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 Écrans, The 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.
According to Hartman, 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.
“It was the collective work of a group of people at CERN that originally established a filmmaking club as we all decided 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, “at that time it wasn’t so common to bridge the gap between Science and Art.”
Despite Hartman’s hesitation with creating a film festival that would blend divergent 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. Variant intervals of one to three years between the editions did not prevent CineGlobe from gaining its deserving popularity among independent filmmakers.
CineGlobe is composed of short films, a couple of features (invited films) with relevance to the Festival’s theme, and special events with the competition only for shorts. The programming is very broad, with: Documentary, Fiction, Animation, Live Action and Experimental 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 Fiction and 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.”
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. Trump Super Soccer by Jon Frickey, a satirical cartoon critical of Trump delighted the audience with its humorous streak while the feature opening film, 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.
Most films approached very difficult topics such as migration and refugees, but in very unconventional 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 by 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 through toys at a store, received Public Award for Best Fiction Film. The audience’s favourite film, Digital Immigrants by Dennis Stauffer and Norbert Kottmann was also a powerful choice, as it portrayed the 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 guy who is constantly being surveilled while 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
CineGlobe often tries to shake things up. Last year, for instance, 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 Post Fact Hack, a hackathon on how to communicate in a “post-truth society” and The 48 Hour Film Project in Virtual Reality which consisted of six 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 line: “my mum always told me it was dangerous” and chocolate as a prop.
Congratulations to Parallel Perspectives for winning the 2000 CHF prize!
The Post Fact Hack took place during a weekend dedicated entirely to project proposals, which were then presented during the Festival. The winning team, Parallel Perspectives was awarded the prize of 2,000 CHF for developing a browser extension.
Though CineGlobe incorporated VR in 2015, launching the first VR Hackathon dedicated to Science and Communication, this year, The 48 Hour Film Project was CineGlobe’s major event dedicated to Virtual Reality.
For The 48 Hour Film Project, the filmmaking process as well as the instruction period occurred before the Festival. One weekend was dedicated to instructions in 360° filming and another – to the shooting of the films. The films were then 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 showcases the talents of both amateur filmmakers and very established professionals, though a high production value is still required, which, does not leave a huge opening for amateurs. The 48 Hour Film Project was the only exception, as it mostly consisted of beginners in VR, but professionals in the audio-visual production.
The Interlopers were the only professional team in VR with their philosophical, musical short film Tangerine, about a mysterious space cowboy summoned by a pair of meditating hipsters. Their film stood out not only with its high 360° video quality and vibrant colours, but, also, as it was shot from an uncommon 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 to Virtual Reality, wanted to see what they could do with VR with very little experience, and I think now they are all very interested with continuing in this new medium.”
In the past CineGlobe did not provide a big public VR exhibit. 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 had not tried it and do not possess VR headsets of their own.
The VR Zone included: films of the space station, Labster, biology focused films, a couple of films from one of the participants of Hackathon 2015 and the 48 hour films. Hartman and his colleagues wanted to make VR accessible to the public so they could get a first taste and, also for kids, though they were not the main focus.
Enchanted by VR, Hartman is planning along with Technical Director – Matt Ryan, Head of Production – Emma Ward, and Head of Film Programming – Paul Laycock, to include not just VR in the future, but also immersive projects, to have the VR Zone where VR is experienced in the headsets individually and to bring back the 360° dome for collective immersion.
“One thing that we are considering is projecting the 48 hour films on a dome so that attendees do not need to change their point of view, they can just look around. We shall continue incorporating creative events throughout the year to bring even more innovative minds to the Festival,” concluded Hartman.