Having recently opened an office in London to add to their HQ in Montreal and subsidiary in LA, we speak to Moment Factory’s Creative Director Sakchin Bessette about what makes them tick…
How and why did you establish Moment Factory?
Moment Factory began because we were following amazement. In the beginning, I was VJing at nightclubs and raves and at after-hours parties… doing a lot of slideshows in the days before I had access to all the digital equipment and technology available now. One thing led to another and a core group of friends rented a small loft space together, each chipping in a little to pay the rent. Slowly, we started getting more gigs and contracts, with Cirque du Soleil for example; then we got into rock shows and permanent installations. Our studio was born because we were following our passion for visual performance and new styles of storytelling. Perhaps we were also fortunate to be part of a revolution in multimedia arts and at the forefront of something new. Now, we have approximately 150 people working full time at Moment Factory; a multidisciplinary talent pool that collaborates together and cross pollinates.
How would you describe Moment Factory?
Moment Factory is a new media, art and entertainment studio that specialises in creating shows and destinations. ‘we do it in public’ is our motto because we believe in creating engaging experiences in public spaces. Though there are many great companies and people developing customised entertainment for personal devices, Moment Factory is dedicated to creating new types of entertainment in public, where people from all walks of life gather together and cross paths; whether that’s at rock shows, or in a natural landscape, or at airports. What we really care about is connecting people physically to each other through the experiences we create for them.
What has been your favourite project?
It’s hard to choose only one, but I often say that my favourite project is the studio; that is, the people that make up Moment Factory who are learning and growing together and really pushing each other to create completely new experiences.
Ultimately, we learn from one project and we apply it to the next. More and more, we have been taking on turnkey projects: driving the creative, technical design, installation and the operations. We are also taking on permanent infrastructure projects. Therefore, I’m super excited by our project Foresta Lumina, an illuminated trail in the forest where people can journey and discover various installations within a nighttime environment. I’m equally proud of our collaboration with the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is an outstanding permanent piece; it is very exciting to be able to give birth to something that will last. I feel like we have really pushed innovation in the rock show world by collaborating with various bands, lighting designers, stage designers and show directors. For me, it is extremely motivating to see Moment Factory’s culture grow as the medium and our audiences expand.
You have opened an office in London. What’s the reason?
The choice was a natural one: London is known for being a creative hub and for its cutting-edge entertainment. By opening a new office in London, we are looking to nurture relationships with existing clients, as well as to build new ones in the industry with partners, freelancers and local providers.
Who is heading the office and what’s their background?
The new office is headed up by Simon Lupini, who has many years’ experience working in the entertainment and events industries both in the UK and abroad, for example as the Head of Events for the Royal Albert Hall and as the Company Manager for Cirque du Soleil. Simon was a producer on Moment Factory’s first original theatrical and multimedia show on board the Royal Caribbean International’s new ship, the Quantum of the Seas. At the London office, he will soon be joined by a creative director.
You recently gave the keynote address at IALD’s Enlighten Americas conference in Baltimore. How did you find the experience?
It was a great opportunity to be among talented, knowledgeable and amazing individuals who have been the force behind iconic architectural lighting design projects. We had really great discussions. It’s not every day that I have the opportunity to be in the company of so many people who are as passionate as I am about light.
What do you think the professions of lighting design and multimedia arts could learn from each other?
I have always been fascinated by light and amazed by its mysteries. However, sometimes as lighting professionals we see light as something scientific; as something that has lumens and brightness and colour and shape, not as something that is magical and fundamental to life. At Moment Factory, we don’t work necessarily with code specifications and safety requirements, for example with respect to light intensities in public spaces; we work with light for entertainment and to create emotion for people.
So, there is a difference between how we use light as a medium and how architectural lighting designers use light as a medium. However, these are definitely complementary disciplines. I am in this industry because of my fascination with light and I think it’s important to collaborate with all kinds of lighting designers.
That’s why when we were commissioned to illuminate the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, a project that will launch in 2017, we invited a group of independent lighting designers to work with us. So far, this collaboration, while at times challenging, has proved rewarding because our collaborators have brought to the table a whole different set of approaches and points of views.