Michael is a screenwriter, transmedia director, and expert in place-based storytelling. He has a M.S. degree in Comparative Media Studies from M.I.T. where he specialized in developing multiplatform documentary films. In 2006 Michael founded Walking Cinema (www.walkingcinema.org), an interactive storytelling studio comprised of filmmakers, developers, and designers specializing in cinematic applications for mobile devices. The company has developed cross-platform apps for MTV, PBS, the Venice Biennale, Audible and many museum and broadcast clients. Untravel’s 2009 project WALKING CINEMA: MURDER ON BEACON HILL (see: www.parkmanmurder.com) extended a PBS American Experience documentary into the streets of Boston as a mobile app. The app uses historic sites, interactive installations, and GPS guided video to rehash the details of a 160-year-old unsolved murder. The project was the first iPhone app to win an award at a major film festival, garnered international press, and has been continuously running in Boston for 8 years. In 2013 Michael directed the Gold Muse-winning WALKING CINEMA: POSTS FROM GLOUCESTER. Built in tandem with a $1.5M Harborwalk along America’s oldest fishing port, this handheld documentary and series of installations recounts one local’s channeling her family’s traditions via a series of postcards from the past.
Michael is currently working on WALKING CINEMA: MUSEUM OF THE HIDDEN CITY, a hybrid popup museum/documentary about San Francisco’s current tech. boom. The story blends smartphone photography, citizen science, and first-person narratives in an immersive experience of the fastest changing city in the U.S. In 2017 the project was awarded a $100K grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Epstein is also created and is produces an original podcast for Audible’s Originals platform. Titled “Booksteps,” the show is a series of walks through neighborhoods that inspire authors’ writings. He is currently in development with Audible/Amazon on another series about a Philosopher/Artist who becomes a “disruption” consultant to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
In the fall of 2014, Epstein took a position as Adjunct Professor at the California College of Art, teaching two interdisciplinary studios: “Landmarks, Memory, and Mobile Media” and “The Peripatetic Wunderkammer.”