This week in Montreal, my film class had our first guest presenter: Filmmaker, producer, and multimedia graphic designer Noé Sardet. It’s just my luck that this was the day I got to class a few minutes late. I didn’t know what (or whom) to expect when as I entered the classroom, yet despite my interruption, Noé was warm, welcoming, and professional the whole time. He even caught me up to speed on the few minutes I missed. He carried himself with a comfortable certainty (and sported a stylish scarf to boot). I liked him already.
A French-American, Noé started his career as a smalltime graphic designer / filmmaker, drawn by changes in filmmaking and the accessibility of new technologies. He often noted how flexibility of expression was a huge factor in making him who he is today. The French method of design was not flexible at all; there were no majors or minors in his college, but a rather a track that one selected and had to stick to. This is why he loves living in Montréal today. French influence is everywhere and yet new forms of expression are emerging all the time.
Noé mentions first seeing this change through cross-media evolution. TV shows based on books, movies based on games, advertisements becoming legitimate forms of entertainment, etc. Standard rules separating media are being broken and big businesses and independent developers are riding the wave. Noé presented four of the newest forms taking the world by storm.
Web documentaries are audio or video documentaries based around interactivity. They draw inspiration from DVD menus and are reminiscent of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories. Within these documentaries, you can navigate non-linearly – which is based on the philosophy that our brains, by nature, do not work in a linear fashion. “This Land”, funded by the National Film Board of Canada, is a great example. Other web documentaries are receiving funding as well.
Mixed media is a combination of different art forms brought together to achieve one artistic vision. Noé’s work on this Soulgrafix ad is a prime example. Noé also mentioned Julien Vallée, a Montréal graphic designer involved with advertising and short creative films. Julien’s last piece created for MTV exhibits another take on combining artistic techniques, such as compositing, masks, the usage of various software tools, and tons of imagination.
Non-narrative films are, essentially, films without dialogue and are often without an explicit plot. They are elevated by their element of interpretation, leaving only the implicit to guide their viewers along. They come in all styles. Two of the ones Noé showed us were “Tokyo Slo-Mode”, which reflects a visit in Tokyo by using a unique array of effects such as mirroring and time remapping, and “Accés”, which captures the essence of Montreal’s underground city through discreet video recording.
Music videos have been around for years, but they have evolved past traditional band videos to more expressive creations. Images and music come together to create something engaging and inspiring. Music artists Thom Yorke and Modest Mouse were used as examples. Two of the music videos we examined were “Revival” by Beats Antique and “Thought of You” animated by Ryan Woodward (song by The Weepies).
This wasn’t discussed in class, but the forms of media Noé presented brought back to mind something I recently discovered online: animated photographs. These images transcend the boundary between photo and video to create a truly immersive image. When examined from a technological perspective, yeah, they’re GIFs. But while they may not yet be as impressive as the moving photos we find in Harry Potter, it is evident in them how technology is creating new magic every day.
At the end of his presentation, Noé grazed the surface of some new advances in technology and cinematography, concluding with two powerful points. First, media has advanced in a way where a single person can now accomplish a job that used to require an entire team. This creates unfathomable artistic possibilities. Second, we are no longer slaves to geography. With the internet, multimedia, and new forms of broadcasting, video distribution is easier than ever and publicity comes in many flavors.
Noé’s presentation was worthwhile, and though there are a wide range of majors in my class (from game development to international business and marketing), I felt that we all got something valuable out of it – whether it was an insightful look at a fresh spin on media, or the sprouting seeds of our own innovations.