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Series Mania’s Team Hosts Paris Virtual Reality Film Festival

Variety logo Variety 6/26/2017 Elsa Keslassy
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Mia Donovan’s “Deprogrammed,” Ali Eslami’s “DeathTolls Experience” and Gabo Arora’s “Ground Beneath Her” are among the 16 virtual reality works on track to compete at second edition of the Paris Virtual Reality Film Festival, a three-day program organized by the team behind Series Mania, the TV drama fest, in the French capital.

The selection of works such as “Deprogrammed,” “DeathTolls Experience” and “Ground Beneath Her” underscores the rise of politically-engaged, thought-provoking VR content which is now being produced.

For instance, in “DeathTolls Experience,” which won the DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award at IDFA, puts the viewers at the center of terror attacks and refugee crisis, while “Deprogrammed,” winner of IDFA’s DocLab Award for digital storytelling, explores technics of indoctrination and brainwashing used, notably, by religious extremist groups; and “Ground Beneath Her,” follows a 12 year-old Nepalese girl from Zaatari Refugee Camp in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake.

Filmmakers Josza Anjembe, David Chu, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Rachel Lang, as well as producer Olivier Bibas from Atlantique Productions, Cédric Bonin, producer and co-founder of Seppia Film are sitting on the Grand Prize jury.

Modeled on Series Mania, the Paris Virtual Reality Film Festival will boast a significant industry sidebar.

The one-day industry event will take place on June 30 and will showcase round-tables with professionals as well as a work-in progress section, which will include several anticipated VR projects in development, notably Vincent Ravalec’s “Fan Club” with Mathieu Kassovitz, Sylvie Testud, and Denis Lavant; Jan Kounen’s “Kosmik Journey,” produced by Okio Studio (“I, Philip”); and Alain Damasio’s “Paris 2050,”produced by Red Corner.

Among the industry guests set to attend the VR festival are Nonny de la Peňa, the CEO of Emblematic Group, Tom Burton, the head of Interactive at BBC and Jessica Brillhart, filmmaker for VR at Google.

The Paris Virtual Reality Film Festival will run June 30-July 2.

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