Hawaii Film Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

"Final Fantasy": The Film Movement

Alex Chan's "French Democracy"

Business Week
recently wrote about a new technique in film in which amateur filmmakers repurpose video game animation to create their own narrative films. "Machinima" is, according to
machinima.com, "a new form of filmmaking that uses computer games technology to shoot films in the virtual reality of a game engine. Rather than picking up expensive camera equipment, or spending months painstakingly tweaking even more expensive 3D packages, Machinima creators act out their movies within a computer game. We treat the viewpoint the game gives them as a camera - “Shooting Film in a Virtual Reality”, as we've been known to put it in their more slogan-high moments – and record and edit that viewpoint into any film we can imagine."

Machinima started out as an underground/fringe artform, but has been brought into the public eye recently by a film called "
French Democracy" about the recent recent riots in France. Business Week reported that the film's creator, Alex Chan, wanted to "make a public statement to counteract what he saw as inaccurate news coverage linking the French riots to Islamic fundamentalism. In his view, racism and mistreatment of minorities were the key reasons for the violence. Born in Paris to Chinese immigrant parents, Chan felt he brought an unusual perspective to the situation." Also making the rounds lately is "I Got My Gmail," a silly machinima short that thanks Google for so generously hosting our huge gmail accounts.

Machinima is admittedly not yet at the level of "Final Fantasy" (which was created in Hawaii) , but it does offer a cheap way for cash-poor artists to express themselves, and is another chapter in the convergence of narrative filmmaking and video game development.

Video Games Go To The Movies [Business Week via HawaiiChannel.com, 12/19/05]

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