Mar. 13, 2013 - Issue #908: In Your Face
Embracing the third dimension
Second annual FAVA Fest showcases all things 3D
3D film, when used effectively, can become another vehicle to tell a story and provide a whole new sensory dimension to cinema. Its prevalence has been seeping into big-budget blockbusters from Alice in Wonderland to Avatar, and while it seems like the wave of the future, the truth is, 3D has been around in some form since the early 20th century—and now it's FAVA's turn to break out the glasses and show what the independent film community can do with it as part of its second annual FAVA Fest.
"It has a niche where some films it compliments, and others it doesn't," Fava's interim executive director Dave Cunningham notes. "Our job is to let people do what they want to do here, so if there's a big group of people here who want to do 3D, we need to make that happen."
This year's red carpet is rolling out to showcase more than 30 films from across Northern Alberta and beyond, along with a 3D trade show, equipment demonstrations, an artist talk and FAVA Gala, where $20 000 worth of awards will be handed out in nine different categories to further the production of independent film.
Among this group of 3D enthusiasts is FAVA board president Dylan Pearce, who recently shot his first 3D short, The Babysitter, a story of two girls whose older cousin comes over to babysit and takes them on a journey through various fantastical worlds. For Pearce, utilizing 3D was a matter of enhancing the story without detracting from it, and knowing when to push or ease off the effects to differentiate the worlds. The film also proved to be an intriguing exercise in the technical components of filmmaking for himself as well as his crew, which included fellow FAVA members Wes Miron and Andrew Schultz.
"Lighting was completely backwards because you didn't have to light to create your depth because everything was already there; you had to light to help motivate it and just establish things, so on the technical side it was an interesting little experiment," notes Pearce, who is curating a presentation of 3D shorts at this year's festival.
As with integrating any form of technology into a familiar practice, Pearce notes 3D may very well remain a niche component of film, but it could also catch on as more filmmakers begin to use the tool and realize its capabilities beyond a novelty.
"For me as a director it's just another tool ... it's been tough because there's been so many bad 3D films that have come out that have tarnished the idea of what 3D is," Pearce says, adding numerous major studios have used 3D as a money-grab. "But people forget that when colour, when sound, even when HD, CG, all that stuff, when it first started to come out it was just exploited to the max and then it hit a peak and started to go away. That's when the people who are really passionate about it get involved and push the art form of it forward and that's what allows it to have a life."
When 3D is applied in a way that isn't gratuitous and is used to enhance the film and its concept, Pearce believes it can allow for a more immersive viewing experience, musing that it's all part of furthering technology, speculating that down the line, viewing TV or films will be an entirely different experience all together.
"What I'm trying to do is make people aware of what you can do as a storyteller with using that as another tool," Pearce notes. "So right now on the local scene, it's kind of just hitting the cusp. People are just getting interested and getting away from the idea that it's just a gimmick—kind of."
In addition to showcasing 3D film and its place in the industry, FAVA Fest and its events are also crucial in assisting the community at large further recognize what FAVA is, its contributions and the level of talent that exists within the co-op.
"I think one of our problems at FAVA has been that the community doesn't necessarily see us, and our members are busy doing what they do, so they're not necessarily thinking about the community either," Cunningham notes, noting that in the last year FAVA's sponsored approximately 436 projects within the community through sister societies and co-ops, with plans to continue branching out into other facets of media, such as FAVA TV, which will increase FAVA's online presence through downloading or streaming projects. "If you come to the gala you'll see the faces of people who are making films in the community. In particular, you'll see the faces of people who make independent work."
These independent voices, Cunningham notes, are in need of support, particularly from their communities. All too often, they can be brushed aside in favour of big-budget projects, which may or may not carry a great deal of artistic merit, but already have the clout behind them to get attention.
"The problem with us is we don't see ourselves uniquely different enough from our neighbours to the south and people are watching drivel from the United States and supporting that and overlooking the stuff that's coming out of Canada, and Alberta certainly," he adds. "Those films have budgets that are 30 times the budget of the entire co-op, so we can't compete against money, but we can certainly compete with ideas and verve and execution—and we do."
Mon, Mar 18 – Sat, Mar 23
FAVA Fest 3D:
Film and Video Arts Festival
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