Festival de Cannes announces Immersive Competition

The Festival de Cannes, a globally renowned film festival, has recently announced that it will this year introduce a new competition dedicated to immersive works for the Festival’s 77th edition. Titled the “Immersive Competition,” the first edition will be held from May 15-24, 2024.

When was immersive work first introduced at Cannes?

In 2017, Alejandro González Iñárritu achieved a notable feat at the 70th Festival de Cannes. His virtual reality creation, Carne y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible), became the first immersive artwork to be included in the official selection of a renowned film festival. This groundbreaking achievement earned Iñárritu a special Academy Award and he remains a significant presence at the Festival de Cannes, having even served as the President of the Jury in 2019.

Seven years since this first immersive selection and in line with the Marché du Film’s commitment to exploring new technologies and art forms through its innovative-focused programs, the Festival de Cannes stated that the Immersive Competition was launched in response to the growing number of original works that are pushing the boundaries of immersive storytelling.

For whom is the Immersive Competition intended?

Part of the “Cannes On Air” initiative to develop the cultural and creative industries in Cannes, the Immersive Competition aims to spotlight the next generation of international artists who are redefining storytelling and inventing new narrative-driven experiences that move beyond the traditional two-dimensional cinema screen.

With the support of the CNC (National Center for Cinema and the moving image), the competition will feature immersive, collective and interactive works that utilize virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and other cutting-edge technologies to transcend conventional storytelling and transport audiences to other worlds, narratives and eras.

Which artistic or media pieces will be showcased at the Cannes festival?

For its inaugural edition, a committee of industry experts and Festival de Cannes representatives, under the supervision of the General Delegate of the Festival de Cannes, will select eight immersive works in competition. Additionally, a curated selection of non-competitive works, illustrating the synergy between immersive experiences and cinema, will complement the program.

Where can one view the immersive works of Festival de Cannes?

The selected works will be accessible to Festival de Cannes and Marché du Film attendees throughout the Festival, from May 15 to 24. The works will be displayed in a 1,300m2 exhibition space at the Cannes Cineum – the cinema complex of Cannes La Bocca – and the Georges Méliès Campus, a university institution dedicated to creative writing and film.

In the competition, the works will vie for the title of ‘Best Immersive Work’. A distinguished panel consisting of renowned individuals from the fields of cinema and immersive art will bestow this accolade during a dedicated closing ceremony, honoring the imaginative and groundbreaking achievements of immersive artists.

Which immersive technologies are expected to be showcased at Cannes?

In addition to the Immersive Competition, the Marché du Film will further delve into the business and technical aspects of the immersive field with a series of conferences, panels with experts, demonstrations, and networking opportunities for professionals.

The City of Cannes as an international immersive hub

The City of Cannes plans to introduce the program “Cannes Immersive,” which aims to establish Cannes as a prominent center for immersive creations and the growing field of artificial intelligence (AI) in the arts.

According to an announcement from the Festival de Cannes, Cannes Immersive will unfold through the launch of innovative events that are strategically designed to elevate the City’s status as a premier destination for immersive cultural experiences, which will be integrated into both existing and future Cannes events. Additionally, the City is aiming to establish a permanent immersive venue that will serve as a showcase for immersive creations, whether assisted or generated by AI.

To learn more information about the Festival de Cannes, click here.

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