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Film Festival to immerse filmgoers in technology
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Film Festival to immerse filmgoers in technology

Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is bullied by video game guards moments after entering the electronic fantasy world of "TRON," a Walt Disney Production.

Staff Report

Cinematic "TechnoVisions," replete with beauties and beasts, high-tech feats and low-tech ingenuity, await festival-goers at the 12th annual Virginia Film Festival Oct. 21-24.

Film Festival logoThis year's festival, "TechnoVisions," will feature more than 60 films, dozens of videos, CD-ROMS, specialty simulation rides, art installations, discussions, parties and demonstrations of the new high- and low-tech art forms. "We're planning a cinematic and artistic happening, a technological carnival for all ages," said festival director Richard Herskowitz.

Actress Sigourney Weaver headlines the festival's opening night tribute to creature effects legend Stan Winston on Oct. 21. Winner of four Academy Awards, Winston, a U.Va. alumnus, will receive the Virginia Film Award for his work as film's foremost practitioner of creature and makeup effects. The "Terminator," the extra-terrestrial monstrosities of "Aliens," the dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park," and the character, "Edward Scissorhands," are a few of his creations.

Following a reception at the Bayly Art Museum, the opening night gala will feature a screening of "Aliens," with Weaver, who earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in the film. Winston will present highlights of his work, including clips from Dreamworks' upcoming "Galaxy Quest," also starring Weaver.

Richard Dreyfuss
Richard Dreyfuss is being asked to describe the extraordinary experience that has changed his life in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," a Columbia Pictures film directed by Stephen Spielberg.

A retrospective series of Winston films will be screened throughout the festival. They include: "Pumpkinhead," "Terminator," "Terminator 2," "Edward Scissorhands," "Predator," "Jurassic Park," and "Interview with a Vampire."

Oct. 22, Weaver will present her new film, "A Map of the World," and conduct a dialogue with actors in U.Va.'s Drama Department. The festival will devote two days, Oct. 21-22, to "Reveling in Technology: Film as Immersive Experience." Audiences will be able to experience the first cinematic thrill ride of Louis Lumiere's "Train Entering a Station" (1896), as the festival highlights the powerful film images of trains that still endure today. The festival will also feature a recreation of Alfred Hitchcock's 3-D thriller, "Dial M for Murder," multi-screen presentations of video artist Daniel Reeves' "Try to Live to See This," Warhol's "Outer and Inner Space," and performances by New York-based new-media artists Kevin and Jen McCoy and Zoe Beloff.

The festival will devote its final two days, Oct. 23-24, to "Jamming the Technology," the low-tech search for more affordable and accessible media production tools -- 8mm film and Pixelvision, home computer and desktop editing programs, and hand-processed films. This new movement, known as jamming, encourages film producers to access mainstream and mass media, expropriate it, re-edit it and subvert it for their own purposes.

In addition, the festival will present "Audiovisions: Computer Music Videos" by the Virginia Center for Computer Music, based at U.Va., and two sensory film shockers from the 1950s, "The Tingler," and the Smell-O-Vision film, "Polyster."

Festival demonstrations and exhibits will include:

  • the Maxflight Simulator, a virtual roller coaster, available for rides at the Regal Cinema
  • IFC Broadband net communications, exhibited by Adelphia Powerlink, featuring a panel on the future of broadband delivery
  • Kesmai's new online game, "Aliens"
  • stereoscopic photography at Dream's Light Gallery
  • media installations throughout Charlottesville and at the Bayly
  • CD-ROMs at the Robertson Media Center in Clemons Library
  • low-tech editing tools used by high school students of the Light House Summer '99 program to be displayed and demonstrated by the students in the Downtown Artspace.

Through discussions and presentations, formal and informal, filmmakers, directors, scholars, actors, screenwriters and composers -- in all more than 50 speakers -- will focus for four days on the new developments in world cinema that make film an increasingly rich sensory experience.

Johnny Twennies, portrayed by actor Gibson Frazier, stars in "Man of the Century," a 1999 Fine Line Features release, directed by Adam Abraham. photo: M. Jensen Lost films, dug out of the frozen earth, await preservation in "Keepers of the Frame," a WinStar Cinema film. photo: William O'Farrell/National Archives of Canada A snow monkey filmed on Mt. Fuji, Japan. Shot in 70mm in 24 countries, "Baraka" tells the story of earth's evolution, of man's interdependence, and his impact on the world he inhabits. The 1993 Samuel Goldwyn release is a Mark Magidson production of a Ron Fricke film.





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