Time for a new vision of european machinima ?
What a dark period for the machinima world. After the closure of machinima.fr by Xavier Lardy, MPREM, another great machinima website, has annouced it will be closing its doors by october the 13th.
Yeah, I know, the closure of two sites doesn't means the end of the whole machinima community. Thoses in the know, would also say that Mprem wasn't very active in the last few months. Yet, those sites were, as far as I'm concerned, relevant. Machinima.fr firstly, as the unique site dedicated to machinimas. Xavier Lardy was personally very involved in this medium he doesn't hesitate to call 'new virtual cinema' and he seemed the spirit of machinima to me since he defended it by every means possible through lectures, thoughts, interviews and also taking part to international machinima events.
So witnessing him being forced to let it down (even if he's not going very far from machinima) is really disturbing to me.
Also while one could argue that mprem hasn't the same influence than a site like machinima.com, be it in its community or means, it represented a specific vision of the independant machinima opposed to machinima as a promotional tool, as it can be seen at Rooster Teeth (Hired by Monolith and Microsoft to promote FEAR and Shadowrun), or Digital Ph33r (paid for keeping his series up). Community members were there mainly interested in the artistic aspect of machinimas and were keen on giving pieces of advice to the newcomers including Michelle from Britannica Dreams Production widely awarded at different machinima events.
Plus MPEM led an Online Machinima Film Festival, whose ceremony took place in second life and which awarded some unknown but really great pieces of work. It also contained a fund for unfavorished children.
Meanwhile machinima.com still includes more ad banners and has recently set a pay per view only series on iTunes, and a new version of the site for... the UK ! How lovely...
Then, is it to say that a new machinima era is starting ? That a new wind of freshness is blowing on the sinking boat of the digital creativity ? Not impossible. Sites are closing, but communities are opening. Remember the excellent Mario vs SpartanMario vs Spartan thing ? Well its creator Genetic Spartan has a nice little community gravitating around the forum Haloasis. There are talks about cinema, video games, new techs and machinimas, in a rather funky mood.
Yet I still have some doubts about the lasting of the thing in Europe. Unlike what Freepixel annouced nearly three years ago (let's bet he was influenced by alex chan and Olibith prods) : there is today no French school nor European school of machinima.
Machinima Deutschland doesn't seems as active as it once used to be (well its email adress is actually dead), Machinima.es led by Leandro Stasi is active but lacks of a communitarian tool due to the 'blog' style, and there is even no machinima.it in Italia...
Only the Animatu Film Festival in Portugal and the Machinima Grand Prix at the Festival du Jeu Vidéo seem good enough to give machinima its colors back.
And I know, critisizing is easy, and even easier from a team that just released a fully english speaking movie (Foolish attitude in the country of chauvinism).
Yet as surprinsing as it may seem, we're true fans of european machinimas, often surprising and always using a specific viewpoint.
That's why today, I call every and each european machinimaker to keep on doing films and make our passion live, not only on the games individual communities but also on more generalists machinima forums.