For the latest Gamasutra feature
, we present our coverage of the second annual Machinima Festival, including panel reports, the winners of the 2006 Mackie Awards, and interviews with two of the most recognized practitioners of the form: This Spartan Life's Chris Burke, and Trash Talk's Matt Dominianni.
The art of machinima -- the use of game engines to create low-budget and easily created cinematic or video results -- has seen a surge in mainstream exposure over the past year, most recently South Park's “Make Love, Not Warcraft” episode, partially animated using machinima.
As author Raina Lee explains in her intro, the second festival brought together a wide variety of attendees and raised some important issues regarding the medium:
"The two-day festival featured panels and workshops on the state and future of machinima, and screenings of the festival entries. Panel topics covered rendering technologies, legal and copyright issues, and artistic content. Special events included a live machinima improv with the Ill Clan, developer workshops, and the Mackies awards ceremony simulcast in Second Life.
The event attracted machinima makers (or 'machinimakers') from around the world. Most are artists, filmmakers, activists, or gamers, or any combination of the above. While many fell into machinima out of necessity, today some are using machinima for its particular game aesthetic, as well as combining it with traditional filmmaking and animation. With in-game software and support from Linden, machinima making is becoming more popular in Second Life as well.
While most machinima works have a reputation of being gamer fan videos and gag humor, the festival's films hoped to challenge that notion, with content spanning fiction, reenactments, talk shows, political advocacy, and experimental pieces."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject
, including more on the legal and political issues surrounding machinima, and what it's like to interview a countercultural icon in Blood Gulch (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).