Albany Film Festival Projection Mapping

Coming to the University at Albany March 2020

Dazzling illuminations are projected on the facade of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Rouen, France each summer.

Coming in March, 2020, the University at Albany's Science Library will be the setting for the region's first-ever projection mapping event.   

A 'wow factor' to kick off the Albany Film Festival

UAlbany's Science Library facade to be transformed into a four-story animation display

The New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany is joining forces with a local production company, an Albany-born film composer and a Capital Region arts philanthropist to develop a dazzling, large-scale public projection mapping show that the capital city has never before experienced.

Using sophisticated computer mapping software and advanced high-performance projector technology, the first-ever projection mapping display in Albany will illuminate the 195-foot wide, 45-foot high exterior of the Science Library on the UAlbany uptown campus.


This narrative light show will be produced in conjunction with the inaugural NYS Writers Institute Albany Film Festival on March 28, 2020. 

The free immersive visual experience will begin as darkness falls on four consecutive nights, viewable from great distances and accessible to thousands of UAlbany students, faculty and staff and community visitors. The program will feature spectacular 3D animation and a compelling narrative that celebrates the unique cultural history of the Capital Region and Albany’s contribution to film and literary history.

"We wanted a wow factor to draw attention and interest to our first Albany Film Festival,” said Paul Grondahl, director of the Writers Institute. "This projection mapping display will highlight a new kind of visual storytelling. The distinctive Modernist architecture of our campus will form a massive canvas for a fresh and innovative merging of story, technology, animation and filmmaking. We are proud of this creative collaboration and how it expands the Writers Institute’s mission of community engagement while celebrating storytelling in all its forms.”

Slideshow: Projection mapping around the world

A permanent projection mapping display on Chicago’s theMART, formerly known as the Merchandise Mart. 

It started with a trip to France 

Arts philanthropists Karen and Chet Opalka initiated the idea of a projection mapping public art display and their $75,000 challenge grant made it possible to launch the project at UAlbany.


"Karen and I were blown away by a projection mapping light show we viewed on the Gothic facade of the Rouen Cathedral during a trip to France a couple summers ago," Chet Opalka said. "We said wouldn’t it be awesome if we could do something like that in Albany?"

Opalka intends this first-of-its-kind project to stir pride in Albany, celebrate the unique history of the Capital Region, and highlight the strength and excellence of the creative economy in the local area.

"This unique event will literally light up the night sky and make a statement that Albany is a city with ambition and confidence,” Opalka said. "I am challenging others who believe in the transformative power of art to step up and join me in making a financial contribution to sponsor this exciting initiative." How to donate to the NYS Writers Institute.

The magic behind the display

MagicWig Productions, Inc. of Colonie will develop the creative content for the projection mapping display. MagicWig won a competitive process that involved proposals from firms outside the Capital Region and beyond New York State.


MagicWig Productions is an Emmy Award-winning creative agency that produces high-end video for commercials, film and television. They also have experience staging large-scale conventions and special events.

MagicWig principals Justin Maine and Daniel Swinton, award-winning filmmakers who have produced a wide range of creative work, will be leading the creative content development, with technical expertise from co-founder and staging producer Don Fisher.

“It’s a distinct honor to work on a project that celebrates our hometown,” said Maine, president of MagicWig Productions, pictured at right. 

"We are ardent supporters of the Writers Institute and its programming. Helping launch their Albany Film Festival is an exciting opportunity for us to bring spectacular visual storytelling content to the local community."

MagicWig’s production will be accompanied by an original score composed by Joe Kraemer, an Albany native who has achieved considerable success in Hollywood with scores for films such as "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" and "Jack Reacher." Kraemer has collaborated with MagicWig on numerous film projects, including the award-winning documentary "So Right So Smart."

How does projection mapping work?

Projection mapping, also called video mapping, is a projection technique used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection.


The process involves hundreds of hours of work combining art and technology. The Writers Institute staff will work alongside the team at MagicWig to create a unique visual concept. Computer technicians will write the software to map that interactive display to the "screen," in this case the four-story wall of the UAlbany Science Library, taking into account windows and architectural elements. 

Here's a great example of projection mapping on a "non-flat" surface: the Sydney Opera House.

Help support this unique and first-of-its-kind Albany art project 

Work on the Albany Film Festival Projection Mapping Event has already begun and we invite to you to join us for this free public art presentation in late March, 2020, at the University at Albany. Please support this unique event with a donation to the NYS Writers Institute.

Coming to UAlbany March, 2020

Created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, the Albany Film Festival on Saturday, March 28, 2020, is a natural outgrowth of the Writers Institute’s mission to be one of the nation’s preeminent literary presenting organizations.

We will host filmmakers and screen films that explore the craft of diverse storytelling in cinema, foster a deeper understanding of social justice and celebrate the human experience in all its dimensions.

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Full-length and short film screenings of new work from aspiring student filmmakers to acclaimed directors will be shown, along with conversations and Q&As that encourage audience participation. Classic films will also be part of the Festival, augmenting the Writers Institute’s long-running and highly regarded Classic Film Series. 


Visit for updates and latest news.

NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

(518) 442-5620

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