Installation of the Week: Everyone’s a Critic … Even the Tribeca Film Festival ReActor


The Tribeca Film Festival, co-founded by screen legend Robert De Niro in 2002, began as a philanthropic endeavor to restore life, art and culture to the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca not long after the September 11 World Trade Center attacks and to celebrate New York City as one of the world’s most beloved cinematic fault lines. Since then, the event has flourished into a staple that now draws an estimated three million attendees and generates $600 million annually. But, in the last couple years, The Tribeca Film Festival has also emerged as a hub for virtual reality, interactive installations and other experiential technologies that serve to evolve traditional storytelling.   

The headliner in this department is an interactive machine dubbed the ReActor, which combines voice and facial recognition technology with motion sensors to record people as they act out famous examples of scenery-chewing from film history. Scenes choices include some of the more memorable moments from crowd pleasers like When Harry Met Sally, Dirty Dancing, The Devil Wears Prada, The Sixth Sense, Jerry Maguire and The Empire Strikes Back.

Each participant gets three takes, and the installation sends participants YouTube links of their best performances to share with friends before rating your acting chops in three crucial categories and deciding whether or not you deserve tickets to the festival. Judging by the scores displayed in the video below, ReActor seems to be a rather tough critic.

This celebration of digital media is all part of a 10-day experiential showcase and ad campaign to commemorate the festival’s 15th anniversary, which will be held at the Tribeca Film Festival hub in Manhattan’s Spring Studios.

“Aside from being good, plain fun, the ReActor is a living representation of the kinds of things you will see at the festival,” Tribeca’s vice president of marketing Bari Komitee told AdFreak. “Tribeca has been at the forefront of interactive storytelling—from immersive experiences to virtual reality—for a number of years. We wanted to get the community excited about what they can be a part of during the festival, and the ReActor sets the stage for that.”

The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 13-24, and in the meantime, the ReActor will be making the rounds at relevant Tribeca theaters and other NYC locations.

About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa,, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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