As we wrapped up our first-ever New Frontier Story Lab at the Sundance Resort in Utah, we took a few minutes to check in with 10 guests as they checked out on their way home. Our fifth interview is with Kristin Feeley, Associate Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, which collaborated with the Feature Film Program to present the lab itself.
1. Do you know what transmedia is?
A week ago I thought transmedia and “multi-platform” were synonymous. Now, I know that I had no idea. Right now, I would call a project transmedia if it’s a story that can be experienced through numerous digital (and real life) portals. The exciting thing is that the definition will keep changing as makers and audiences evolve the possibilities for how stories are told.
2. Using only one word, how would you describe it?
I’ll give you two: The Future.
3. Which is more important? Storytelling or technology? You can only pick one.
Says who? I bet you’d never say that to Chris Milk!
4. What do you do? What’s your passion?
I work in the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. So yes, I love documentaries. Without sounding too cheesy, I’m passionate about people who choose to dedicate themselves to telling stories they believe in, which can change the way we see the world. Seeing people’s commitment to doing good work makes me less cynical.
5. What transmedia website, article, project or person are you really excited about right now?
Right now, I’m excited about the six projects that just came to the lab. I can’t wait to see where they’ll be in a few months.
6. Why do you think it’s taken so long for transmedia to be taken seriously?
Taken seriously by the industry? Right now there is a real tension between sections of the industry who conflate transmedia with marketing for a main attraction. There are other sectors that see it as a new, emerging form of storytelling that needs to be explored and developed.
7. Who or what first helped you understand it? When did you hear about it for the first time?
Shari Frilot and Lance Weiler. Every year, the New Frontier exhibition space has existed at Sundance has evolved and deepened my understanding of transmedia. If there was a first time I “got it” it was hearing Lance Weiler talk at a tech conference in San Francisco a few years ago.
8. Have you been to the Owl Bar on this trip?
Of course! Some of the best moments of the lab (any lab) happen there.
9. What piece of technology could you simply not give up right now?
My Blackberry, but I think there’s a support group for that.
10. What was the most exciting thing that happened to you at the first-ever New Frontier Lab?
There wasn’t one specific moment. Every day, every presentation felt like something new and exciting. Nick Fortugno’s presentation made me excited about gaming as a beautiful expression of human potential. It was amazing to hear the Screenwriter Advisors excited about ways they could embrace transmedia.
Working with a project at the Lab who was exploring the question “Do I need to make a feature film?" was exciting and a little frightening. Knowing that people like Susan Bond and Aaron Koblin exist and dedicate their immense creativity and intelligence to this form of storytelling is beyond exciting.