When it comes to 3-D films, says Eric Kurland of the Los Angeles 3-D Club (SCSC), “There's a certain audience expectation–people expect things to pop out at you.” Those expectations are likely to be subverted at SCSC's 7th annual LA 3-D Movie Festival, a 12-hour movie marathon taking place this Saturday at the Downtown Independent theater.

The fest is designed to showcase new 3-D work happening independently of Hollywood–shorts made by small European companies, or by individual filmmakers who embrace what Kurland refers to as 3-DIY, often involving off the shelf consumer equipment. “People get a pair of cameras, put them together, and create their own production pipeline,” he says.

As a 3-D consultant, Kurland works with filmmakers to demystify the process. “3-D is really just a matter of creating an image for your left eye and an image for your right eye that are slightly different points of view, so that when they're viewed together, the brain interprets it as depth.”

Though YouTube has a 3-D player in beta release, SCSC's events are one of the only public showcases for indie 3-D films. And while the studios are pretty much only applying 3-D to action flicks and animation, the Festival program encompasses all genres. “Documentary footage, some narratives, drama, comedy, romance–a lot of experimentation,” Kurland says.

“A lot of this stuff the studios aren't considering, because they see 3-D as a genre tool. But the key to telling a good story in 3-D is to tell a good story. We're just starting to see filmmakers learning how this language is used.”

Tomorrow's program will include two programs of shorts, leading up to the Festival centerpiece, the 3-D theatrical premiere of Dark Country (pictured above) a low-budget stereoscopic noir feature directed by actor Thomas Jane. For tickets and more info, check out LA3Dfest.com and the Downtown Independent site.

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