San Francisco Noise Pop Festival has been featuring emerging indie artists for 22 years now. This year, Webby Award winners The Kissinger Twins showcased about 6 of their interactive films in a session called “Cinematic Labyrinths.” Originally from Poland, their influences include David Lynch, Boris Vian, Louis Bunuel, Jean-Luc Godard and Alan Pakula, as well as old sci-fi and horror films, Film Noir and video games.
Their web-based cinematic experiences are non-linear, interactive and often transmedia – meaning the stories are told through multiple mediums. Webby Award winner The Trip, for instance, tells the story of Jack Torrance, the man behind NASA’s moon landing in 1969. This project combines a short film, an online cinematic experience based on an interactive map, a concept record album, and a photo series.
The term “Cinematic Labyrinths” refers to the modular nature of the Twins’ creations. Contrary to traditional linear narratives, these stories have multiple endings, and are extremely immersive experiences that can last for hours, or days. There is no canonic version of the story, no specific order in which the different storylines should be experienced. Cinematic Labyrinths are worlds that need be explored by viewers however they want. They are built as digital mazes, with occasional shortcuts, or dead-ends, and several exists.
Viewers are asked to make choices along the way, which sometimes determine the ending, or even alter the story as it unfolds. Carolyn is the first interactive video game music clip ever made. As gamers drive a red car around an world, they actually remix the original song by collecting power hearts, electric guitars and other items on the road. Every move impacts the song.
The Kissinger Twins’ biggest piece so far, Sufferrosa, is a brilliant interactive neo-noir web-based thriller, and an homage to Jean Luc Godard’s Alphaville and W.J.Has’s The Saragossa Manuscript. With 110 scenes, 3 alternative endings and 20 locations, it is the biggest interactive storytelling project combining film and web ever made. Sufferrosa is set in a dystopian world. Detective Ivan Johnson is in search of a missing woman – Rosa von Braun. His investigation leads him to a Rejuvination clinic on tropical Miranda Island where he gets locked up by Professor Carlos von Braun. What actually happens to Johnson is in the viewer’s hands.
Check out more about The Kissinger Twins on their website here or download their presentation on Cinematic Labyrinths in PDF.