SFU Surrey grad’s interactive film dazzles
Kimberley Walker is graduating from Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) this semester with an enviable résumé and a bright future in the video game and animation industry.
But it’s her pioneering work on the first interactive film to be a capstone project at SIAT that’s really turning heads – and eyeballs.
The film, His Violet Mind, is a 22-minute narrative about a disc jockey struggling with drug addiction in which viewers can bounce between multiple story lines from nine different characters’ points of view.
Capstone projects exemplify SFU's vision of being Canada's leading engaged university. They’re based on student-faculty collaboration culminating in integrated learning and knowledge, accomplishments in a field and new solutions to real world problems.
Walker’s project was the end product of a two-semester course that engages students in learning how to build interactive design into a moving-image project. The project typically involves a simple 3D animation or video game, but Walker and three other students teamed up to take it a giant step further, scripting, casting and producing His Violet Mind.
“We initially decided to create a multi-linear narrative film instead of a video game because we had film but no programming experience,” says Walker, a graduate of Burnaby Mountain Secondary and Burnaby resident.
In the end, the student team hired a computing science major to program an interface that allows viewers to restart the film from different points in the story.
“They chose a genre — interactive story — that is not at all easy to master,” says assistant professor Jim Bizzocchi, one of the team’s mentors, who researches new media design.
Professor Rob Woodbury, a computational designer who also mentored the film quartet, gave the project a perfect score. He says their film is actually 80 minutes “when you factor in the multiple viewing paths created through interactivity. That is a staggering length for a student effort.”
Walker also undertook a three-month co-op at Atos Origin during the 2010 Winter Olympics, helping the IT firm run the event’s media broadcast centre at Vancouver’s old and new convention centres.
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
— 30 —
"Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities"