Database Narrative Films (COMS374)

by Matt on April 18, 2009

Last semester, the students in Intermedia II created some remarkable database narrative films using the Korsakow System. This is a piece of software that allows the user to assemble non-linear, often interactive, stories in any genre. The class met with Florian Thalhofer, the Berlin-based creator of Korsakow, and then worked in teams to develop ‘K-Films’ on a wide range of themes: documentaries on religious beliefs, personal foibles, bad dreams, and a profile of an influential high-school teacher; and, experimental narratives on metaphors in everyday life, and surreal encounters in time, space and the city. The overall quality of work was fantastic.

When we began working with the Korsakow software it was in serious need of an upgrade, meaning that, for some people, K-Films don’t run very well online. For now, then, here are the title cards for each film, along with a short description. All this year’s K-Films were on display at the final vernissage.

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Fragments By Amy Ball, Myriam Descormiers, Saulo Madrid, and Saba Shahsiah. An absorbing and poetic fictional narrative, featuring an unnamed couple and a disembodied narrator who may or may not be a reliable witness. Update: On April 3, 2009, at the Faculty of Arts & Science Undergraduate Research Day, Amy, Myriam, Saulo and Saba received the Research-Creation Award for Fragments. Congratulations!

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Believe By Emma Dartois, Adriana Kockel, Amit Kehar, Elisabeth Roy. A visually striking exploration of religious beliefs, foregrounding the views and experiences of the team as well as individuals active in various denominations.

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Nightmares By Elena Blanco Moleon, Christine Fournier, Gabrielle Savoie, Corinna Strano Howard. Explores the sheer variety of visceral nocturnal fears that make us human – and the ways we attempt to rationalize them. Food for Freudians!

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Poggi By Guillaume Dubois, Max Rosenstein, Nadja Settel and Amy Smith. How to convey the complexities of a beloved and influential highschool teacher? Poggi does it charmingly without being too distant or sentimental.

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Pun Intended By Cherine Benjelloun, Caroline Orban de Xivry, Brian Tassillo, and Nick von Roretz. A good-humoured romp through some of the hardest-working, everyday English metaphors. All conveyed through wild and wacky animations.

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Quirk By Sabrina Guerrieri, Milosz Jurkiewicz, Kale Reum, and Talia Smith. Many points of view, oh so many quirks. Do you talk to your cat? Or have a strange affection for (phantom) notetaking? Are you perhaps a little too tidy? Quirk leads us through some amazingly candid personal confessions.

*Currently, K-Films run fine on computers, but poorly on some servers (and not at all on others). To address this issue, Florian is working with Matt Soar, the instructor for this course, to completely overhaul Korsakow. The new version will be released in Spring 2009, and aims to be much more stable on- and off-line, open source, and free.

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