18
Apr

CineGlobe Goes VR for its 10th Anniversary

As spring rolled around the corner, CineGlobe kicked off its 10th anniversary with the seventh edition of a much awaited, week-long Film Festival at CERN, themed Myths and Realities, with traditional short films and virtual reality in the mix, organized and presented by its charismatic Founder, Artistic Director and Researcher at CERN, Neal Hartman, gathering independent filmmakers and enthusiasts from all over the world, from 21 to 26 March, 2017.

For this year’s edition, CineGlobe partnered up with World VR Forum, Geneva International Film Festival Tous ÉcransThe Mapping Festival, GoPro, The 48 Hour Film Project, FIFDH, Impact Hub Geneva and BUREAU A.

The film competition was judged by a professionally diverse jury, which consisted of: Maria Guta, World VR Forum’s Director of Programming and Freelance Artist; Vincent Ravalec, an Independent Writer, Screen Writer and Producer; Steve Brown, CEO of Ignite Channel; Erinrose Sullivan, Digital Marketing Consultant at BrightLab; and Claire Lee, an Associate Researcher in Physics at CERN.

CineGlobe’s mission is to challenge the perceived separation between science and art with the goal to demonstrate that for a holistic world view, you need to understand both culture and the fundamental research to try to open people’s minds.

History

“It was the collective work of a group of people at CERN that originally established a filmmaking club, and we all decided together that it would be fun to invite other people to come and share their work at CERN, and this was 2006 when we were planning our first film festival,” said Hartman, “and at that time it wasn’t so common to bridge the gap between science and art or science and cinema.”

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Despite Hartman’s uncertainty regarding his plans to create a film festival that would blend two seemingly unrelated disciplines, the results surpassed all expectations. After showing seven or eight short films over a couple of days, the response was so strong that the second edition grew to a multi-day format with a much larger programme. The first edition took place in 2007. Though, there were sometimes two to three-year gaps between the editions and one-year gaps between the last four, CineGlobe has indeed gained its popularity among independent filmmakers.

CineGlobe includes mostly short films, a couple of features (invited films) with relevance to the Festival’s theme, and some special events with the competition only for shorts. The programming is very broad, and includes: documentary, fiction, animation, live action, experimental even, and it’s all mixed together. Best films are selected out of 1,000 to 1,500 entries and are then grouped into thematic programmes, such as: Social Media, Outcast, Art & Identity, Sex and Death, Well-Being, Space & Time, Responsibility, Fun for Family and The Late Show – all of which were part of the 7th edition.

According to Hartman, “if it fits with a particular theme or thread, then we mix it in with the fiction and the documentary, even though we give a documentary prize and a fiction prize we don’t separate those in the programme. In fact, we don’t even distinguish them.”

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Film Competition 2017

This year, CineGlobe’s theme Myths & Realities was chosen to portray the current political landscape, the culmination of all political movements that have been motivated largely by ignoring factual arguments, such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Some of the films were quite funny. For example, Trump Super Soccer by Jon Frickey was a satirical cartoon that was critical of Trump.  The feature opening film that was shown, HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis from the BBC, criticized the political established system and how it’s manipulated the public since the 1970s, although, it did not take a specific political side.

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CineGlobe Award Ceremony.

A lot of the films approached very difficult topics like migration and refugees, but in very interesting ways, and, Hartman noted that this year, CineGlobe had one of the strongest selections.  Two of the winning films were about refugees. Irregulars by Fabio Palmieri, which approached the topic of illegal migration to Europe in a unconventional way, showing the construction of mannequins on screen while providing a heart-wrenching migration story as a voice-over, took home the Jury Award for Best Documentary. Another film, Speechless by Robin Polak, about a young boy who tells his story of how he came to the foreign land without using any words, which takes place at a toy store, received Public Award for Best Fiction Film. The audience’s favourite film, Digital Immigrants by Dennis Stauffer and Norbert Kottmann was also a strong choice, as it portrayed ageing generation’s struggle in adapting to digital technologies. Digital Immigrants won the Public Award for Best Documentary and the Swiss Film Award for Best Graduation Film this year.

Other winners included: PANOPTICON by Ronan Posnic and Amiel Roux, about a dude constantly being surveilled while casually climbing a staircase, which, to the pleasant surprise of its creators, snatched the Jury Award for Best One Minute Film; Every Drop Counts by Dhimant Vyas, a touching animation which brought attention to the importance of water, was given the Public Award for Best One Minute Film; and Einstein-Rosen by Olga Osorio about two brothers, one of which claims to have found a wormhole was handed the Jury Award for Best Fiction Film for its humorous exploration of space and time.

VR & Side Events

Also, CineGlobe often tries to do something new, sometimes changing the time of year due to different concerns at CERN. Last year the Globe was under renovation so a summer festival was held outdoors. This year, the major difference was the addition of creative workshops that were held over the weekend for people of all ages: Tetra Pak Camera; 24 Lies per Second; Virtual Camera; and Le Cinema de Georges Méliès. Two other major side events which took place during the creative periods before the Festival were: The 48 Hour Film Project in virtual reality which consisted of six different teams that created 3 to 7 minute 360° films in 48 hours in the science fiction genre with the challenge of including three specific elements, a blogger character called Mark or Marie McCoy, a chocolate as a prop and a line: “my mum always told me it was dangerous,” and Post Fact Hack, a hackathon on how to communicate in the “post-truth society”.

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Congratulations to Parallel Perspectives for winning the 2000 CHF prize!

The Post Fact Hack took place during a weekend where people came together and worked on project proposals and then presented them during the Festival. For The 48 Hour Film Project, the filmmaking process as well as a period of instruction for the participants occurred before the Festival.  One weekend was dedicated to instructions in 360° filming and another weekend was dedicated to the shooting of the films. Then, those films were presented by the six participating teams – Blue Pixel, Clapesque, Les Specimens, MJJ, slow hyperspace and The Interlopers during the Festival, which, was largely focused on creation this year.

CineGlobe had VR in 2015, launching the hackathon in 2015, it was the first VR science communication hackathon, and of course, this year, The 48 Hour Film Project was CineGlobe’s major event dedicated to virtual reality.

CineGlobe showcases the talents of both amateur filmmakers and very established professionals that make pieces that they are passionate about, some films that are made by very large teams, some small ones and some, by individuals. However, CineGlobe requires a high production value, which, does not leave a huge opening for amateurs, except for The 48 Hour Film Project, which mostly consisted of beginners in VR, but professionals in the audio-visual production, except for one team, The Interlopers, which, entertained the audience with their whimsical VR short film Tangerine, that blended philosophy and Sci-Fi, about a ballad-singing, guitar-strumming space cowboy and two hipsters separated by the time-space continuum. Their film stood out from the rest of the 48 hour films, not only with its high 360° video quality, vibrant colours and graphics but also as it was shot from an interesting vantage point.

“Hartman explained, “one thing that we really wanted to do with The 48 Hour Film Project was to introduce people who are in the film world but aren’t necessarily getting into VR, wanted to see what they could do with VR with very little experience and also show them that it’s a new area where there are a lot of possibilities and I think now they are all very interested with continuing with that.”

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Hartman expressed his enthusiasm and enjoyment of the VR, and CineGlobe’s achievement of showing the audience some science focused projects and introducing people to VR, because even though, the VR Hackathon was launched in 2015, CineGlobe did not have a big public VR exhibit in 2015. This year, was the first time that CineGlobe reached a significant number of people, with 500 attendees in The Shelter, the inflatable structure with the VR Zone, many of which heard of VR, but hadn’t actually tried it and don’t possess headsets of their own.

In the VR Zone, there were a number of films of the space station, Labster, a couple of other biology focused films, and then a couple of films that were made by one of the participants from the Hackathon 2015, one of the most recent films he has made and then the 48 hour films. The Post Fact Hack was not limited to VR, for which, the winning team, Parallel Perspectives was awarded the prize of 2,000 CHF for developing a browser extension. Hartman and his colleagues wanted to make VR accessible to people so they could get a first taste and then to see if they like it, also for kids, though they were not the main focus. The kid section was included in the Festival, but it wasn’t VR.

Overall, Hartman was very pleased with the VR, and in the future, he is planning along with his crew: Technical Director – Matt Ryan, Head of Production – Emma Ward, and Head of Film Programming – Paul Laycock, to include not just VR, but also immersive projects, more installations, to have the VR Zone like this year, where people can experience VR in the headsets individually and, also, to bring back the 360° dome, where people can experience immersive content in a collective setting, since there is room for both.

“One thing that we would perhaps think about doing is projecting for example, the 48 hour films on a dome so that people don’t need to change their point of view, they just look around. I think we will continue with this trend of doing even more creative events throughout the year that bring more creative minds to the Festival,” concluded Hartman.

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