If you’re not quite sure what this whole virtual reality thing is all about—those headsets do look intimidating, don’t they?—the Future of StoryTelling Festival is where you can learn about the exciting directions that entertainment is headed. This year’s lineup ranges from virtual, augmented, and mixed reality exhibitions to live theater performances and TV show screenings.
“[The fest is] perfect for anyone interested in experiencing firsthand the very latest and most cutting-edge immersive storytelling projects and technologies—from teachers and students to artists, designers, creatives, marketers, and technologists,” says FoST founder and director Charles Melcher. Most of the interactive experiences put audiences in the driver’s seat, offering them the opportunity to shape their own stories.
The event that Melcher is most excited for? The conversation with Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (that’s right—the cinematic genius behind Traffic and Ocean’s Eleven through Thirteen), who’ll be talking about his forthcoming interactive project with HBO, Mosaic. The weekend will also include a sneak peek of the season 3 premiere of FX’s Mr. Robot, followed by a Q&A with creator Sam Esmail. And the top talent doesn’t stop there: Melcher is also psyched about the festival’s Comedy Nights, one of which will be headlined by comedian, unconventional talk-show host, and occasional Broad City guest star Chris Gethard.
Looking to make a day out of FoST with the whole clan? Melcher suggests that families take their noses on an aromatic adventure during the world premiere of Kate McLean’s “Smellwalk: Staten Island,” where you’ll follow a “smellmap” to detect a dozen distinct scents. Author and journalist Lizzie Stark’s Live-Action Role Play (LARP) workshops are also great for kids. Her role-play games take serious subjects, including religion, art, and literature—she’s even made one about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet!—and make them accessible through lighthearted and competitive fun. Stark’s latest LARP project, Ghost Court, tackles paranormal activity and the judicial system. Intriiiiguing.
Why You Should Go: If you’re curious about virtual reality and other futuristic storytelling modes, here’s your chance to actually don a headset and peer into the great beyond. There are more than 100 out-of-the-ordinary experiences to see (or hear or feel or smell) for yourself.
Future of StoryTelling Festival
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
Friday, October 6–Sunday, October 8
10 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
$40 (or $30 for groups of 10 or more)