October 27th, 2022 | by Mathieu Gayet

“We want to multiply genres and formats, while promoting the inclusiveness of XR selection” - Anais Emery, Paola Gazzani Marinelli (GIFF Geneva)

GIFF is back this year with a fresh coat of paint on a proven model. The Festival and Market (the Geneva Digital Market) will take place from November 4 to 13 in different places of the city, and always with a real place given to new writings with the Virtual Territories program. Here's an overview of a very complete edition, with the European premiere of EVOLVER at the top of the list.


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GIFF 2022: Discovering the Virtual Territories

Anais Emery - At GIFF, we present all of our programming to a real audience - even if we also host professional events. And immersive is fully integrated in this desire to meet with the audience, including works that are part of a dedicated Official Competition, but are displayed alongside films or series in the Hors-Competition, Future Is Sensible or Pulsation. For practical reasons, notably reservations, we are presenting them around thematic paths entitled "Virtual Territories" - which intersect our programming by category. As in previous years, almost all of the immersive works will be presented in the Maison de quartier de Plainpalais on 3 floors.

A. E. - Our objective is to offer a real space for immersion; for the presentation of the works, but also to welcome the public. Our will of mediation must take into account this comfort of presentation necessary to exceed technologies. Alongside these "Virtual Territories" spaces, we will present other events, notably LES AVEUGLES by the INVIVO collective (in a dedicated space), EVOLVER by Marshmallow Laser Feast and EVER'ETT by the Swiss studio Z1 Studio founded by Camille de Dieu and Laurent Novac (in a dedicated space, from the end of September to the end of November) A last space will host the Mondi Morbidi installation and the short films of the HEAD (Geneva school).


A. E. - The idea of this multiple programming is to show what these new writings bring in terms of innovation, in their variety of creations. The installations are very important for us, next to the contents. The immersive aspect is not always linked to the technology or the format: it is linked to a situation. We remain very attentive to the LBE devices for that, because they are an integral part of these immersive developments. For example, EVOLVER is a real favorite for us. Each immersive work benefits from a real will to produce it then to present it. With this project, it's an unprecedented addition of talent: Marshmallow Laser Feast, Atlas V, Terrence Malick, Cate Blanchett, Pressman Film, Jonny Greenwood... and the support of Orange. For our audience, this is the promise of a real event. We will present it in the center of the festival, with the necessary space.

Taking advantage of the richness of immersive creation

Paola Gazzani Marinelli - There is an obvious maturity in the works received this year: whether it is in the technique, the interactivity, the narration... There is a nice mix of XR experiences in our selection, with some that are close to the habits of audiovisual, and others that detach themselves from it and make real proposals more experimental. However, this is an edition where we have not noticed any dominant theme. XR is integrated into very personal narratives, specific emotions, but in very different forms - and also some lighter proposals. We need more humorous, less dark works.

A. E. - [POSTHUMAN WOMBS] by Anna Fries and Malu Peeters is a fascinating Swiss work about new identities and parenthood. LES AVEUGLES is one of the most beautiful proposals of immersive theater I have ever seen. FLAT EARTH VR by Lucas Rizzotto manages to introduce humor in a totally uninhibited way into the medium. These are just a few examples of a variety of works selected this year that reassure us about the richness of VR: there are beautiful stories, humor, different styles, very different geographical origins ... It's alive! It was a great year of reflection for the GIFF, of assessment after 2 very difficult years of Covid. However, our experience on the immersive has reassured us, and we will propose a line-up once again very diverse. We want to encourage more and more inclusive programming, especially on the origins of the works.


P. G. M. - In the multitude of proposals received, our job was also to build a heterogeneous selection in formats and stories. DIAGNOSIA is a real documentary, EURYDICE, A DESCENT INTO INFINITY a more experimental form... There is a real mix of creations that reflect the complexity of XR in 2022. It also made sense to present the 5 chapters of MISSING PICTURES by Clément Deneux, including the fifth - OH DEBU with Naomi Kawaze - in Competition. The VR series has such a great look at cinema that it's ideal to present it here. And we had already selected the first chapter here in 2020.

The GIFF, a real festival for the public

A. E. - I consider immersive works in dialectic with other formats. When we look at the evolution of these virtual contents, it is interesting to see what they can bring in new, innovative, different. For me, VR is the head of the audiovisual industry. We can see new artists arriving, with different desires, original proposals. And real experiences. That's what makes me stand out, apart from the GIFF's own positioning. I want us to be able to play a role at the local level - without limiting ourselves to political borders. We must be able to offer concrete opportunities, in particular via the Geneva Digital Market. And receive feedback from a real audience, with the presence of artists on site.


P. G. M. - Hosting very ambitious LBE works such as LES AVEUGLES or EVOLVER is in the DNA of GIFF. We did it very early on with ALICE, THE ENEMY or MECHANICAL SOULS (on a more specific format). It's more time to give them, more budget to find, but in the end for a particularly exciting result for the public.

A. E. - In the XR sector, festivals remain the essential place for the meeting between the artist and his public. This does not exist anymore on platforms, and rarely for an LBE presentation. It is a motivation, and a work on the duration for us: each edition must imagine the course, the scenography...

At the meeting between decision makers and artists: the GDM

A. E. - This year, GIFF will again offer its market (the GDM) which will showcase up-and-coming projects with two pitch sessions - one of which is purely Swiss. We will also have a Digital Night with a work-in-progress of AMAZING MONSTER! by Allison Crank and Raphaël Penasa, produced by Jonathan Droz (wowl) in Switzerland and Small Creative in France. We really want to promote the meeting between artists, decision makers (public, institutions...) without forgetting the public.

A. E. - For the GDM, we want to consider the concrete stakes of today's audiovisual industry, in production and broadcasting. We also need to think about continuous training, so to speak, for the traditional audiovisual world in the face of innovations in the sector. But this is also true for XR, which must look towards the traditional cultural industries. GIFF also has a role to play in connecting Switzerland with the international scene. Swiss XR creation is not abundant, but quality works are released every year, among the most innovative, and schools exist! The artistic ambition exists here, and I hope that GIFF plays its role in relaying it.


P. G. M. - I'm happy to see the landscape of XR productions hosted, especially the diversity of countries represented. We welcome projects in pitch at any stage of development, with the idea of exposing them as best as possible (only 15 are presented). There is a real day dedicated to their presentation, in hybrid (virtual and physical), to maximize their potential - including 1-to-1s on site and online. In 2019, we did it on a boat! From now on, we will be hosted at HiFlow (link), an incubation space also dedicated to innovation. The conferences will be available on D+1 online for accredited participants.

A. E. - The GDM is a platform for meetings, including with other creative sectors. We use it on our side to listen and understand the evolutions of each industry, and accompany them as well as possible.


GIFF - A XR Selection


Future Is Sensible Competition :

GDM - Line-up

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