October 15th, 2021 | by Mathieu Gayet

"Since its creation, the GIFF has been a meeting platform for all actors of the cultural and creative industries " - Anaïs Emery (General and artistic director)

The Geneva GIFF is back to 100% physical this year for an edition for the public but also for professionals (with the Geneva Digital Market). The opportunity to celebrate a 27th anniversary post-Covid in great shape. Interview with Anaïs Emery, the new general and artistic director of GIFF, who is programming the XR: Virtual Territories section.

Virtual Territories in 2021, 40 selected projects (including 9 in the Official Competition), many formats (VR, AR, MR, digital and interactive installations...) and 15 countries represented - all exhibited in a space of 600 square meters in the heart of Geneva at the Maison Communale de Plainpalais, as well as in various partner venues (La Comédie de Genève, Le Théâtre St-Gervais, Les Salons, La Maison des Arts du Grütli) Voir la sélection

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27 editions and new ideas: GIFF 2021

Anaïs Emery – In 2021 we celebrate our 27th anniversary, and since the beginning the festival has been open to innovation, mixing film and television productions. Step by step, GIFF became interested in web formats, multimedia, and finally, for the past 7 years, has had a real section dedicated to XR. And it is becoming more and more important. On the one hand within the festival, since we offer a 600 square meters space at the Maison communale de Plainpalais in the heart of Geneva, which makes it one of the largest presentation and experimentation spaces in Europe for immersive works. We want to offer an inclusive selection to propose all possible formats of immersion, with thematic paths for the audience.


A. E. - On the other hand, we have the Geneva Digital Market which is reinventing itself (an "augmented" and hybrid formula) to reflect on the notion of the 7th art today - with all segments of a creative and cultural industry in full reflection.

A. E. - Our selection is obviously made, in the first place, on the quality of the projects received. But we also look at the proposed immersion set up, the genre (documentary, fiction...). It is an approach that can allow us to find very original works, the goal being to offer a global panorama of today's XR creation - and the potential of this form of creation, of the new technologies accessible to artists. The choices were clear: we knew that fewer works would be selected. We had to be careful about geographical diversity. Some regions of the world are less obvious than others, but we oriented our research accordingly. Even in Europe we have to be careful to keep this critical eye on the diversity of our selection.


Sections under the microscope: a 2021 selection deciphered

A. E. - The Competition thus offers a selection of strong and complex works, which sometimes find identical themes. But the focus is on the strength of storytelling, and I am very happy with these new visions proposed - in their interiority, in their history. For the audience that will discover XR, this is an incredible opportunity.

End of Night 


The Passengers


Goliath: Playing With Reality

Marco & Polo Go Round


Liminal Lands

Sacred Hill 


A. E. - Future is sensible, It is a convergent section at the GIFF (with films and series) and where we want to question the evolution of society, rather positive by the way. It is a new category that will have its own prize and an endowment of 10,000 CHF, where we hope to get away from the stereotypes of the dystopia genre. To better project ourselves into our future, our imaginations: some artists manage to take us into their own reflection via digital media.


Seven Grams 


What is left of reality? 

MYRIAD. Where we connect.


Faketual Reality

Des Place[s]


A. E. - The Highlights section is also convergent with the rest of the GIFF. They are rather outstanding works of the season, not always previews, but allowing to understand where the XR creation is at. Some are already available but will be offered to the public in physical form. We wanted to make our selection in an open way to better celebrate this return to reality - in solidarity with the creators. We may revisit this next year... There are reflections with other European festivals (Eurofest XR - see our article) to organize a common Media library, to propose XR projects in a more global way. But the priority for our 27th edition was to organize the event in physics.

Unframed: Paul Klee's Hand Puppets

The Changing Same 

When She Gets Out ...

Madrid Noir 

Legend of Kami

A. E. - Pulsation is the last part (also convergent) of our selection, dedicated to new trends, to innovation in creation. There is in particular IN THE MIST which will be labeled "red corner", but which we thought important to present. It is a powerful and original work, but also visually fascinating. And in a context where global platforms impose a formatting of works, it is the role of festivals to present this type of film. In Pulsation, we will also have a selection of short projects from the École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL), which will be presented in our VR cinema.

In The Mist 

A&E VR Experiment Adolf/Adam and Eva/Eve 


(Hi)story of a Painting 

The Subterranean Imprint Archive 


Three States of Home Gazing 

Blowing through the curtains 



Inside Inside 

Mind Box 



Sonate Mecanique 

Teatro San Materno, L'Esprit du Lieu

Säye Skye - ADHD: The VR Experience 



The GDM (Geneva Digital Market) in the post-Covid era

A. E. - We have obviously adapted our approach to the Market in 2021. It is one of our major assets, especially in a return to normalcy after the health crisis. However, it had to evolve. It will be hybrid for its conferences, with an on-site presence and online broadcasting. This does not prevent us from developing it (see our article), with more meetings and events than in previous years. We want everyone to discuss, from the audiovisual world to tech' actors, creators, etc.

A. E. - For me, XR is already here. No matter how it evolves, immersive storytelling does exist. The technologies, the media, the intentions are evolving. But the idea has been adopted for a long time. We need to adopt the reflex of moving forward with a constant questioning of our habits, what we see, etc. It's an exciting moment for everyone: GIFF is also a platform to maintain this common emulsion, these innovations and these bridges to be created between all the actors of the audiovisual industry in the broadest sense.

Book your seat for the GDM :Lien

Official Selection website : Lien

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