The 2016 Cannes film festival kicks off one week today and the event is embracing virtual reality like never before.
The festival, which runs from 11th May to 20th May, is already a more streaming affair than usual, with five of Amazon’s films screening over the 10 days. Away from the red carpet, the industry arm of Cannes – the Marché du Film – is also increasingly oriented around digital video, with its NEXT strand dedicated to the future of cinema. Before now, NEXT talks have been given by Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and this year, a speech will be delivered by the owner of new VOD service Flix Premiere.
As NEXT expands to a new location, at the entrance of the Village International on the Pantiero side, it will embrace virtuality reality, in particular, with innovating exhibitors, live-experiments, screenings and installations all lined up for a two-day event – the festival’s first ever “VR Days”.
Michel Reilhac, artistic consultant for the VR Days at NEXT, comments: “2016 is the birth year of VR as a new media accessible for everyone. I am
amazed to see how artists, filmmakers, animators, illustrators, writers… are already grasping the
platform and contributing to the creation of a new language: the immersive storytelling where the
spectator experiences empathy with the story, where the story becomes a total experience. This rich
diversity is making virtual reality as a new art form. The VR Days prolific program is the witness of its
Jérôme Paillard, Executive Director of the Marché du Film, says: “We see a boom of requests and opportunities this year for NEXT. The fast evolution of the market is a catalyst for innovations from every domain, from financing to marketing. NEXT will be almost a village by itself where producers and professionals from around the world will be able to nurture. They will be able to discover a large spectrum of topics about the challenges and changes that
the cinema industry today is facing. And with a spectacular VR installation they will be able not only to have a first experience in 360 degrees filming but also discover great films.”
This year, NEXT will have a Conference Room which will offer to those registered with the Marché du Film special presentations and talks every day, from interactive films to a look at VR storytelling and VOD
opportunities for producers and sales agents.
“At NEXT, VR will be a real cinematographic experience,” say the organisers. “Screenings will be programmed every hour where 30 spectators seated in rotating chairs will be able to watch simultaneously the same film and share their feelings.”
Right after each screening, a discussion is organized with the filmmakers or creators to also
discover the production and distribution models for VR films. In addition, two VR projects in the making as Fan Club by Vincent Ravalec (a-Bahn) and NEXT by Olivier Pesch (Samsa Films) will be presented. Oculus Story Studio will also come and present its own model of storytelling and latest success in VR.
Julie Bergeron, Head of Industry Programs at the Marché du Film, adds: “NEXT pavilion and its programming are exploding in sync with the arrival of VR and interactive films on the market. It was important for us to find a way of showing these films as a collective experience
and offer a space where they can be presented in a market environment, not only as an individual experience. With the VR screening room, we are pioneering the possibility to book a market screening and offer a collective viewing of VR to the Marché participants.”
VR Days will run from Sunday 15th to Monday 16th May, with screenings of more than 35 VR films from around the globe. To access the screenings, Marché du Film badge holders will have to take their red carpet style invitations the day before at the NEXT pavilion.