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Sundance Film Festival: Talkin' tech with Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The medium may change, but the message can remain the same.

That's what actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has been in the movie biz most of his 28 years, says about the way advancing technologies are altering the film industry.

"Changing technology always changes the way art goes, but the creative spirit is the same," Gordon-Levitt said during the Sundance Film Festival's opening day "You could compare it to when movies got sound. For a while, everyone said, 'Oh, it's a fad, these talkies.'

But now we always make movies with sound.' But that doesn't mean there aren't lots of the same components in today's sound movies that we used in old silent movies."

Gordon-Levitt has embraced that idea with his online production company,, which was part of a Sundance exhibit on innovative techniques on filmmaking at the New Frontier on Main performance and installation space.

On Gordon-Levitt's site, artists from all over the world come together to create and share vidoes, photos and other works of art — and then the production company can use those artists' bits of media to create even larger works (with contributing artists gettng profits, of course). For example, a short film being screened at Sundance features a girl walking through flying daises; the original daisy image is a user's photo of her garden.

"In the past, media was an object that industry would produce and then the whole rest of the world would passively see it," Gordon-Levitt said. "And now it's become an action, it's a community among everybody in the world. And I think it's going to result in unprecidentally cool works of art."

Also of interest at the exhibit: Matthew Moore's "Lifecycles," a multimedia installation designed to teach produce shoppers about the process of crop production; Jens Franke and Thomas Glaser's "The Earthwalk," a giant Google Earth map that works that's controlled by users' feet; and Eric Gradman's "Cloud Mirror," a "magic mirror" that shows users' their Facebook, Twitter and other social media photos and posts on a video screen.

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