Sundance for Machinima


The 2006 Machinima Festival opens next weekend in New York City’s historic Museum of the Moving image, showcasing the year’s best and brightest in the innovative field of in-game cinema.

What began as an offshoot of id Software’s annual Quakecon has now become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right. Called “The Sundance of Machinima,” the event will feature “screenings of Machinima films, Q&A with machinimators, special presentations, and seminars about Machinima production techniques,” and is sponsored in part by Nvidia.

The centerpiece of the festival are the Mackie Awards, given to the best entrants in 16 categories including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Direction and Best Writing.

Machinima breakout hit “Red vs. Blue,” featured in this week’s issue of The Escapist, is up for 3 awards this year, best Voice Acting, best Writing and Best Machinima Series.

Another festival favorite, The Adventures of Bill & John: Danger Attacks at Dawn, voiced in In French with English subtitles, is a humorous film starring two wannabe-elite fighter pilots named Bill and John (“Bill! You piss me off. You’ve been pissing me off for ages, but now you’re really pissing me off.”), a swinging bachelor fuel tanker pilot named Major Tom (“Hey Major Tom. We meet again. This time, I have a big gun.”) and a self-aware laser-guided missile which sets of a Rube Goldeberg-esque chain of events culminating in the uproarious bombing of a cow.

It’s a hilarious send-up of high-testosterone fighter jocks “filmed” using the Lock On: Modern Air Combat game engine in a style reminiscent of the Fox television series, 24 mixed with a Jerry Bruckheimer film, mixed with Monty Python. And it’s brilliant.

“One more thing Lt. … I love your tie.”

The Adventures of Bill & John: Danger Attacks at Dawn is up for a total of nine awards this year, including Best Picture.

For a complete list of Mackie contestants (including gamevideo.com links), visit the Machanima Festival website.

For those unable to attend the event in New York, the festival will be simulcasting the Mackie Awards ceremony in Second Life on Saturday, November 4th at 9pm EST in Second Life’s Laguna Beach Theater. No word if it will be a black-tie only event, but I’ll be sure to see you there.

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