Art pioneers Blast Theory, which for more than a quarter of a century has been presenting live performance through unique interactive media, presents Europe’s first interactive feature film. Moreover, they’ll shoot and broadcast live.
Blast Theory, the four-time BAFTA nominated art pioneers, continue to push the boundaries of visual media with Europe’s first interactive feature film, Bloodyminded, to be shot and broadcast live in front of audiences online and at cinemas across the UK, Germany and Switzerland.
The film will be co-presented by digital platform 4:3, Boiler Room’s underground platform for underground film which has itself changed the landscape of film by bringing the club space into the online environment.
Bloodyminded continues Blast Theory’s exploration of cinema as live experience. Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s art programme for the First World War Centenary and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, the film will, for one night only on Sunday October 14, ask us to make our own decisions about the morality of war.
Inspired by research into WWI conscientious objectors carried out at the Imperial War Museum, the story concerns Isis Davis’ SJ, a woman on a mission to break into an army base to bury the ashes of her great-grandfather who opposed WWI and was imprisoned under life-threatening conditions.
But once inside, her confidence falters. She’s surrounded by soldiers, her half-brother included, and the ghosts of past wars. Informed by interviews with British Army veterans who have shared their experiences of training, frontline combat, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the audience is guided by a narrator as we are asked to consider questions about our own reaction to violence. Cinema audiences respond in real time through a newly developed app, while online viewers interact via bloodyminded.org.
To be filmed on location in Hampshire via a single shot on steadicam, the production team includes experienced cinematographer Ruben Woodin Dechamps (who has shot music videos for Radiohead and Bonobo) and executive producer Anna Higgs who worked with Ben Wheatley on High-Rise and A Field In England.
“Live is exciting and unpredictable. It is dangerous,” says Matt Adams, co-Founder of Blast Theory. “From the beginning of Blast Theory we’ve mixed the energy of clubs and gigs with challenging ideas. We create situations where there are no guarantees about what might happen next and you have a direct role in shaping the future.
“Today, young people are grasping the moment to create change; whether after the school shootings in Florida or by stopping a plane deporting a refugee in Sweden. Inspired by the conscientious objectors of World War One, in Bloodyminded we want to take that energy into a story about fighting and bravery.”
Of course, Blast Theory is no stranger to the challenges of live filmmaking. In 2015 it created My One Demand, a world first, which saw an interactive film shot and streamed live in a single two-hour take. It simultaneously pushed the boundaries of what cinema could be and how audiences could influence it.
Amar Ediriwira, 4:3’s Film Curator, says: “This innovative storytelling format will cut through digital noise with liveness and interactivity to engage young audiences in calls of consciousness. It’s important for us to find new ways to ensure that conversations around conscription, violence and peace work do not slip from the public front-of-mind.”
The film will be broadcast on Sunday October 14 between 4.20pm and 6.20pm. The screening online will take place at www.bloodyminded.org & Boiler Room’s 4.3. UK cinemas screening the film include: Barbican, London; Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Brighton; HOME, Manchester; Tyneside Cinema, Gateshead; Watershed Cinema, Bristol; and Queens Film Theatre, Belfast.