Extant’s Immersive Cinema Experience
Z EyeZ (AKA ZombieyeZ in Zagreb)
Z EyeZ received its international premiere at the 2015 BIT Festival in Zagreb Croatia. Many of the international visually impaired stars of the film who were showing their theatrical work again at the Festival were able to witness themselves in the finished film.
The London Premiere – Film Pro Hoxton
Thanks to Film pro Lates, we were then able to give the film its London premiere later in 2015 for the film’s UK visually impaired stars and others. However we were also able to go even further by creating an immersive environment around the premiere which moved the experience away from passive viewing and more into a live participatory performance event.
On Thursday 3 December (International Day of Disabled People) Extant and film pro lates launched Z EyeZ. film pro lates is a first Thursday in the month film event at their Hoxton warehouse studio, and in the lead up we took the opportunity to transform the entrance, corridor and main office space into the ‘Sloboda Clinic’ where the launch took place.
Audience members were welcomed by a nurse at reception where a monitor screen displayed the clinic’s logo and glossy pages from its website. They were then administered an injection to the temple by a Doctor in a white coat located at the end of a long corridor, and once a plaster was put over the spot, ushered into the main clinic/screening room where another doctor in white coat asked them a series of random medical and not so medical questions.
While they sat and waited for the film to start, yet another doctor sat at a desk and constantly scribbled notes, shook sample bottles and called to the research assistant for labelled items from around the room to be brought over. These included DVDs on mice drug trials, Fed Ex deliveries of retina transplants from remote places around the world, and lists of deceased patients names.
Just before it started, the three doctors introduced the film to the audience as a documentary of the first successful trial in Zagreb of their new breakthrough treatment. The audience were invited to sit back and enjoy while they waited for the drug to start taking affect in their systems.
When the film was over and the outcome of the Zagreb trial revealed, the three doctors returned, somewhat horrifically transformed, and thanked the audience for taking part in the experiment.
You can watch the trailer of the finished film on our Youtube channel here
“I got my sister to drive me all the way from Leicester… It was the most incredible thing I’ve experienced!”
“So amazed how different the space felt from what it normally is – I liked the feeling of coming in the building as if it were the clinic.”
“I was so unnerved sitting waiting for the film to start wondering what the sounds were, who that doctor was writing in the corner and what was going to happen next?”
“Such a great night, the way you set it all up… and the film was as mad as cheese!”
“I loved the film… It had me gripped all the way through…. It was funny and scary.”
“I kept thinking that I could feel s
omething happening to me even though I knew the injection I had been given was fake!”
“The doctors’ questions were very funny and made me feel involved.”
“The film was hilarious!”
Extant enjoyed partnering with the film pro team, Andrea Carr, the film’s designer, and her assistant Herriot, to use simple means to shift a space from the ordinary to an ambiguous intersection where live performance meets film and creates an immersive live event that comments on an experience of visual impairment both through spoof and seriousness.
Yes, we did achieve wonders and for me it was refreshing to work with a theatre company. I am very glad that the event and space served Extant’s mission so well.
Foteini Galanopoulou, film pro lates Curator / Co-prod
It endorsed the fact that theatre can be made anywhere, and also that film can be made accessible to visually impaired audiences by integrating descriptive elements within the characters dialogue as the script of Z EyeZ was written to do.
We also live streamed the event with film pro’s hehlp and had the following feedback on our first ever attempt at this:
I liked the role-play with the audience. Even though I wasn't there, I was amazed at how involved I felt. I have never joined an event remotely before as I do not consider myself very informed about IT but I would strongly encourage other people to do so after this first experience as it was so easy for me. I wished I had linked in at 6pm!… I Found the film very intriguing. I watched until the end. I was hoping there would be a discussion between collaborators and the audience afterwards as it looked such an interesting project and I would definitely have remained online for that. I felt quite sad when the stream disconnected as I genuinely felt part of the experience.
I think this livestreaming really has potential to reach more people and new audiences. A discussion panel would have nicely rounded off the evening for the remote audience!
(Live stream audience member, London)
Suddenly I was connected and I saw you, in your white doctor clothes. I really like the fact that you were shaking the little medicine bottles over your head. It was like saying hi to all of us…Generally speaking I think the whole sense that made for me was a mixture of spooky , professional and parody, which as I'm thinking of, could describe my days to all the doctors that I have been for my eyes…. I really enjoyed the experience artisticly and emotionally. I hope I could participate in future connections and projects.
(LIve stream audience member, Athens)