Call for Talents: The R/O Institute Is Looking for the Next Generation of Storytellers
by Ernesto Leotta
- CANNES NEXT: The 2016 edition of NEXT draws to a close with some great news – the birth of the R/O Institute
As dusk started to fall over the NEXT week, a new kind of “Bat-Signal” was lit up by Cineuropa’s editor-in-chief, Domenico La Porta. Instead of the well-known bat, though, the sky hosted a different symbol, this time summoning more than one single hero: R/O.
Its French pronunciation, /ˈeʀo/ (lit. "hero"), suggests a true call to arms in order to rescue something precious – in this case, intellectual property (IP). La Porta's new venture is, de facto, an incubator for the next generation of storytellers, aimed at providing them with the right tools to develop and market their ideas and projects.
After a swift introduction by Wallimage's "man in the white glasses", Philippe Reynaert, La Porta highlighted the importance of IP by picking the aforementioned DC Comics winged hero as an example. "The whole concept behind Batman was inspired by Zorro. While the latter met with mild success only in the 1990s, thanks to Antonio Banderas' movies, the former saw its success gradually escalate over its 50-year life span, culminating in a record-breaking PlayStation videogame. So technology matters when designing a project, but content is key. The Smurfs was a Belgian comic strip, but no one knows about that – kids only know the two 3D movies about the little blue men, and only 0.2% of the copyright revenues came back to their mother country. The R/O Institute aims to keep the project IP in the hands of its rightful owner, without selling it to bigger companies."
Putting the story at the centre of every creation, the Institute will help its participants to develop a transmedia approach, focusing on the subject's mythology, story world and characters, as well as providing them with a social-media strategy in order to build and activate their community.
Furthermore, a gamified app will allow the "student" to evaluate his project, reach goals, get ranked, rewarded and even communicate with fellow creators, especially resident ones. That's right – the R/O Institute also features a residency hub (more of a high-profile hotel) called the R/Ω (pronounced /ʀɔm/), based in Charleroi, Belgium, and including a Creative Sandbox in which technicians, developers and artists can gain access to the most advanced technology in order to develop, prototype and design their content.
"Our website has just been launched here at NEXT! Feel free to apply by sending us your story and telling us the way you think it can be adapted – you might be one of our 40-plus selected projects. We're looking for heroes, but not only male ones – if no female hero shows up, there can't be no R/O Institute!" joked La Porta.
For more information about the R/O Institute, and to apply, click here.