23rd Festival Platform Award Critiques
Making the Mark as “Uniquely Suited Media”
As this was the first presentation of the Festival Platform Award, we individually assessed each of the submissions at the same time that we engaged in broad-ranging discussions while conducting our jury panel. For instance, we pondered what sort of scope or course of development might we hope that the award assumes in the future? What we came to discover was that a body of globally-minded concepts was associated with the award, with international entries accounting for over half of all submissions. It seemed that a considerable number of them employed non-verbal "visual narratives" rather than relying on language. In the Geo-Cosmos Category, it seemed to me that the primary basis of our approach to evaluating the work dealt with how to find approaches that would be more meaningful or interesting when viewed on a spherical surface. Many seemed to offer ideas that would be quite alluring in terms of their mode of expression. I would count Sphere Novel among these and believe that was precisely the reason for which it won the award in this category. While the idea behind the work still includes many areas that need to be more fully fleshed out in terms of their mode of expression, it was highly appraised. It suggested new and interactive possibilities in the viewing experience, unique to the spherical setting and not to be found elsewhere. Meanwhile, in the Dome Theater Category, there seemed to be a relatively larger number of expressive approaches that attained just the right sense of immersion in their use of the dome, perhaps because the dome format has become a more generalized method of expression than the sphere has. It felt, then, that competition came down to the level of uniqueness of experience that a particular work might offer in its completed form, taking into account visual craftsmanship and use of sound, among other considerations. Starman, the winner of the award in this category, was characterized by a particularly distinctive and unprecedented worldview. At the same time it featured the sort of production planning that would invite an immersive experience. This was the work that made one most anxious to see the finished result. A number of works were entered in both categories.