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Future of Storytelling 2018

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy are glad to be part of the 2018 edition of Future of Storytelling (October 3 and 4), supporting and promoting French VR artists through our French Immersion program, launched in April 2018. On the occasion of this professional summit, French Immersion will bring French producers and creators of VR projects and immersive experiences to the US, in partnership with UniFrance, FACE Foundation, the Institut Français, the CNC and Air France. Our ambition is to provide moral and logistical support to artists who have been shortlisted and invited by American festivals, happenings and institutions, to insure that they can make the best of this opportunity. Since its creation, the program has notably accompanied the best of French innovation to Tribeca Film Festival and Game for change in New York, as well as COLCOA in Los Angeles.

Taking place on October 3 and 4 in Staten Island, Future of Storytelling is the next event on our radar. The Summit is a two-day invitation-only gathering of 500 leaders from the worlds of business, technology, media, and the arts, yet, unlike traditional conferences, it focuses on intimate, speaker-led roundtables and workshops. Through 3 projects, we’re proud to support two French companies behind them: VR production company DVgroup, and VR distribution company Diversion Cinéma.

 

 

For those who will attend The Future of Storytelling, don’t miss one of the 10 finalists running for the Future of Storytelling Prize, “The Horrifically Real Virtuality”, created and directed by Marie Jourdren and produced by DVgroup. The piece stages the ghosts of Ed Wood, Jr. (allegedly the worst movie director ever) and aging B-movie star Bela Lugosi (the first and legendary onscreen Dracula) as they reunite to shoot their final masterpiece, starring Lugosi as a character with the ability to access a parallel dimension: the Real Virtuality, in which he encounters humanoids from another time and dimension—the audience.

The main stage will host “PLAY!” (created and directed by Marie Jourdren in collaboration with “I could never be a dancer” and Roscius, produced by DVgroup), a performance piece led by a comedian (in performance capture) and a musician linked to a video projection. The performance immerses the viewer in a world echoing that of the movie Playtime by Jacques Tati. It depicts a short slice of life in a five-apartment building and is based on situational comedy through a chain-reaction process: the action of a resident unintentionally impacts the life his neighbor.

Finally, “The Real Thing” (created and directed by Benoît Felici and Mathias Chelebourg, produced by Artline Films / DVgroup / ARTE France, and distributed by Diversion Cinema) portrays the neighborhoods surrounding China’s largest cities, which have been inspired by foreign models.  This documentary explores the most stunning of these “fake cities,” taking viewers from Paris to London to Venice—without ever leaving China. The cities’ inhabitants serve as guides through the parallel worlds where they have chosen to live. As VR leads the way to virtual tourism, copycat cities compete to offer a real experience of static travel: walking the thin line between reality and virtuality, this documentary combines both to achieve a whole new feeling of ubiquity.

Other French projects will be exhibited at FoST, namely “Vestige”, which was shortlisted for 2018 FoST Prize and whose producer, Atlas V, we supported for Tribeca Film Festival; “Farenheit 451” from collective SuperTerrain; “Phallaina” produced by SmallBand; and Homo Machina from producer Darjeeling Prod., supported by the French Cultural Services for their SXSW exhibit in Austin. 

The variety of artists and projects displayed at Future of Storytelling underscores French Immersion’s main ambition: our fund strives to foster the diversity of talents and favor the elaboration of a manifold ecosystem of French creators, producers and distributors, either new-coming or well-established. Innovation in VR is characterized by its transient, ever-evolving nature: French Immersion accompanies the quick renewal of storytelling in the digital age with responsive, fast decision-making. Just three months after launching, the French Immersion program had already supported five French immersive projects in the US: the VR pieces “BattleScar”, “Vestige”, “Firebird – The Unfinished” (all three were selected at TriBeca Film Festival), the 360 video “I Saw the Future -– VR” (selected at CoLCoA), and the videogame “Bury me, my love” (selected at Games for Change Festival, which we are now supporting).

As it appears, French innovation can be a significant actor of the renewal of storytelling in the digital age, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy as well as its partners, Unifrance, Face, the CNC, the Institut français and Air France, are proud to be part of this exciting and inventive process.


More info on French Immersion here.

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