“Alex Honnold: The Soloist” and “Glimpse” were awarded best VR story and best VR interactive experience, respectively, at the Cannes XR x VeeR Future Awards on May 22. The winners were announced by judges Zhang Ziyi and Bad Robot’s Hannah Minghella, who evaluated the 18 shortlisted VR works alongside Michel Reilhac, Vicki Dobbs Beck, Kari Skogland, and Doug Chiang.
Celebrating the third year of the partnership, the event took place online on a shared metaverse called “Alexandria” created by Cannes XR and the NewImages Festival.
Directed by Jonathan Griffith, the two-part series “Alex Honnold: The Soloist” follows the famous rock climber and the star of “Free Solo” using the latest in VR panoramic shooting technology.
“This is how I immediately fell in love with VR: it’s the best way to bring people into our alien climbing world,” says Griffith. Variation about the “absolute passion project” of his career.
Also behind “Everest VR: Journey to the Top of the World”, he decided to “be brave” this time, getting rid of unnecessary voiceovers and music.
“In five years we will all be looking back and saying, ‘Why did we use voice over in virtual reality? That was horrible!” he jokes.
“It creates a disconnect because that’s how you know everything you see is already happening. I wanted people to take a personal journey with Alex. The idea of retreat is the future of VR.”
Things get more personal in Benjamin Cleary, who won an Academy Award for his short film “Stuttering,” and Michael O’Connor’s animated “Glimpse,” which has to deal with a painful break between a panda named Herbie and a deer named Rice. above.
Best VR interactive experience winner shows the process of finding and losing love, starring Lucy Boyton and Taron Egerton – also touched upon in Benjamin Steiger Levine’s “Marco & Polo Go Round,” where a young couple’s world literally falls apart.
In “End of Night,” another shortlisted project, David Adler decided to return to 1943 by showing a man rowing from Nazi-occupied Denmark to Sweden.
“I believe we have become numb to the constant stream of misery we face, but the power of storytelling can help us reconnect with other people’s struggles and our own compassion,” Adler says.
“My protagonist wants to tell you his story and is afraid you will judge him for it. I believe it is important to tell stories that not only glorify but also show our weaknesses.”
Derek Ham, founder of Logic Grip Inc, decided to feature Negro League Baseball in his “Barnstormers: Committed” episode, recognizing that the history of minority populations is often oversimplified and “not fully spoken.”
“I was drawn to looking at the History of Blacks in America through this lens. There are agendas in the US to soften the history books, and I want to be part of the movement that opposes it. “To understand the factors that affect our present, we must look at our past honestly,” he says.
Alongside documentaries and animation, comedies were also represented this year, from Davide Rapp’s “Montegelato” to Keisuke Itoh’s Japanese “Clap” or Charuvit Wannissorn’s “Luna: Episode 1 – Left Behind”.
In “Area Man Lives,” directed by “That Dragon, Cancer” duo Amy Noel Green and Ryan Green and boasting the participation of Joel McHale and Ronan Farrow, the challenge is to maintain a local radio station as its new DJ.
“Laughter is a very intimate experience. Amy Noel Green describes the project as “completely nostalgic,” describing the project as I believe comedy offers us the opportunity to experience the same strong feelings of connection and intimacy in a work, but it’s a little harder to master.”
“I have a lot of dreams about how VR storytelling could move forward. I love film and television formats, but in these mediums the audience is accidental. I’m interested in looking for more ways to let a story unfold strictly based on the player’s interests: where they look, what they’re interested in, and what they say.
“We were open to all kinds of genres this year,” summarizes Guillaume Esmiol, co-director of Cannes Market, talking about his decision to open up to interactive content.
“There is a lot of demand from the XR community to be a part of the Marketplace, which is a good sign. It’s still a little separate, but we can bring these communities a little closer. Artists are interested in these new ways of telling stories,” he recalls, recalling “Evolver-Prologue” produced by “Carne y Arena” by Terrence Malick or Alejandro González Iñarritu.
While Griffith worries that VR projects are still “a little bit on the sidelines” at film festivals, others want to get involved.
“This is why I personally attended Cannes this year! I wanted to be in the field to talk to people about the future of VR,” says Ham.
“We need a co-display of the evolution of technology and storytelling to ensure that audiences and financiers understand where we’re going.”
“We still see ourselves as competing industries fighting for market share, but if we learn to bring the best of each format into our projects, everyone wins,” adds Amy Noel Green.
“I believe the line between movie and game will evolve into an entirely new type of media that will become the dominant form of entertainment.”
The full list of shortlisted projects is here: