Sundance Institute Selects Six Creative Teams and Projects for New Frontier Story Lab

Sundance Institute today announced the six projects selected for the New Frontier Story Lab that will take place from October 21-26 at the Sundance Resort in Utah. Inspired by New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival and built on The Sundance Institute Lab model, the Lab is supporting projects that use technology to deepen story and engage audiences.

The projects, a mix of fiction, non-fiction and hybrid, are: Gregory Bayne and Cory McAbee’s The Great American Funeral, a collaborative film and music project; Yung Jake and Vince McKelvie’s Kickstarder, which uses audience participation to guide the narrative progression of the project; Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar’s Reinvention Stories, which combines radio, documentary cinema and online interactive storytelling; Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn’s The Silent History, a serialized novel written and designed specifically for the iPhone and iPad; Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons’ Touch, a first-person interactive documentary designed for tablet devices; and Roger Ross Williams and Woo Jung Cho’s Traveling While Black, which combines collaborative storytelling, digital cultural mapping and a role-playing interactive game.

The New Frontier Story Lab is an intensive, residential retreat focused on creative support, which includes individualized story sessions, conversations about key artistic, design and technology issues, and case study presentations. Drawing talent and expertise from all of Sundance Institute’s creative programs, including Feature Film, Documentary Film, and the Sundance Film Festival, the Lab has been planned under the supervision of Michelle Satter, Founding Director of The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.

Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute, said, “The lines between previously distinct forms of personal expression are blurring at an ever-accelerating pace with the hybrid of art and technology, and as artists drive this evolution, we continue to look for new ways to support and advance their work. The New Frontier Story Lab is a rare opportunity for these artists to explore their concepts and consider the impact they may have on how stories are experienced in the future.”

Satter said, “Our establishment of the New Frontier Story Lab last year was a significant milestone. Supporting projects that are immersive, interactive and tell stories across multiple platforms is one of the ways that we are providing new opportunities for audiences. The guidance of our Creative Advisors is particularly critical, as it brings together experts from diverse disciplines, all of whom share a unique understanding of the importance of story in art, film, gaming and new media.”

Creative Advisors for the New Frontier Story Lab include Mark Bomback (Writer, Unstoppable, Live Free or Die Hard), Susan Bonds (President/CEO, 42 Entertainment), Dana Dansereau (Interactive Producer, National Film Board), Kirby Dick (Director, The Invisible War, This Film is Not Yet Rated), Nick Fortugno (CCO/Co-Founder, Playmatics), Nelson George (Writer/Director, Life Support, Brooklyn Boheme), Aaron Koblin (Artist /Creative Director, Google), Bret McKenzie (Actor/Comedian/Musician, Flight of the Conchords, The Muppets: 2012 Academy Award for Original Song), Kara Oehler (Editor in Chief/Co-Founder, Zeega), Noland Walker (Executive Editor, Localore, AIR), Lance Weiler (Co-founder, Reboot Stories) and William Wheeler (Writer, The Hoax, The Reluctant Fundamentalist).

Projects supported at the inaugural New Frontier Story Lab in 2011 include Rome, a multiplatform interactive narrative experience from Director/Creator Chris Milk, inspired by the music produced by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi; Question Bridge: Black Males, a transmedia art project that seeks to represent and redefine Black male identity in America, which premiered in the New Frontier exhibition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; and Jigar Mehta and Yasmin Elayat’s interactive documentary project 18 Days in Egypt, telling the story of the first 18 days of the Egyptian revolution through crowd-sourced media.

The creative teams and projects selected for the 2012 New Frontier Story Lab are:

The Great American Funeral

Gregory Bayne & Cory McAbee


Reflecting the global collaboration that fuels its production, The Great American Funeral takes us on the 1,654-mile journey that carried the body of President Abraham Lincoln from Washington D.C. to its final resting place in Springfield, Ill. This procession, meant to reunite our war-torn nation, quickly becomes fraught with trouble as the soldiers and embalming surgeons tasked with this quest find themselves soon battling the elements, the press, a weary public and each other as they endeavor to keep the President’s remains intact.

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