an early supporter of work that extends beyond the big screen.”

Creative Advisors for the New Frontier Story Lab include Susan Bonds (42 Entertainment), Nick Fortugno (Playmatics), David Gale (MTVX), Michael Goldenberg (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Contact), Aaron Koblin (Google Data Arts Team), Richard LaGravenese (Water for Elephants, Oscar nominated for The Fisher King), Marti Noxon (Fright Night, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Takaaki Okada (Condition ONE), Laura Poitras (The Oath, Flag Wars), Wesley Strick (True Believer, Cape Fear), Noland Walker (Citizen King) and Lance Weiler (Pandemic, The WorkBook Project).

The Coca-Cola Company and their long-time agency partner McCann will support Sundance Institute as the inaugural underwriter of the New Frontier Story Lab. Coca-Cola and McCann have long understood the value of story and how new technologies are vital to creating and sharing these stories. Through the collaboration, Coca-Cola and McCann will explore developing content using the same principles that drive the New Frontier initiative.

The New Frontier Story Lab is also generously supported by MTVX.

The artist teams and projects selected for the New Frontier Story Lab are:

"18 Days in Egypt," Jigar Mehta & Yasmin Elayat (Egypt / U.S.A.)

"18 Days in Egypt" is a interactive documentary project that will tell the story of the first 18 days of the Egyptian revolution through the media (videos, photos, tweets and other electronic media) generated by those there. The context for the contributed media will be crowdsourced by the project's community.

"Follow Back," Brigitte Dale & Robbie Wilkins (U.S.A.)

When Jane stumbles upon her estranged father’s Facebook page, she and her boyfriend Mark decide to embark on a road trip to anonymously catch a glimpse of her father and his new family. During this fictional, interactive experience, “Jane” and “Mark” will share their journey in real-time via social media, eventually culminating in a feature film that explores the modern dilemma of having your past be ever present.

"Kill Shakespeare," Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery (Canada)

In a world where Shakespeare’s characters struggle for freedom, Hamlet struggles to rally a group of the Bard’s greatest heroes to battle the evil forces of Shakespeare’s most frightening villains. Based on the comic series by Del Col & McCreery, "Kill Shakespeare" is being developed as a feature film, a game, and a theatre experience.

"The Last Hijack," Tommy Pallotta & Femke Wolting (Netherlands)

The failed nation-state of Somalia has become one of the poorest and most dangerous countries on earth. With their traditional fishing livelihoods blighted by drought, chronic corruption, and the pillaging of their seas by foreign vessels, Somalia has become a breeding ground for hijacking and extortion by a new band of sea rovers. "The Last Hijack" is a feature documentary and interactive online experience that uses film and animation to tell the story of these men that took matters into their own hands, landing million dollar bounties with each heist.

"Question Bridge: Black Males," Chris Johnson & Hank Willis Thomas (U.S.A.)

"Question Bridge: Black Males" is a transmedia art project that seeks to represent and redefine Black male identity in America. Through video mediated question and answer exchange, diverse members of this “demographic” bridge economic, political, geographic, and generational divisions.

"Rome," Chris Milk (U.S.A.)

Originally a concept album for a film that does not (yet) exist, "Rome" is a multiplatform interactive narrative experience inspired by the music produced by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi (featuring Jack White, Norah Jones, and Ennio Morricone’s original 40 piece orchestra from Italy). The project will culminate in a feature film produced by Likely Story and Annapurna Pictures and adapted from the novel “The Reapers are the Angels” which will tie all the threads together in one cohesive narrative.

This article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit