Cannes, Tribeca, Sundance … Machinima Fest

U of U students' animated short films, video game demos, machinima to be showcased on May 3 EAE Day

April 28, 2011 — In the grand tradition of “This is Spinal Tap,” “Borat,” and “The Office,” a new mockumentary is about to make its world premier. On Tuesday May 3, “Yesterday’s Video Game Heroes,” directed, produced and created by University of Utah students, will compete at Machinima Fest 2011, the fifth annual film festival designed to showcase projects from the Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) program.

The event will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Dumke Auditorium of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and is part of a day-long exhibit of students’ work from different areas of the program.

Machinima is the art of creating a movie using 3-D computer graphics. “Yesterday’s Video Game Heroes” is one of a dozen films in the same format that will compete for awards that day, including Best of the Fest and Audience’s Choice. The movie (a mock documentary) follows our favorite video game characters, like Mario, Luigi and Master Chef, in a type of “where are they now” tell-all. Judging the films will be a jury made up of video game industry professionals and computer science and film faculty.

Other movies in Machinima Fest include a film noir piece (“Drastic Contrast”), in which the main character’s attempts to solve a string of murders is complicated by his own brother’s death; a Spanish-language soap opera (“Basura Blanca”); a thriller (“Exit Interview”) that depicts interviews between a law-enforcement agent and serial killer; and two films that address what it means to live in reality – “Eden,” set in a dystopian future where people escape into virtual reality with dire consequences, and “Artie,” which tells of a custodian in Nevada’s Area 51 whose memory is wiped clean on a daily basis by the U.S. government until the man responsible for the daily act decides to help Artie get a puppy and live a normal life.

The film festival is part of a whole day showcasing work by students in EAE. Below is a schedule of the day’s events. All are free and open to the public:

  • Animated Shorts – 11 a.m. – noon
    Post Theatre, 245 Fort Douglas Blvd.

    The showing of selected animated short films from three undergraduate animation classes. Still shots of some of the films are available at
    http://eae.utah.edu/?page_id=574
  • Capstone Demonstrations – 1-3 p.m.
    Room L130, Warnock Engineering Building, 72 Central Campus Drive

    Students will demonstrate the video game and modeling projects they have developed as capstones to their coursework in video game development and computer science classes. Three teams from XBOX Live Indie Games and EAE Master Games Studio teams will show projects titled, “Forever Hunted,” “The Last Podfighter,” “Mr. Gravity,” “Tilt’s Robot Pinball Attack,” and “Minions!” Screen shots for these projects, and full descriptions of the teams and games, are available at http://eae.utah.edu/?page_id=403
  • Machinima Fest – 3:30-5 p.m.
    Dumke Auditorium, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

    John and Marcia Price Building, 410 Campus Center Drive

    A full description and still shots from the films are available at http://eae.utah.edu/?page_id=424