3D Film Festival Seeks to Answer: Is 3D a Fad or the Future?
Flickr/DraXus

3D Film Festival Seeks to Answer: Is 3D a Fad or the Future?

While you were clicking hours away on your View-Master as a child, Christopher Crescitelli

was heralding the future.

"I was one of those weird kids, who, in the fifth grade, started making 3D imagery with my crayons and colored markers," he says. "People nicknamed me the 3D kid."

Unfortunately, not all childhood oddities and cruel name-calling can be vindicated later in adult life -- just ask that-kid-who-ate-glue in arts and crafts. Crescitelli is one of the lucky ones. Today, he is the Chief Creative Officer of Dream Factory Studio, a 3D production company that has worked with clients such as Dreamworks, Miramax and Walt Disney Pictures. He also founded the 3D Film Festival, which, starting today, showcases filmmakers and content creators who champion stereoscopic technology in their works.

"I was living in L.A. for many years and I moved to San Francisco so that I could work with some of the folks who were connected to the George Lucas camp," Crescitelli muses. "I was very fortunate to be exposed to the technology, including 3D TV, more than eight years ago in the research lab. I was getting a sneak peak into the future. I was making 3D content and I had friends who were making 3D content, but we had nowhere to show our films."

Thomas Jane, host of last year's 3D Film Festival
Thomas Jane, host of last year's 3D Film Festival
Justin Wagner

He orchestrated a solution in October 2008, when the first 3DFF took place in the AMC Theaters at Walt Disney World. About 3,000 people attended the RealD-sponsored program. This year, the festival is expecting a turnout of about 25,000 at L.A. Live's Regal Cinemas, with additional activities taking place at five smaller venues.

Fourteen features and forty shorts are slated to screen including Crescitelli's Leviticus, a ten-minute short that deals with the sensitive subject of gay suicide.

Such a serious theme is not what one associates with 3D, which still threads a line between gimmick and future. Acclaimed film editor and sound designer Walter Murdoch, known for his work in The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, wrote to Roger Ebert about the subject two years ago. "So: dark, small, stroby, headache inducing, alienating. And expensive," he says. "How long will it take people to realize and get fed up?"

3D Film Festival Seeks to Answer: Is 3D a Fad or the Future?
Flickr/ Clearlight

On the defense, James Cameron predicted, in a keynote at last year's National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, that "everything will be produced in 3D and 2D versions will be extracted from that."

What does the 3D kid have to say about such a strong statement? "I believe that far enough in the future, that would be true, only because you will want to have your content available in all formats," says Crescitelli. "You would be foolish not to make your film in 3D and reach all those additional eyeballs and distribution opportunity."

He adds, "One of the reasons why we do our program and one of the reasons why this year features a panel called '3D Everywhere' is because we are tackling the naysayers who would try to have the consumers think that 3D is a fad. We are here collectively to say as individuals, as filmmakers, and as companies that 3D is growing, reaching out to all media platforms."

While no one can argue that 3D isn't presently everywhere, the real question is, how long will that be the case? The process might have to get easier first. Baz Luhrmann's 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been delayed from its original December release to what is looking to be the summer of 2013. The Los Angeles Times reported that a source close to the director said that "finishing the movie's 3D effects in time for Christmas would have been very difficult for the meticulous [director]." Will the extra half-year wait be worth it? Crescitelli's festival may be a promising sign for the future of 3D, but like the anticipated Luhrmann production, we just have to wait and see.

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