2016 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE BLACKOUT EXPERIMENTS

blackoutToday brings us to the last of this year’s Sundance nonfiction, beginning with the sole doc in the Midnight section: THE BLACKOUT EXPERIMENTS, Rich Fox’s exploration of the secret world of an individualized immersive fright experience and its adherents.

Festival Section:

Sundance Program Description:

You arrive at a secret location at a precise time, prompted by a mysterious email. You must follow the instructions closely. Once inside, disturbing visions begin. Unspeakable acts befall you – often frightening, sometimes sensual, possibly painful – each stimulating your deepest fears. And when it’s over, you are changed, abandoned, and left wondering what is real and what was merely a game.

In a culture that has embraced immersive theatre and interactive entertainment, the rise of extreme haunts such as the popular horror experience called Blackout has become essential to an obsessive audience that hungers to test the very limits of the dark unknown. Rich Fox’s otherworldly narrative-driven documentary shrewdly seeks out the survivors of some of Blackout’s most intense simulations, revealing an underbelly of private rituals and personal paranoia. Obliterating the line between the real and the imagined, this hybrid experiment dares its victims to stare into the hidden pleasures of a waking nightmare, and then it stares right back.

Some Background:
Director/Editor: Rich Fox
Fox makes his directorial debut in Park City with his sophomore documentary feature; his first, TRIBUTE, executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, screened at San Francisco and Chicago. He was one of the editors on Sundance alumni narrative BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN (2009).

Producer: Kris Curry
In addition to numerous reality television producing credits, Curry previously produced and co-directed TRIBUTE with Fox.

Why You Should Watch:
Far more than providing broader audiences with a visceral, immersion into the Blackout – a disturbing, indelible experience in which only a relatively small number of individuals have been able to personally participate – Fox enters into the minds of those most affected by it. The result is a portrait not only of obsession but of the search for personal limits and self-awareness.

More Info:

For Sundance screening date and time, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2016 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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