Festivals – France
Industry Report: Virtual Reality
The expanded second Paris Virtual Film Festival about to kick off
by Vassilis Economou
- A broad selection of more than 20 experiences, an extra industry day, new challenges and more events are on the cards for the biggest VR event in Paris
A broader selection of international films in competition, brand-new installations, Q&A sessions, round-table debates and one extra day dedicated to the industry are the main attractions of the second Paris Virtual Film Festival, which takes place from 30 June–2 July. The festival, which was created last year by the Forum des images, has expanded its programme for the public and professionals alike, as it focuses on new sensorial experiences and aims to explore a series of exciting innovations related to virtual reality.
The festival will open with the world premiere of a virtual show that blends holographic techniques with cinema, staged by Adrénaline. The 20 experiences that will be screened mainly focus on topics related to social awareness, and they include: Indefinite by Darren Emerson, a journey into the uncertainty and despair of the UK’s immigration detention system; Zero Days VR by Scatter, Yasmin Elayat and Elie Zananiri, a documentary that places the viewer inside the invisible world of computer viruses; A New Reality, Along My River by Burmese photographer Minzayar Oo, which immerses audiences in the city of Yangon; Deprogrammed by Mia Donovan, a documentary about indoctrination and ideological brainwashing; Death Tolls by Iranian director Ali Eslami, which places the audience at the centre of terrorist attacks in the Middle East; and Ground Beneath Her by Gabo Arora, which follows a young Nepalese woman after the 2015 earthquake.
Some other interesting selected experiences are the 2017 Oscar nominee Pearl by Patrick Osbourne; Dear Angelica by Saschka Unseld, an animation entirely painted by hand; Planet ∞ by Momoko Seto, which creates a world in ruins where only fungi and mould grow in the middle of gigantic dried insects’ bodies; Miyubi by Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, a 40-minute comedy set on Christmas Eve 1982; Alteration by Jérôme Blanquet, a thriller about artificial intelligence; and Les Falaises De V by Laurent Bazin and Line Bruceña, where the viewer is invited to share the life of a prisoner who is about to trade his eyes for years of freedom.
Sixteen of the experiences and installations are also in competition for the jury’s Grand Prix (Golden Mask), and this year’s international members are Alejandro Jodorowksy, director, novelist and graphic-novel author; Josza Anjembe, director and writer; Olivier Bibas, producer; Cédric Bonin, producer; and Davy Chou, director and producer. Also, another jury will award the best French-language VR experience, in partnership with TV5 Monde.
In conjunction with the screenings, the festival organises the VR Lab, a theoretical and practical workshop for new filmmakers and producers, plus the first VR Challenge, co-produced with the INA and in partnership with Uni-VR.
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