The Monarch Film Festival is an annual event held in Pacific Grove, California. It is intended to not only showcase the latest in International blockbuster achievements, but to also be a place where local filmmakers of any age can show their artistic vision on the big screen.
Among this year’s entrants in the Festival is Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is me, the documentary by Brenard “Draxtor Despres” Drax, the film focus on the work of Tom Boellstorff and Donna Z Davis (respectively Tom Bukowski and Tredi Felisimo in Second Life), who for three years were engaged in studying the experiences of people with disabilities – visible and invisible – who are using immersive virtual spaces to represent themselves, possibly free of the shadow of any disability, engage with others and do things they may not be able to do in the physical world.
Released in May 2018, the film tells the story of 13 global citizens and their avatars as they transcend their various disabilities through artistic expression and making a home for themselves in the VR Metaverse – Second Life, Sansar and High Fidelity. You can read more about the film and Donna and Tom’s work in my articles: Our Digital Selves: living within a virtualised world (2018) and Exploring disability, new cultures and self in a virtual realm (2016).
As a part of this year’s Monarch Film Festival, Our Digital Selves is in the running for Best Documentary. As such, the film will be shown on Friday, December 7th, 2018: 5:35 PM, Pacific Time, And those wishing to attend in person can purchase tickets view the link at the start of this paragraph. For those who cannot see the film at the festival, it can be seen via Draxtor’s You Tube channel, and I’ve embedded it below as a reminder – if you’ve not see it before, now it your chance to catch up with a truly remarkable documentary.
The other nominees for Best Documentary at the festival are:
- Moksha, by Jennifer Killian, a film that follows three Nepali women who have dedicated themselves to spreading the joy that mountain biking can give to women across the Himalayas.
Up to Snuff by Mark Maxey, following the life of American musician and composer W.G. Snuffy Walden.
Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? by Zachary Stauffer, recording the efforts of Nicole Van Dorn to discover what actually happened in the helicopter accident that killed her husband, Lt. Wes Van Dorn.
- Rodents of Unusual Size by Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler, and Jeff Springer, tracing the work of fisherman Thomas Gonzales as he faces the threat of hordes of monstrous 20 pound swamp rats that are eating up the coastal wetlands that protects Thomas and his town of Delacroix Island from hurricanes.
Congratulations to Drax and all involved in Our Digital Lives, and wishing them all the best for the film festival.
With thanks to Eliot for the heads-up.