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Cross Video Days unfolds in Paris

Cloud Chamber, executive produced by long-time Lars von Trier collaborator Vibeke Windelov, among 35 cross-media projects presented at transmediameeting.

Paris-based transmedia event Cross Video Days opened its doors for the fourth time last week to present some 35 multi-platform projects from across Europe. 

The two-day event — this year unfolding in the historic Warehouse and General Stores exhibition and industrial park on the outskirts of Paris — combined a pitching market with a series of conferences on the latest developments in the cross-media domain.

”Some 350 projects from 34 countries were submitted,” said Bruno Smadja, founding CEO of MobilEvent, the body behind the meeting. 

Pitched projects ranged from Danish, online sci-fi game and drama Cloud Chamber, to the timely, Belgian web-doc Geek Politics, examining the world of hackers; to the German pre-school targeted, educational work Milli, about a snail discovering the world.

“Our philosophy from the start has been to present a real mix, so we’ve got youth-focused projects, politically engaged works and commercial productions too,” commented Smadja.

Billed as “an online mystery inspired by space and electronic music”, Cloud Chamber revolves around a single, pay-to-access, part-game, part-drama website, which is due to go live in Denmark in August.

The work is based on an original idea by Danish transmedia producer Christian Fonnesbech, creative director of Copenhagen-based interactive production company Investigate North.

Long-time Lars Von Trier collaborator Vibeke Windelov, whose most recent credits include Susanna Bier’s All You Need is Love, is executive producing alongside Stinna Lassen, as producer.

“We wanted the drama content to have strong production values which is one of the reasons we brought Vibeke on board,” commented Fonnesbech, who describes himself as the “show runner” on the project. “Much of the crew and cast is from a film background.”

Fabian Wullenweber, who directed several episodes of hit Danish crime series The Killing, shot the web-series element last summer with Jesper Christensen, Sara Hjort, recently seen in Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman, and Game of Thrones actor Gethin Anthony in the cast.

“We’re looking for media partners for other territories,” said Fonnesbech, explaining his presence at Cross Video Days. “The market component of the event makes it interesting for us to be here.”

“We’re already in negotiations for the UK and the Netherlands and looking for partners elsewhere. They could range from broadcasters with websites to pure-players – anyone looking to steer traffic their way through premium content,” he continued.

The 40-odd commissioners at CVD included a number of key French cross-media figures such as Boris Razon of state-backed France Televisions Digital Storytelling & Transmedia department, Channel 4’s

Multiplatform Commissioning Editor for Factual, Kate Quilton, and Uwe Welz, head of the Ard Play-Out-Centre Potsdam, which oversees the German state broadcaster’s digital content.

Other pitched projects included UK director Victoria Mapplebeck’s 60-minute, animated documentary and multi-platform work InBox, charting a four-year relationship through an archive of text messages stored on an old Nokia phone.

The work is being produced by London-based, hybrid documentary production company Mosaic Films, which won a Bafta for its animated factual series Seeking Refuge, about the experiences of young refugees in the UK.

“We’re making a documentary which will play on television but can also break up into a series of web episodes,” explained Mosaic managing director and producer Andy Glynne.

“We’re going to commission another 10 animated shorts based on other people’s relationship experiences with a mobile phone. We’re looking for funny, irreverent, interesting stories – break-ups, sexual relationships via text message and the like… We’re also developing an App through which people can submit their own one-minute stories.”

Similarly looking at how mobile devices can be used to convey emotion, Belgrade-based film company Barbarogeniji unveiled Valya the Translator, a humorous work revolving around a young Muscovite who travels Europe, trying to chat up girls through the translation App on his mobile phone.

Hard-hitting web-docs

Projects with a more current affairs edge included Russian photojournalist Olga Kravet’s Grozny: Nine Cities – a multi-layered exploration of life in Chechen capital, capturing the rise of religious extremism and state-backed thuggery in the city under the regime of dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. 

Kravets and her collaborators Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko have amassed considerable photographic and video content and are now in production on a web-doc and site which is due to go live at the end of 2013.

Geek Politics, meanwhile, has been live for six months and drummed up considerable interest in Belgium and France. Quentin Noirfalisse, one of the producers at Brussels-based Dancing the Dog – said the company was looking for partners to take the site to English-language audiences.

From Italy, Rome-based Kenesis Film unveiled 4 Stelle revolving around an abandoned conference hotel on the outskirts of the Italian capital, which is being squatted of homeless, immigrant families.  A story of hope, rather than despair, it captures how the 700 residents hailing from more than 30 different countries, have set up cleaning, security and community details to make the space work. The interface will revolve around the structure of the hotel. 

The Cross Video Days conferences — which tackled subjects such as transmedia trends for the next 12 months and the rise of the short format — will be viewable on Cross Video Days website shortly. 

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