Silver Lake Film Festival: MP4-Fest

The Puddle Video

Among its diverse programs this year, the Silver Lake Film Festival includes MP4-Fest, which tackles issues around technology in four related events. In “Machinima!,” curators Philip DeBevoise and Paul Marino present an overview of video projects whose creators use the engines from various video games to create new stories, or give existing game characters new dialogue. (The term “machinima” refers to “machine cinema.”) German artist Friedrich Kirschner pushes beyond the form’s blocky 3-D animated aesthetic to craft a haunting story about the denizens of a future city in his three-part Person 2184, a lovely piece that boasts a look somewhere between photography and drawing, and a setting that provokes thought about the intersection of everyday life and technology. The second program, titled “Technologized Bodies/Embodied Technologies” and curated by Dave Burns and Legier Biederman, offers a series of challenging and intriguing video shorts that refute the claim that human bodies don’t matter in cyber-culture. In Megan Michalak’s lovely short Nightshade,a woman dangles in a room where gravity seems out of whack, floating about in her nightgown, surrounded by striped, flowery wallpaper. Michalak captures a sense of confinement and weightlessness, and poetically illustrates how we adapt to a world not quite suited to our needs. Jennifer Porter’s The Puddle Video is also oddly fascinating, showing us a landscape, a puddle and a woman, and what happens to all three. This minifestival also includes a gallery show titled “Open Architecture” at LACE, featuring even more digital media. Taken together, MP4-Fest’s programs stretch beyond traditional film, giving viewers an expanded — and welcome — sense of cinematic possibility. (“Machinima!”: ArcLight, Sun., March 26, 8 p.m. “Technologized Bodies/Embodied Technologies”: ArcLight; Sun., March 26, 7:15 p.m. “Open Architecture”: LACE, Sat., March 25, 8 p.m.)

—Holly Willis

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