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For two days this week, the world-famous Mann Chinese Theatre in Hollywood will be hosting AFI DIGIFEST, a veritable smorsgabord of new media and cross-platform experiments and productions in storytelling and audience engagement. You might still be able to snag a seat at this great peek in to the near future of content creation and interactive entertainment (see link at bottom of this post).

I’ve been supporting the AFI’s Digital Content Lab for the past 10 or so years, and for good reason: This is where Apple’s Quicktime technology was launched, and the Lab was winner of last year’s technical achievement award at the Machinima festival, responsible for the deployment of such groundbreaking tech as the mobile interactive apps for WARPED, the Planet Illogica digital artist support network, and the development of the Federally supported ITVS initiative (funding a wide swath of indie films), among others.

Right now, the Lab is working on a variety of very interesting projects with groups including The Leonardo diCaprio Foundation, DavidLynch.com, and the whole team that created “Africa Diary” (led by LM Kit Carson). These projects, and more, will be showcased at this year’s DigiFest.

Some highlights to be seen at DigiFest 2009:

  • a social network and proposed marketing plan for INTERVIEW PROJECT PRESENTED BY DAVIDLYNCH.COM;
  • a proposed online strategy for engaging youth in a series of relevant environmental action challenges for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation;
  • a mobile application that provide an interactive past-to-future timeline for an innovative ITVS cross-platform micro-series;
  • an interactive mentoring environment for One Economy that encourages students from low-income families to learn more about science as a career;
  • a MOBILE STORY MAKER session with longtime filmmaker L.M. Kit Carson, who shot the deeply moving micro-series AFRICA DIARY using a Nokia mobile phone as camera. The series will soon air on the Sundance Channel.
  • 2012, dramatic visual effects demonstrated by Digital Domain;
  • DISTRICT 9, a behind-the scenes look at games and an augmented reality application created by production house Trigger;
  • LIVE MUSIC, a 3D animation pieced together from contributions by thousands of animators from around the world, masterminded by Mass Animation’s Yair Landau, former vice-chair of Sony Pictures;
  • URBAN WOLF, a surveillance camera-based micro-series drama by Parisian director Laurent Touil Tartour;
  • ESCAPE FROM CITY 17, an adept meld of machinima and live action created by the multi-talented Purchase Brothers for less than $500;
  • MANOBI, an innovative mobile phone application that has helped raise the standard of living for Senegalese farmers and fishermen;
  • FIRST THINGS LAST, a dynamic and visual storytelling application for the iPhone created by ScrollMotion;
  • NAKED SKY ENTERTAINMENT, a surprising look at what our collective augmented reality future may look like a year from now;
  • THE CORNER: 23RD AND UNION, an evocative sound, image, phone, web, and public installation created as part of Maker’s Quest;
  • ROUTES, a documentary, narrative thriller, and game about genetics for Britain’s Channel 4 that attracted more than 2 million gameplays;
  • MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY, a restoration of Jacques Tati’s 1953 whimsical tale presented by my old company Thomson.

Here is the link to register, but hurry, as space is limited.

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