Autodesk sponsors a great event, here in my home town: the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF). An old friend and colleague from the UK, Nick Manning, typically comes across to talk at the event, as well as to present the Imaging the Future award: 5,000 CHF for the international competition film with the best production design. The 2015 winner was a post-apocalyptic Ethiopian movie called Crumbs.
This year’s festival – the 15th edition – closed its doors on Saturday. Over the years the NIFFF has really grown in stature, and regularly attracts impressive guest speakers from the film industry and beyond, such as – to name just a few of my personal favourites – Ray Harryhausen (2003), Terry Gilliam (2005), George Romero (2006), George R. R. Martin and Kevin Smith (both in 2014).
I usually try to get down to see at least one film, during the week, but as the festival falls during the school holidays – and the majority of the films screened aren't kid-friendly, even if we happen to be in town – it’s not always possible. This year I was delighted to make it along to a Q&A session with Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files and Millennium. (The following day there was a Q&A with Michael Moorcock, author of the amazing Elric of Melniboné series… sadly I couldn’t make it to both in person, but at least I managed to catch it online.)
During the 90s I was a big fan of The X-Files… I don’t think I finished the last few seasons, but I did really love the show. That said, I knew I wasn’t enough of a fan to ask an intelligent question of the show’s creator. With that in mind – and for a bit of fun – I decided to reach out via the Twitterverse and find out if anyone had a question for me to ask. To my delight, someone actually responded with a question.
@keanw you'll have my undying gratitude if you ask chris carter about william — flora → (@GirlinNumber9) July 8, 2015
I did need some additional clarification on who William was (my memory failed me), so there were a few further interactions via Twitter plus some searching on the web. (It turns out William was Scully’s – and Mulder’s – son. Who knew?)
Armed with my question, I headed down to the Q&A. I was in the second row, so had a great seat from which to experience the event:
I eventually built up the courage to blurt the question out… you can hear it below at the 57m30s mark (although if you’re an X-Files fan you’ll no doubt find value in the rest of the recording, too).
By the time we’d all filed out of the theatre, I’d already received a tweet from the person for whom I’d asked the question. She’d clearly been watching via the live stream.
@keanw you did it! THANK YOU — flora → (@GirlinNumber9) July 8, 2015
I was happy to do it: it gave me the chance to ask a question that didn’t make me look too stupid and helped hardcore fans find out something useful about the upcoming 6 revival episodes.
It was certainly an interesting experiment: acting as an interface between those present both physically and virtually. It definitely struck me how things are changing in that regard: such as during the last few Autodesk Universities, where there’s been a much greater emphasis on people attending virtually, with tweets integrated into the physical conference via wall-screens, etc. We’ve already seen huge progress made over the last few years… and tools are being developed all the time to further abolish the physical/virtual divide. Interesting times!