[b] By: Ethan Madsen[/b]
“If they have the opportunity to shoot you, they will,” a character says angrily in broken English subtitles. “They will do it because we are different.”
Making waves in the machinima community is a 13-minute film titled “The French Democracy”, which was created with the Peter Molyneaux-founded Lionhead Studio’s recent PC release, ‘The Movies’. The virtual film, created by Alex Chan, 27, who lives in the suburbs of Paris, is inspired by the events and struggles that led up to recent riots in Paris.
‘The Movies’ puts the player at the helm of running and managing his or her own fictitious movie studio. Players can go through the entirety of the game without ever having to make a film, but it is necessary to play through the game to unlock features that allow you to create your own movies.
The film’s story details the daily lives of French Muslim citizens of African descent who face discrimination from police and elsewhere, unable to secure jobs. The tensions reach a climax that spills into violence and riots in the streets around France when news spreads that two teenagers were electrocuted to death in a transformer station while they were hiding from the police.
In reality, similar events occurred. According to a comprehensive wikipedia article on the subject, the electrocution death of the two teenagers on October 27 triggered a fortnight of rioting throughout communities all around France, where “8,973 vehicles were torched…2,888 arrests [were made], and 126 police injured”. Some fatalities also occurred as a result of the rioting.
Webmaster of Machinima.com, Hugh Hancock, states that “The French Democracy” is a “a fantastic step forward”. Indeed, some fans and figures in the community are throwing such praise around, labeling it as one of the first, seriously political machinima films to grace the insofar obscure medium. Machinima as a film genre is making a film by the rendering of computer-generated imagery (CGI) using low-end 3D engines (most prevalently from video games) as opposed to high-end engines used by animation studios like Pixar and Dreamworks.
Chan notes that “the main intention of this movie is to bring people to think about what really happened in my country by trying to show the starting point and some causes of these riots.”