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Guest Blog: Innovations in Social Storytelling
Guest Blog: Innovations in Social Storytelling
Guest Blog: Innovations in Social Storytelling

Guest Blog: Innovations in Social Storytelling

Luis Servera is an emerging filmmaker and was selected as one of the 2015 SFF Ignite Fellows. He attended the special one-day Film Forward event at the Jacob Burns Film Center.

On March 8th, 2015, Sundance Institute and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities hosted a presentation and workshop with 1979 Revolution creator and video game designer Navid Khonsari and executive producer Vassiliki Khonsari to discuss new mediums for impactful social storytelling. 

The presentation and workshop turned out to be really awesome. Navid and Vassiliki took their video game and documentary filmmaking background to create 1979 Revolution the video game. What stood out to me during the presentation was how they described using the gaming platform not as a traditional “game,” but a tool to drive storytelling. As a budding filmmaker this theory really resonated with me. Today’s technology allows for different avenues of storytelling and different audiences. It doesn’t have to be purely cinema. 

Another element I found fascinating from the presentation was the targeted distribution and length for 1979 Revolution. The creators aim to distribute seasons via Apple iOS, Android, Steam, and outlets for gaming download. Each episode in a season will be about 2 hours long. 

My biggest gripe against games these days is that it is a huge investment of time. 40 plus hours to beat a game is something that I can’t commit to, especially when the focus isn't so much about storytelling but more about gameplay. 1979 Revolution seem to have found a balance between time and storytelling. With a real life engaging story and the convenience of using tablets and mobile devices, the game has definitely caught my attention and found a future buyer. 

After the presentation, Navid and Vassiliki led a workshop where participants created a scenario for their own game simply by looking at a photograph and creating a story around it. The exercise was really fun and reinforced the idea that gameplay and character development can really lead to impactful and even social storytelling. The workshop really changed my perception of videos games. The platform allows for an endless amount of possibilities to tell stories in ways that hasn't been explored yet. 1979 Revolution may be the platform revolution that both gamers and storytellers have been waiting for.

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