Inside-the-scenes: The rise of experiential cinema, S Atkinson, HW Kennedy

Tags: experience, UK, performance, Secret Cinema, audience, London, Rooftop Film Club, behaviours, event cinema, genre fiction, Edible Cinema, Akira Yamaoka, wider context, Arts Council, Themed Section, talent development, Walter Murch, original soundtrack, distribution strategy, film genres, Emma Pett, commercial success, Film Club, commercial gain, Asian Dub Foundation, academic publications, British Film Institute, Richard McCulloch, Prince Charles, Rosana Vivar, Dan Hassoun, Alexander Svensson, art experience, Leeds, UK, Weston-super-Mare, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Tate Britain, Significantly Svensson, Linda Levitt, collaborative research project, Helen W. Kennedy, London, UK, Arts Council England, Sarah Atkinson, horror films, cinema experience, cult films, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Event Cinema Association
Content: . Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 Introduction ­ Inside-the-scenes: The rise of experiential cinema Sarah Atkinson & Helen W. Kennedy This Themed Section is part of the editors' wider collaborative research project that examines the phenomenon of live cinema from a range of perspectives. Along with this Section, these include an industry report, a network, a conference, and a number of Academic publications (including Atkinson & Kennedy, 2017). The industry report is part-funded by Arts Council England and will be delivered through a collaboration between the editors and Lisa Brook of Live Cinema UK. This report tracks the economic scale of augmented cinema exhibition, making use of our proposed typology of the form set out below in order to categorise recent work. The report begins to analyse the potential impact in terms of future talent development, technological innovation and economic potential. We situate live cinema within a wider context of shifts towards an increasingly participatory cultural and creative economy. This wider project will also establish a network of representatives from industry, advocacy groups, exhibitor networks, academics and creative. This network will be the mechanism through which we establish symposia, a regular conference and other events to support the development of the experiential live cinema field. The development of the network has been facilitated by Kings Cultural Institute (King's College, London, UK) and will include: British Film Institute (BFI), No Nation, National Theatre (NT) Live, Royal Opera House, Edible Cinema, Rooftop Film Club and the Event Cinema Association (ECA). The research publications generated by the wider project are particularly concerned with understanding the shifts in audience experience signalled by these innovations. We have published two articles (Atkinson & Kennedy 2015a & 2015b) that both take Secret Cinema as their focus and offer new analytical tools for the consideration of these hybrid cultural phenomena. The work of this Participations Themed Section will subsequently be developed to address the emergent issues that we outline in the conclusion of this article (in Atkinson & Kennedy, 2017). This Themed Section focusses on the growing trend toward the creation of a cinema that escapes beyond the boundaries of the auditorium whereby film-screenings are augmented by synchronous live performance, site-specific locations, technological Page 139
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 intervention, social media engagement, and all manner of simultaneous interactive moments including singing, dancing, eating, drinking and smelling ­ what we are describing as the broader field of experiential cinema. Whilst recognizing that these experiences are not radically new (some belong in a continuum of peripheral marketing around film screenings that have existed since early cinema) we do now see these previously marginal experiences (i.e. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975) beginning to find access to a much wider public, alongside a significant rise in organisations dedicated to the design and delivery of augmented cinematic main events.1 In our wider project and here in this Themed Section we make a clear distinction between work which considers `event- led' cinema - the creation of live events around a particular film screening, and its contrasting proposition - `event cinema' - the coverage of live events in cinema auditoria - such as sport, opera and theatre - around which there is already much lively academic discussion (Barker, 2013), and an organization established to support such activities2. A report into the impact of this latter form of `event cinema' was commissioned by the Arts Council and BFI and the outcomes published on 15th January, 2016 (Tuck & Abrahams, 2016). The examples of experiential cinema here are situated within the context of a growing demand for atmospheric, immersive and participatory cinematic experiences and the recent turn towards event-led distribution models and technically augmented engagements within a burgeoning experience economy. This area presents a fertile site for analysis and one that remains relatively untapped within past and current academic literature. This Themed Section brings together the latest audience research into these areas to interrogate and explore experiential cinema and to provide deepened understandings of recent immersive cinema phenomena through the analysis of audience perspectives. The articles examine social and technological imperatives that underpin live cinema innovations; and evolve new conceptual frameworks and language of analyses suitable for their study. Much of the work for this Themed Section took place during what we describe as the UK's "Summer of Live" ­ 2015 saw a veritable explosion of live augmented experiences ­ including some very high profile commercial and critical successes. This summer of live comprised at least these immersive events: Secret Cinema presents ... Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,3 Sneaky Experience's Wizard of Oz, Sneaky `Wonderland' Experience, screenings of Alice's Adventures Underground (les enfants terribles),4 Phillip Pullman's Grimm Tales at the Oxo Tower London,5 Heart Break Hotel, 6 Against Captain's Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted ­ an immersive theatrical performance by PunchDrunk at The National Maritime Museum, London, UK.7 There was a programme of open-air cinema screenings and the summer programme of Sing-a-Long-a,8 and the largest season of Open Air Cinema9 concluded its 125 outdoor screening run in locations across the UK. This summer season also featured one exceptionally hybrid event ­ a blend of event cinema with live cinema (according to the distinctions we articulate above) ­ a one-off theatre performance of Rocky Horror Show Live10 ­ which was broadcast live from west end to cinemas all over the world. Page 140
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 This trend towards liveness continued to persist and pervade increasingly mainstream spaces well in to the autumn ­ for example at BFI's summer love weekend a number of outdoor screenings were hosted at the British Museum11 and The Big LOVE Tea Dance took place at Leeds International Film Festival.12 An immersive promenade performance for the launch of Suffragette (2015) was staged in Huddersfield.13 A much vaunted video game soundtrack also featured as a live immersive event during a tour of Silent Hill Live14 ­ Akira Yamaoka, the video game composer for numerous games, performed music from Silent Hill (Konami, 1999-). A live scoring of La Haine15 (1995) was staged at the Sensoria Festival which also hosted a "Doing it Live: Commissioning Live Cinema" panel.16 On the same night at the IMAX in London, the science museum in collaboration with Edible Cinema delivered an eat-along rendition of Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (2005) 17 This summer of live also featured its own an anti-experience - Dismaland ­ UK graffiti artist Banksy's `bemusement park'18­ presented an aberrative augmentation of the decaying (film-themed) theme park. This summer of live comprised many more experiences far beyond those connected to cinema of course (for example the Tate Sensorium19) but this illustrative roster of events reveals the heterogeneity of those which do fit in to our category of experiential cinema. To wrangle this diversity and to provide analytical coherence for future research and descriptive rigour we propose that we classify this spectrum of creative interventions according to the following typography: Enhanced: At the most basic form of intervention we have the category of enhanced which would include outdoor and open air screenings. The physical experience is often enhanced but this is not relative to the story of the film. This would include a range of differently sited screenings such as Brighton's Big Screen, Luna Cinema, Drive-In Film Club and Rooftop Film Club and those making use of other heritage locations. Critically here the filmic text itself is left entirely untouched. It is the social experience of film reception that is given some degree of enhancement. Augmented: Augmented cinema adds a further dimension to the filmic text through: the site ­ situating the screening in a location relevant to the film itself ­ eg. Harry Potter at Kirkstall Abbey20; through sensory enhancement (smellovision, taste-a-longs, stereoscopic 3D, 4DX); and elements of non-interactive performance. This category would also therefore include auditory modes of augmentation such as the following ­ Live scored are those where the full original score is played with the film exactly as originally intended, retaining all other elements of the film soundtrack remain audible. In the summer this included a season at the Royal Albert Hall that included Interstellar (2014)21, Back to the Future (1985)22 and The Godfather (1972)23. Re-scored events are those in which the original soundtrack is either completely dubbed over or new elements are mixed in. Examples of this form include Run Lola Run (1998)24, La Haine (1995) and Battle of Algiers (1966).25 October 2015 saw the final performance of the UK tour of a live re-scoring of George Lucas's Page 141
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 THX 1138 (1971) by Asian Dub Foundation. A unique score was composed by the band and played live alongside the film's screening, interwoven with the film's original soundtrack. This is one of the first times this has been done in this way: re-scorings are usually performed to silent films and foreign language films (where it isn't crucial for an Englishspeaking audience to hear the original soundtrack as the subtitles are projected onto the screen). At the Brighton finale26 the performance was attended by sound designer Walter Murch, and during our interview with him afterwards described the experience thusly: "It's like being the author of a 19th century novel who then sees that novel being turned into an opera." (Murch, 2015) Although these examples included in some cases very complex live performative elements ­ this is not figured within our typology as an interactive mode and is always bound within the temporality of the originary text and the experiences deploy a conventional arrangement of bodies and the screen. For instance, in ranked seating even if in some alternative site. Participatory: The participatory category always includes some element of audience direct engagement in elements of the originary text and this category itself includes its own spectrum of immersive intensity. At one end we might situate sing-along-a (which has become its own genre with some commercial success); cult quote-alongs (including some shout-alongs as we shall see in this Themed Section (Vivar 2016)); moving through to cosplay, dance-alongs, (Rocky Horror Picture Show being the most well-established example which features all of these elements). At the furthest extreme we would situate Secret Cinema which is the subject of two of the articles featured in this Section. Walter Murch's presence at the live re-scoring event discussed above signalled that experiential cinema had passed a landmark moment. These events have become mainstream, achieving significant box office success and commercial gain. They have also been accepted by the film industry as a normalised part of the distribution and development of a film. As a matter of course, decisions in Hollywood around whether or not there will be an orchestral/live distribution strategy are made from the outset (Murch 2015). A stand out commercial success in this Summer of Live which underscores Murch's contention that this is a genre which has come of age was Secret Cinema's immersive rendition of The Empire Strikes Back event which sold 100,000 tickets, ran for a four-month period and generated Ј7 million at the box office. We propose that the growth in the popularity and significance of these events can be attributed to four key factors ­ technological, commercial, cultural and artistic. In terms of the technological ­ the industry has burgeoned as a result of the rapid advancement of `pop-up' screen technology (such as inflatable screens and directional audio) enabling screenings to take place in locations that have been hitherto inaccessible (Hampton Court Palace & Kew Gardens as two recent examples). Further developments in 4DX, creative uses and investments in the potentials of Oculus Rift and VR technologies, Page 142
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 smartphone second screen applications (see Svensson and Hassoun, this Section) are all offering up new opportunities for the enhancement or augmentation of film engagements. Commercially, in the same way that the music industry has re-focused its revenue generation to live events in response to file sharing where music has become freely accessible and easy to obtain, the film industry is responding to the free online access to films in having to offer `more' to a cinema visit. The research which informs our forthcoming report has shown that at least half of all independent exhibitors had included live cinema in their programme in 2014-2015 (274 of 576 BFI listed exhibitors).27 Culturally, the industry has also expanded in response to the public's love for nostalgia and the power of fan engagement ­ many events tend to be about `old' and wellloved film releases ­ Secret Cinema Present ... Back to the Future (Atkinson & Kennedy 2015a) was one such example 2014. The fannish and cult experience central to the popularity of genre film features heavily in the articles gathered here and nostalgia features as a key facet of the experiential cinema register of engagement under discussion in this Themed Section. Artistically, this new form also offers audiences a deeper emotional engagement with the film. In our interview, Murch recalled a moment of anticipating these latent possibilities during the 1971 scoring session for THX 1138: It was electrifying to see a film energised by 80 musicians recording that music, and I thought at the time, and this was 45 years ago, wouldn't it be great to allow ordinary people to experience this. (Murch, 2015) Early cinema history has taught us that new forms of exhibition and audience engagement have driven the evolution of new film genres and new techniques in filmmaking. For example, the explosion of Nickelodeon movie theatres in the USA (known as penny gaffs in the UK) in 1908, led to the creation of the fiction film and the film studio system in order to provide a constant flow of viewing material for a growing audience cheaply and efficiently. The increase in demand from nickelodeons caused changes in the pattern of film production, too. From 1907 there was a marked shift towards the production of fictional narratives, rather than the `scenics' and `topicals' that had featured in earlier programming. (Maltby, 1989:39) The rise of the drive-in in 1950s cinema culture spawned the teen-movie and exploitation genre in order to fill the double and triple bills that the audiences demanded. This reference to the early progenitors of genre innovation and technological adaptation does not assume a teleological model of cinematic developments but rather we are proposing that these shifts are cyclical so that we can see traces of early cinema and the cinema of attractions in this current process of quite rapid change (see Atkinson & Kennedy 2015a). Page 143
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 We argue that the current growth of live cinema exhibition and distribution will have the same impact as the form expands as we have already noted that certain films are being chosen for enhancement, augmentation or participation specifically because of the characteristics which make them suitable for these kinds of exhibition. For example, THX 1138 worked because of its sparse dialogue, meaning that the live music could be woven in effectively, still enabling the audiences to hear the dialogue and original sound score. As demonstrated in Atkinson & Kennedy in this Themed Section, The Empire Strikes Back screening and pre-event build-up was infused with the theme of a rebellion and secrecy, which was germane to the film's original narrative. This facilitated and secured the audiences investment and willingness to engage in the experience, purchasing costumes from the pop-up and online shops, and bringing along props as instructed (see Pett, and Atkinson & Kennedy in this Themed Section). We propose that in the future generic conventions and production practices and processes will respond directly to these enhanced, augmented and participatory models in the development and production phases. Film aesthetics, style and process will evolve as a result, and we are likely to see films being made specifically for these experiential presentations. In turn we would also hope that these developments would generate a more secure distribution platform, the lack of which has been identified as inhibiting some aspects of the artistic and economic evolution of this form (see forthcoming Brook, Atkinson & Kennedy, 2016). The selected articles featured here comprise a transnational perspective through which to address the two key aims of this Themed Section ­ to advance the study of experiential cinema and to exemplify emergent audience methodologies adapted to the complexities of this form. We begin with an article by Emma Pett, `"Stay Disconnected": Eventising Star Wars for Transmedia Audiences' which extends the work of a wellestablished field of analysis around fan engagements with the Star Wars Universe (Brooker, 2002 and 2009 and Hills, 2005). Pett's article deploys participant observation, ethnography and auto-ethnography to study these fan engagements with Star Wars across two specific sites ­ the Madam Tussauds exhibition and the Secret Cinema Presents ... Empire Strikes Back live cinema experience. Pett examines how these recent experiences have the potential to extend the opportunity for devoted fans to engage with their beloved texts ­ including for the Secret Cinema Presents experience the fannish pleasures of cosplay. She also identifies how the tight structuring of the experiences leads to frustrations with the lack of engagement or failures of immersion. Pett examines the motivations and pleasures of these cult engagements whereby a brand (or storyworld) is pursued across multiple sites and distinct media. She also situates the marketing and promotions of these events in relation to how they draw upon and deploy a particular discourse of exclusivity and liveness in their establishment of and access to this cult identity and these fan subjectivities. What Pett also foregrounds is the ever-present tension between these commercialized and highly constructed engagements and fan initiated practices and behaviours even when these are Page 144
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 apparently invited and facilitated (such as in the cosplay pleasures invoked but proscribed in the Secret Cinema experience). Still very much in this territory of genre fiction and its invocation of cult pleasures and keenly anticipated formulas ­ Alexander Svensson and Dan Hassoun in their article `"Scream Into Your Phone": Second Screen Horror and Controlled Interactivity' ­ articulate the ways in which the horror genre is the frequent site of experimentation in the extension of our haptic and affective cinematic experiences. They examine two distinct but related approaches to the deployment of the app for use in the home cinema environment ­ ie, in companion to DVD or BluRay viewing of two recent horror films: App (2013) & Sadako (2012). Their novel methodological approach combines close attention to the configured audience engagement protocols and structures as opposed to the close analysis of audience actual behaviours which feature elsewhere in this Themed Section. Significantly Svensson and Hassoun also articulate the extent to which these second screen experiences are used to focus and intensify `attention' in very particular ways. This tight control of attention is critical to the model of spectatorship that is privileged, assumed and designed in to the augmentation. For the authors, the horror genre is an interesting test case to illuminate this paradoxical shift in control featuring as it does a key characteristic of loss of control or the threat of chaos as part of the formulaic aesthetic. The apps under examination both play with this aesthetic in different ways but they both feature an interaction protocol that crucially seeks to determine the nature and timing of the interaction in very specific ways. This is not interaction as freedom from control ­ on the contrary it is interaction as scripted and proscriptive tightly defined behaviours. They also draw attention to how the gamelike offering promoted in the marketing for these experiences is potentially undermined in this tightly controlled experience. This article further signals the ongoing role of genre fiction as a site of technical innovation ­ it is in the design of new thrills and frights to horrify that new tools and techniques are initiated which ultimately transform the dominant medium. In Virginia Crisp and Richard McCulloch's article we turn from a focus on genre fiction conventions to the ritualized conventions of a particular form of film screening that has origins in the long established participatory oeuvre as initiated by the Rocky Horror Picture Show (Austin, 1981). Their article ­ `"Watch like a grown up... enjoy like a child": Exhibition, Authenticity, and Film Audiences at the Prince Charles Cinema' ­ focusses on this London venue which is now famous for its regular screenings of cult films, and its programme of participatory and `themed' screenings which encompass Q&As, all night marathons, and sing/quote-a-longs. Crisp and McCulloch used a questionnaire to survey 200 respondents, from the cinema's own mailing list, in order to interrogate audience perception of the distinctions between what Prince Charles' cinema experience offers in contrast to other cinema visits. Through the detailed analysis of these responses, Crisp and McCulloch revealed that expressions of nostalgia were ever present ­ audiences were returning to much-loved texts for deeper but crucially familiar and routinized engagements. Here the authors argue that Page 145
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 this is an audience looking for just that little bit extra to add to their cinematic pleasures and, not the audience of highly immersive fully interactive experiences such as those under analysis elsewhere in this Themed Section. This Prince Charles audience is very much a fan community who engage regularly with the format of experience that they have on offer. With many independent and multiplex cinemas seeking to augment and add-value to traditional film screenings, a lot can be learned from Crisp and McCulloch's study of the Prince Charles' model. In terms of advancing the field of experiential cinema research, Crisp and McCulloch raise the need for the advancement of agreed and robust typologies ­ a demand we hope to have started to address in the section above and to advance further through the wider research project. The subject of cult screenings, formulas for participation, and the theme of audience desire for nostalgia resonates within Linda Levitt's article ­ `Hollywood, Nostalgia, and Outdoor Movies'. The context for Levitt's work is Los Angeles, USA where she interrogates audience participation as it relates to outdoor cinema experiences such as Cinespia, Street Food Cinema, and Electric Dusk Drive-In. Focussing specifically on the Cinespia brand ­ an organisation known for its screenings of cult and classic films in open-air settings, often at historic locations - Levitt examines the social media activity around certain events, drawing particularly on audience interactions via twitter. Audience responses gathered by the immediacy of the social media platform provided a richly affective digital research resource which revealed the extent that the physical surroundings featured in the participants' live commentary. Levitt demonstrates how it is these experience design elements that are more frequently recalled by the moviegoers ­ including embodied aspects such as the food and the atmosphere along with details of their fellow participants and other viewers. In this context Levitt also identifies nostalgia as a significant element in these accounts of their experience. Here however it is a nostalgia not just for the cult filmic texts but also interestingly for the outdoor viewing conditions themselves.28 Levitt's novel analysis of the social media channels reveals the extent to which the participants use direct quotation from the filmic texts as the means through which to articulate their own affective engagement and pleasures. The work of Rosana Vivar ­ `A film bacchanal: playfulness and audience sovereignty in San Sebastian Horror and Fantasy Film Festival' ­ takes up nostalgia, diverse fan pleasures and cult behaviours, but in an entirely different context. The participants in Vivar's research were part of a sustained engagement with a week-long film festival. Here she provides a fulsome account of the annual "Horror week" that is San Sebastian Horror and Fantasy Film Festival located in Spain and which has been held there for over 25 years. Using a blend of Research methods in a longitudinal study across the annual festivals in 2012, 2013 & 2014, Vivar conducted ethnographic engagement and observation; online questionnaires; focus groups and archive research. Through her analysis, she offers an examination of the playfulness of participants who engage in `intentionally annoying,' `shout-a-long' and `highly restricted protocol', viewing practices and ritual performance. Page 146
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 Vivar builds on notions of `in-the-know' subcultural discourses and resistant practices, and provides a nuanced account of the audiences critical and controlling behaviours. As she notes: "the Horror Week is better defined through its audience's protocols of reinterpretation of films than for the group of films it shows". This is in vivid contrast to the other experiences under analysis in this section where our authors repeatedly highlight the extent to which the protocols for audience behaviours are designed for them in advance. Here we have audience defined and determined behaviours - however aberrant. Vivar does not overly celebrate this audience `freedom' to determine their protocols for engagement as she highlights how these strict modes of engagement come with hierarchies and privilege certain audience members above others. Vivar contextualises this set of behaviours within the sub-cultural discourses endemic of the particular audience demographic, providing an account for how these acts of subversion are redolent of a nostalgia for a more politicized position within culturally oppositional communities. Here Vivar highlights how, what we might describe as `rebellious' practices, are positioned against normative modes of cinematic spectatorship through the regulatory behaviours of the more experienced participants. This juxtaposition of rebellion and control is played out in the analysis of the concluding article ­ `From Conflict to Revolution: The secret aesthetic, narrative spatialisation and audience experience in immersive cinema design'. Here Sarah Atkinson and Helen W. Kennedy illuminate the ways in which it is the set design and the spatialisation of the narrative that is the dominant technique for audience control. Like Pett, Atkinson and Kennedy also examine the latest in the Secret Cinema Presents ... series which took place in London over 5 months in the summer of 2015. Their work embraces the multiple sites through which the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back experience unfold. They therefore include a consideration of the role of sites of consumption - such as nightclubs, and pop-up stores; and the range of instructional communications delivered online. They examine how these all contribute to the efforts to shape the participant engagement in advance of the 5 hour long main event at a `secret' location. In their study it is the aesthetic of secrecy that engages a cult and fan sensibility of particular passions and underground pleasures. Here they examine how this secrecy mode is also used to shape and determine the engagement and participation of the Secret Cinema audience. This article further demonstrates the extent to which play and gamelike tropes are both offered and frustrated in the moments of interaction, like Svensson and Hassoun these authors show how completely popular culture is saturated with the codes, conventions and aesthetics of the video game. In their focus on the spatialisation of the narrative they expose how the rule-bound nature and controlling architecture of the experience design operate to try to fix or determine the precise nature of the audience behaviour. Drawing on the differentiated perspectives of a group of participants they offer a particularly rich analysis of the role of technical production ­ lighting, set design, props etc. ­ in the determination of individual and collective experiences. The multi-layered research method they deploy ­ combining Page 147
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 elements of ethnography, participant observation, thick description and spatial analysis ­ lays bare the complexity of these live experiences and the challenge they pose to any secure singular interpretation. Conclusion: The territory of live cinema is in a process of rapid change, innovation and development. Whilst this Themed Section captures an international perspective on some emergent themes there is still much more work to be done. There is a need to continue the work of tracing the genealogies and the topoi of this field to examine the forebears in ­ expanded cinema, happenings, ballyhoo, the cinema of attractions and liveness more generally. The typology outlined here (enhanced, augmented and participatory) will also need to be tested and should evolve along with the field. We would also propose a number of key lines of enquiry that are required in the advancement of the study of Live Cinema phenomena: Industry, spaces and embodiment. Whilst the Live Cinema Report (May 2016) captures the UK context for an understanding of the scale of the UK live cinema economy much more should be done to extend this to a study of the cultural form more globally - this would enhance the internationally focused submissions in this Themed Section by revealing more about their wider cultural contexts of production. In the article in this section (Atkinson & Kennedy 2016) we make reference to Kucklich's work on playbour and we feel it would be very helpful to explore the extent to which the live cinema participant is already imagined as willingly acceding their labour to the full realization of the live event. It would be helpful to also examine the extent to which an unpaid but highly skilled graduate labour force is instrumental in establishing and sustaining the early stages of this new economy (extending the work into culture and creative labour by Hesmondhalgh & Baker, 2011 and Conor, Gill, and Taylor, 2015). In terms of the spaces of the viewing/participatory experience much more work is needed to connect this up with the blossoming field of Film Festival Studies (De Valck, 2007; Fischer, 2012; Iordanova, 2014 and Wong, 2011). There is a need to establish connections with and position these contemporary experiences as continuous with previous cultural practices such as travelling exhibition and itinerant cinemas. In terms of embodiment, there is a need to consider the impact of technological change, emergent technologies and novel experience design in a fast evolving industrial context. For instance, the recent high-profile acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook and Disney's multi-million investment into a Virtual Reality (VR) company demonstrates the commercial value attributed to VR and will no doubt lead to widespread experimentation deploying these devices. The first major exhibition of VR works in this year's Sundance Film Festival, and the first UK VR Festival this month, demonstrates the cultural reach of VR. In this context, investigations of how identity and phenomenological experiences might be reconsidered within cinematic VR experiences is crucial. A final aim of this section will be to Page 148
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 have laid the groundwork for and to have galvanized further research in this nascent field of study. We were delighted with the wealth of new work of such international reach that was submitted in response to our call for contributions. This gave us a sense of a nascent, dynamic and potentially flourishing field of which this curated collection represents only a part. We anticipate that this Themed Section will be key in the inauguration of a fast moving, but influential new area of empirical and intellectual enquiry. Acknowledgements: With special thanks to Lisa Brook from Live Cinema UK, for her ongoing collaboration in the development of the Live Cinema Report. Heartfelt thanks and a debt of gratitude for the thoughtful labour of our many generous reviewers: Jane Arthurs, Dan Ashton, Paula Blair, Lavinia Brydon, Virginia Crisp, Jon Dovey, Elizabeth Evans, Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, Seth Giddings, Stuart Hanson, Francesca Hardy, Matt Hawthorn, Paula Hearsum, Mark Jancovich, Olu Jenzen, Bethan Jones, Matthew Jones, Irmgard Karl, Ewan Kirkland, Tanya Krzywinska, Linda Levitt , Xavier Mendik, Matilda Mroz, Emma Pett, Greg Singh and Sophy Smith. Bibliography: Atkinson, S. and Kennedy, H. (2015)a Tell no one: Cinema as game-space - Audience participation, performance and play, G|A|M|E: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, Number 4/2015. Atkinson, S. and Kennedy, H. (2015)b `Where we're going, we don't need an effective online audience engagement strategy': The case of the Secret Cinema viral backlash. Frames Cinema Journal. Issue 8. [online] ISSN 2053-8812 Atkinson, S. & Kennedy, H. W. (2017) Live Cinema: Cultures, Economies, Aesthetics New York: Bloomsbury. (Forthcoming). Austin, Bruce A. (1981). `Portrait of a Cult Film Audience: Rocky Horror Picture Show', Journal of Communication 31 no. 2: 43-54. Barker, M. (2013) Live To Your Local Cinema: The Remarkable Rise of Livecasting. Palgrave MacMillan. Brook, Lisa., Atkinson, S. & Kennedy, H.W, `Live Cinema in the UK Report 2016'. London: Arts Council England. Brooker, Will (2002) Using the Force: Creativity, Community and Star Wars Fans, Continuum: London and New York. -- (2009) Star Wars, BFI/Palgrave Macmillan: London. Conor, B., Gill, R., and Taylor, S. (2015) `Gender and Creative Labour', The Sociological Review, 63: 1­ 22. doi: 10.1111/1467-954X.12237 De Valck, M. (2007) Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Fischer, A. (2012) Sustainable Projections: Concepts in Film Festival Management. St Andrews: St Andrews University Press. Page 149
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 Hesmondhalgh, D. and Baker, S. (2011) Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries (Culture, Economy and the Social), London: Routledge. Hills, Matt. (2005) `Star Wars fandom, film theory and the museum: The cultural status of the cult blockbuster' in Stringer, Julian (ed.), Movie Blockbusters. London: Routledge, pp.178-189. Iordanova, Dina. (2014). The Film Festival Reader (Films Need Festivals, Festivals Need Films), Edinburgh: St Andrews Film Studies. Maltby, Richard. 1989. Dreams for Sale: Popular Culture in the 20th century, London: Harrap. Murch, Walter. (27.10.2015) In an interview with the authors, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Brighton, UK. Tuck, F. & Abrahams, M. 2015 Understanding the impact of event cinema: an evidence review Trends Business Review for Arts Council and BFI: Wong, Cindy. H. (2011) Film Festivals: Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen, New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press. Notes: 1 These include Secret Cinema, Sneaky Experience, Luna Cinema, Floating Cinema, Rooftop Film Club, Drive-in Film Club, Picnic Cinema, Hot Tub Cinema, and Nomad Cinema ­ all based in London, UK. 2 The Event Cinema Association (ECA), 3 4 thJune ­ 27th September, 2015, London, UK. 4 This performance marked the 150th anniversary of the novel running from April 9th to August 30th 2015, in the Vaults at Waterloo Train Station, London, UK. 5 21st November 2014 ­ 11th April 2015. 6 12th June - 27th September, 2015, The Jetty, London, UK. 7 This was a show for 6-12 year olds and ran from 28th March -31st August, 2015, OXO Tower, London, UK. 8 a concept developed in the late 1990s which has now become a fully fledged branded experience. 9 10 17th September, 2015. 11 27th- 29th August, 2015 ­ A Room with a View (1985), Badlands (1973) and The Princess Bride (1987) were screened. 12 7th November, 2015 ­ at the Grade II listed church/arts centre Left Bank Leeds, Leeds, UK. Led by Live Cinema UK and 29th Leeds International Film Festival, with a 1945-themed pre-film experience which included dancing, music and food prior to a screening of Brief Encounter (1945). 13 11th October 2015, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, UK. 14 October-November, 2015 at various venues. 15 30th September, 2015. Asian Dub Foundation, Sheffield City Hall, UK. 16 1st October 2015 as part of the SensoriaPro 2015 programme. Chaired by Helen W. Kennedy, the panellists were Lisa Brook (Live Cinema), Julia Benfield (Sneaky Experience), Sarah Atkinson (King's College, London) & Jo Wingate (Sensoria). 17 30th September, 2015, the Science Museum's IMAX Theatre, London, UK in a collaboration with Edible Cinema. Page 150
Volume 13, Issue 1 May 2016 18 21 August - September 27, 2015, Weston-super-Mare, UK. 19 26 August ­ 4 October, 2015. An immersive art experience at Tate Britain, London, UK, which promised to "stimulate your sense of taste, touch, smell and hearing." 20 15th ­ 17th May, 2015, Sneaky Experience, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, UK. 21 30th March, 2015. 22 5th July, 2015. 23 2nd November, 2015. 24 5th May, 2007, re-scored by The Bays at the Brighton Dome Concert Hall, UK as part of the Brighton Festival. 25 6th October 2004 at Hackney Empire, London, UK. 26 27th October, 2015 at the Brighton Dome Concert Hall, UK. 27 See Brook, Atkinson & Kennedy, 2016. 28 This nostalgia in the recreation of the viewing practices of the past is also evident in the marketing materials for a UK-based event ­`Transport yourself back to the bygone era of the 1950s and enjoy a flick on the silver screen from the comfort of your own car. Cozy up with your favourite gal or guy and have a smooch while you watch'. ­ the Drive-in Film Club, at the Alexandra Palace, London, UK. Page 151

S Atkinson, HW Kennedy

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