Brent performing his shorts at The Kitchen in 2008One thing that seemed to keep creeping into the conversations of filmmakers during our time in Houston was the new trend toward live cinematic presentations. Filmmaker Esther Robinson seems to think that since filmmaking has become so accessible that this trend toward live film performance is a new way to push creativity in film, allowing an added variable to a medium that has saturated our culture through things like youtube and digitization. Esther is also interested in performing arts so she believes the live experience and the active presence of an audience (which after seeing the drastic changes in our live shows that often play off of the feeling of the crowd I completely understand) is something that people want more of in our isolated, passive film watching experience.
Other people seem to think the live film screenings are a way to combat the increasing loss of money from illegal downloading & the sudden lack of indie film support caused by the economic landslide. Filmmakers are getting paid to be present at live shows, live screenings (like concerts) are becoming a new viable way to be an independent film maker. But, the angle that interests me the most is editing...
Sam Green performing Utopia (photo from his site via Indiewire)
I don't know why but I am completely fascinated by the way that live film performance is like an onscreen editing process. Brent is constantly changing his narration, or changing the pacing of his narration, throughout our live screenings of Gravity and our improvised soundtrack is never, ever the same. Sam Green and his Utopia in Four Movements is a film made on a computer presentation software (like Powerpoint)- he is actually advancing slides and film clips on stage, editing right in front of us, in addition to his live slightly altered lecture-style narration. Even experimental filmmakers, like Martha Colburn, who play film reels and alter the speed and color live are editing what you are seeing right in front of your eyes and even adding a live on-the-spot soundtrack!
Martha Colburn performing (photo from her flickr page)
The immediacy of performing and editing a film live is really amazing. It shows the true skill that is involved in the filmmakers ability to control their unique style and present their vision of the world. I think live cinema is a new movement that has come about for a lot of reasons but mostly I see it as a way for filmmakers to be more active and present in their craft, an urgency and energy that channels the way we live today but into a more humanized connectivity, a real 3D connection in a sea of 3D glasses! Now, what to name this live film movement...? And who will write the manifesto? JkJk, please don't write a manifesto....!