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One-on-one with Filmmaker Mitch McGlocklin - AI and Data Collection in Film

Mitch McGlocklin (1990) is a U.S. visual artist that works in live action and animation.


Mitch mcglocklin forever filmmaker film festival
Forever (2020)

iFilmFestival: Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.

McGlocklin : “My most important film so far is my most recent one, "Forever". It is a very personal film to me as it tells my true experience with AI and data collection. It is my first short film that I have put on the festival circuit and it has garnered a lot of attention. The film was made with a very experimental technique that utilized LiDAR to capture real spaces and people. The resulting point clouds are then colored and animated for the film. This process intersects the content of the film in that LiDAR is used to "see" us as humans.”


iFilmFestival: What were the key challenges making it?

McGlocklin : “The biggest challenge was making it so personal. I really put myself into the film by revealing some deeply personal details. While it was a huge technically feat, the story and voice-over were much more difficult to reveal.”


iFilmFestival: What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?

McGlocklin : “I am proud that I made a film that is very engaging by only using point clouds. I am surprised how many people have connected to the film considering all depictions of humans are just a smattering of dots in black space. It is incredible to me how empathetic people can be to my personal story while watching little points of color dance around on screen.”


iFilmFestival: How did you get involved in filmmaking?

McGlocklin : “I was always fascinated by the ability of film to convey emotion in such a deep and moving way. I remember as a child I could empathize with characters on screen so smoothly. As I got older I became interested in photography and that naturally led to filmmaking. I went to school for many years in various art and film programs. My work always dealt with using visual effects and new technology to tell my stories. I also felt that I can only truly tell my own stories, so I always injected myself into my films. Film is how I best express myself.”


Trailer: Forever (2020)



iFilmFestival: What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?

McGlocklin : “I am currently developing a feature documentary about digital data loss and data recovery and how it parallels human memory. I have also recently become interested in NFT crypto art. I am making small animated gifts to sell on the market in my spare time.”


iFilmFestival: What role do film festivals play?

McGlocklin : “Festivals are great for my work to find its audience. Festivals provide curated work to a more niche interests. I am always blown away by the shorts I see at festivals and they inspire me to keep creating and exploring. It is also a great way to meet other artists and filmmakers, as well as distributers and producers.”


Mitch McGlocklin filmmaker film festival
Mitch McGlocklin

iFilmFestival: What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?

McGlocklin : “Try to find festivals that fit with your film. There are so many unique festivals out there that cater to certain genres or themes. If you do the homework you can find your audience well.”


iFilmFestival: How do you see the future of film?

McGlocklin : “I think we will see more independent films that are made by sole creators. The tools to finish and polish films are becoming more widely available and the knowledge to use those tools disseminates more and more each year. I think it is great that people are given the chance to tell their stories all on their own with such a powerful medium. Both the tools and the platforms for sharing films grows exponentially. I also think we will see more unique ways of image creation. Technology is exploding and there are so many new tools to create with.”


iFilmFestival: Which filmmaker do you admire and why?

McGlocklin : “Jim Jarmusch has been a huge inspiration to me. He has the ability to make engaging and entertaining films with such simple interactions. His characters come across as very authentic and well developed without revealing too much about themselves.”


iFilmFestival: What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?

McGlocklin : “I saw 'Users' by Natalia Almada at Sundance and really enjoyed it. She created a very poetic and thoughtful documentary with beautiful imagery. It reminds me a lot of Chris Marker's work. She weaves a voice-over with exquisitely composed long takes that explores the way we fit with technology. It had everything I love in a film.”

Thank you Mitch for answering our questions!


Interview by iFilmFestival on 28 February 2021.