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Cock Byte: Masters of Machinima, April 25

49th San Francisco International Film Festival at PFA

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
9:30 p.m. Cock Byte: Masters of Machinima

The emerging genre of machinima—CGI animation made using the 3-D graphics engines from video games—is still in its infancy, but already it has its first resident geniuses: Austin-based Rooster Teeth Productions, the makers of the episodic online sketch comedies Red vs Blue: Blood Gulch Chronicles and The Strangerhood. Launched on the Web in 2003 as a five-minute goof on the blockbuster sci-fi shooter game Halo, Blood Gulch Chronicles has long since transcended its DIY fan-film origins to become an international phenomenon. Part locker-room humor, part Beckett-like absurdist tragicomedy, part wicked vivisection of game culture and sci-fi and action films and games, each episode features spot-on comic dialogue, sharp editing, and inventive direction. Now in its fifth season, BGC is downloaded by several hundred thousand viewers worldwide each week and has been written about in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other major publications. The Strangerhood, the team's second outing, is a similarly hilarious, absurdist comedy series made using characters and settings from the world's most popular game, The Sims. Rooster Teeth has also made numerous occasional machinima pieces, including mock PSAs, marketing pieces for game companies and concert videos for Barenaked Ladies. This festival program, a sort of Rooster Teeth greatest hits, will feature the finest moments from Blood Gulch Chronicles and The Strangerhood, rarely seen one-offs, outtakes, and new work with several members of the zany troupe in attendance onstage to present their work and conduct a Q&A following the screening.

—Graham Leggat

• Written by Burnie Burns, Matt Hullum. Photographed by Burns, Hullum. With Burns, Yomary Cruz, Dan Godwin, Joel Heyman. (80 mins)