I love me some video games. We're still seeing plenty of ground-breaking stuff in film, but I think the interactive space is really where the most creatively exciting things are happening these days. Not only are the games themselves impressive, but the transmedia elements -- when entertainment in one media crosses over to another with a different story, filling out a larger picture of the franchise's universe -- help bring everything together.
Enter machinima. The burgeoning art form involves using in-game assets to craft standalone stories, typically having little to no connection with the source material. Red Vs. Blue is perhaps one of the most well-known examples, a long-running series of comedy shorts built on the Halo game engine. The latest may very well be a first: I know other machinima projects have gone for feature-length presentations, but Matthieu Weschler's newly released 90-minute film The Trashmaster, built on the Grand Theft Auto IV engine, is a competent work of alternative cinema.
Weschler wears his influences proudly. The camera work, the dialogue, even the music mirrors what you would expect of a Martin Scorsese gangland flick. This is an homage with a video game wrapper. The voice acting maybe isn't on the level of a Pixar production, but watching The Trashmaster, it's plain to see that someone who understands and appreciates the art of filmmaking was at the helm. With more and more games offering editing tools to the end user and allowing for the creation of user-generated content, hopefully Weschler's efforts will inspire others to pursue projects of this type. Very cool stuff; check it out below.