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by Lela Scott MacNeil
June 4th, 2010

This Saturday night at Rooftop Films is all about the truths hidden in our Fears and Fantasies.The program is filled with short films that will disturb, dazzle, delight…and prove that loosing your grip on reality isn’t half bad.

One of these off-beat gems is Ledo and Ix Go to Town, part of a series of animated shorts that answer the question “What do video game characters do when we’re not around?” As director and Rooftop Films alumnus Emily Carmichael puts it, the Ledo and Ix’s adventures are “a sort of eight-bit tribute to Waiting for Godot.”

Rooftop spoke to Emily about Zelda chicken homages and the hard knock life of having a soul in a video game world.

Rooftop Films: Describe your film, for those who haven’t seen it.

Emily Carmichael: Ledo and Ix Go to Town is the second adventure of Ledo and Ix, two characters in a very primitive 8-bit video game. Ix is a dreamer and Ledo is very stoic–they’re kind of the only ones with souls in this horribly, humorously bleak environment. They get lost, they bicker and chat with each other, they wonder what the world is all about.

RF: How did these characters come to be?

EC: Well, in a future episode they talk about their childhoods, and it turns out Ledo has a very generic hero origin story–much like you would see in the intro to a fantasy adventure video game. So they were clearly born into their environment, though the exact point when they gained consciousness will probably always be unclear–since how could they know?

RF: Can you say more about the genre of video game that inspired the film?

EC: Sure–RPGs or roll-playing games are usually fantasy or sci-fi epics where the unfolding story is one of the main reasons to play the game. The fighting tends to depend more on strategy than dexterity, making them popular with folks outside the “hyperactive boy” demographic. The Final Fantasy games are the paradigmatic entries in the genre, but some people classify the Legend of Zelda games as RPGs too.

RF: Tell us more about the game that Ledo and Ix are characters in. Is it any good?

EC: No, I think it’s a pretty mediocre game! The plot points are all really cliched (lots of princesses to rescue) and the game play is really broken so the Ledo and Ix trigger the cutscenes in the wrong order if their route is even slightly unorthodox. In a later episode there’s even a quest rendered impossible due to careless title-safing.

RF: Tell us about your next project.

EC: Well, I’m working on making more episodes of Ledo and Ix, which you can find out more about at our website (www.kidcandrive.com). I’m also writing a feature called The Fate of the Universe which has some of the same action/adventure spoof elements that are in Ledo and Ix. And Josh Hetzler and I (he’s the producer of Ledo and Ix) have an awesome live action short in post-production called The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting.

RF: We’re thrilled that this will be your third film at rooftop–what keeps you coming back?

EC: Rooftop is awesome fixture of New York Summer recreation–first of all, tons of people show up and tons of people show up who aren’t the usual festival crowd. They’re just looking for something fun to do at night, and it’s your movie!

RF: Are the chickens in the film an homage to the Zelda games in which you can throw chickens?

EC: Oh yes, definitely! Chicken homage!!

Meet Ledo and Ix at our “Fears and Fantasies” show TOMORROW (Saturday, June 5th) at 8:00pm.

Tickets and more information here.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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