Australian Immersion returned to Cannes’ NEXT VR – this time with representatives from each of the experiences being highlighted joining me at what is surely the world’s biggest celebration of film.
This fabulous collection of Australian Talent included Studio Bento‘s Lester Francois and Anna Brady – the team behind Rone; Visitor Vision‘s Charles Hendon and Craig Bowler with Inside Manus; Red Dogs VR‘s Dominic Allen and Margarita Decoster with Carriberrie & Bunya Production‘s Gillian Moody with Every King Tide.
Next VR brought amazing opportunities and connections for all of us, this was my 4th time there, and I’ve watch VR grow from being just a couple of workshops/panels to being a highlight of the market. What is wonderful about Cannes is that there’s so much talent and innovation coming out of France itself in this field, and they are all there – along with some outstanding international talent.
The panels had a lot to offer, and I have to say a highlight for me was the panel presented by Fable Studio featuring Pete Billington, Jessica Shamash, and Edward Saatchi – which was followed by a short taste of Wolves in the Walls a VR series based on the work by Neil Gaiman.
Another highlight of the conference events was getting a shout-out from Ross Howden for BBFF during his masterclass – STORY-LIVING: FEATURE FILMS WITH HOLOGRAPHIC ACTORS A NEW REALITY.
Outside of Next DV Group’s Horrifically Real Virtuality was a hit with all who checked it out. Wrapped in secrecy I made the mistake of volunteering to go first – before I truly understood what the experience had to offer… I’ll say no more.
It was great to see Chorus being highlighted on the Next floor after we had just presented it on the Gold Coast a few weeks before.
The presence of distributors carrying and seeking VR content had grown considerably – with the rise of VR arcades, and more specifically in Europe VR Cinemas. In an industry which struggles to bring returns on non-gaming, non-industrial/training/educational experiences it will be interesting to watch how their role unfolds in the years to come. Putting my festival hat on I have a lot to say about being charged to present content which is costly, time-consuming and tricky to deliver, but I’ll leave that for panels or in person conversations…
Here’s a selection of some of the moments that made up my 2018 Cannes – some photo credits go to Lester Francois and Dominic Allen. A special shout-out to Theo Lionel – one of very first BBFF Interns who now works as Festivals Manager at Docs and Film International.