Macon Film Festival expands and kicks off new Fulldome component with M.O.D.E. August 16

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The Macon Film Festival will open Thursday, August 16, with a unique musical optical dome experience (M.O.D.E.) at the Museum of Arts and Sciences. Following opening night, 32 fulldome films from 13 countries will screen there during the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, competing for the first ever Fulldome at Macon Film Festival awards.

The evening will feature the world premiere of “Sonolumin,” a stop-frame animated 360° fulldome film exploring the relationship of light, sound, and space, by Diana Reichenbach, set to live music performed by composer and percussionist Thad Anderson. The MAS and the Knight Foundation commissioned this work to serve as an example of how artists can collaborate to create new immersive forms of artwork for a full dome venue.

Diana Reichenbach is a multimedia artist specializing in immersive and architectural media, and a Professor of Animation at Savannah College of Art and Design. She has created a number of full dome artistic film experiences and her work has been screened in numerous international festivals and venues. Through her conceptual multimedia installations and films, Reichenbach uses animation and sound to immerse audiences in time-based progressions of shifting color, form, texture, and movement.

“Macon’s fulldome festival differs from other fulldome festivals and screenings in that it is one of the first to run simultaneously with a traditional film festival. This is unique in that it allows opportunity for filmmakers working in traditional formats and in virtual reality (a category new to a lot of films festivals), exposure to the fulldome medium, which can help bolster the amount of fulldome films being made,” said Reichenbach. “We will be screening a large amount of artistic fulldome content alongside the traditional science related films being produced for fulldome. The medium has a lot of potential artistically, because similar to VR, it expands into a different language of storytelling and can create a very immersive and communal experience.”

About her second year of fulldome involvement with the Macon Film Festival, Reichenbach said, “I am excited to be involved with the film festival because it is a larger platform to push the medium to filmmakers and give them access to the tools they need. Filmmakers will have an opportunity to see films from around the world, in Macon, Georgia, that have no other venue to screen for hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles. There will also be two workshops offered by jurors and fulldome artists/enthusiasts Sean Caruso and Ben Gondrez for filmmakers to get started in the basics of fulldome filmmaking. As more artists get involved in the medium, we might see more fulldome exhibits added to other film festivals.”

The 2018 Fulldome at Macon Film Festival’s juried competition has attracted filmmakers from across the world and will culminate in a four-day event of screenings, workshops and awards sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“The Museum’s state-of-the-art planetarium was renovated in 2012 and now is an extraordinary technological asset for the state of Georgia,” said MAS Executive Director Susan Welsh. “Building upon our unique art-infused science focus, we see great opportunity to expand the successful science programming delivered in the planetarium to include unique immersive artistic multimedia experiences for visitors.”

“The support of the Knight Foundation has allowed us to develop something not only dynamic for Macon but also that could be replicated by other cities,” said Welsh. “Typically, fulldome film festivals are aligned with science conferences and primarily screen educational content. By partnering with Macon Film Festival, the MAS is welcoming a new sector of artistic professionals into a space often reserved for the teaching of science. While there are few if any festivals like ours in the US, we’re among a supportive international community of planetarium professionals and organizations dedicated to promoting and expanding the production of full dome presentations. We’re bringing several extraordinarily talented experts from the industry to Macon to lead workshops and screen the very best immersive artwork available in the world. We hope to model partnership at a level that will inspire other science centers to allow artists greater access to their planetariums, also.”

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