'Meow Wolf': How to Build an Immersive World Through Film

Not only is the world-building culture of Meow Wolf something filmmakers can identify with, it may also be a movement you can join!

A group of underground artists with a fiercely unique aesthetic for world-building, the loosely associated members of Meow Wolf started as outsiders in Santa Fe. They rented derelict office spaces to create art and hosted costumed basement parties that made people think they were some kind of cult. Harnessing the collective power of their individual talents, Meow Wolf has gone from obscurity to a tsunami splash into the American art world as powerful new players in immersive experiences. Their journey is the subject of the new documentary, Meow Wolf: Origin Story, that premiered at SXSW and is now on its film festival run.

As you get to see in the new documentary, everything changed for Meow Wolf when the group took a big risk and bought a bowling alley with the help of George RR Martin, no less! They proceeded to convert it into a new kind of non-linear storytelling experience they called The House of Eternal Return. Meow Wolf hoped that at least a few people would want to come and explore their creation.

As it turns out, in the first year, over 400,000 people came through their doors! Now, Meow Wolf finds itself as an entity that can expand and hire more creative people to keep exploring the creative potential (including filmmakers). The entertainment division and Creative Studios have thus far started producing music videos, have created VR features, and a quick look at their hiring page shows a lot more interesting stuff to come.

Have you been to The House of Eternal Return? Meow Wolf is currently expanding to Colorado and Las Vegas, and here is a glimpse into the Meow Wolf experience in Santa Fe:

In this conversation, I got to sit down with Morgan Capps and Jilann Spitzmiller, two talented filmmakers who directed Meow Wolf: Origin Story, and who also happen to be film directors in the developing entertainment wing of Meow Wolf.

Topics we discuss:

  • Working as a Filmmaker in Santa Fe with Meow Wolf
  • How to choose subjects for the film from the ‘radically inclusive’ collective
  • How to achieve visual aesthetics that mirror the subjects
  • The New and Exciting Atmosphere of Meow Wolf and its growing entertainment division

Keep tabs on where you can see Meow Wolf: Origin Story next here (and stay tuned for a very creative theatrical run in November!) If the collective can continue leveraging its success the way it hopes, Meow Wolf could become a bigger player in creating new stuff in the entertainment industry.

If you’re headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico anytime soon, check out the experience Meow Wolf is creating for yourself and be sure to check out their events calendar for very cool stuff that includes live bands and occasional filmmaking workshops.

Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.

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This episode was edited by Jon Fusco.

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Your Comment


I live in Santa Fe, and I must say Meow Wolf is essentially like a lot of modern art: Much sound and fury!!!! Unfortunately signifying NOTHING.

August 20, 2018 at 11:12AM

You voted '+1'.
Rory S-B

Well I'm no strong-arm for modern art, but when I went to House of Eternal Return, I interpreted it as a magical science fiction world-building experience to tease the imagination. Also arguably signifying nothing, but then, you could sure lump filmmaking in there too!

August 27, 2018 at 8:58PM

Oakley Anderson-Moore