Hot projects at Paris-based crossmedia market and conference included Game Fever, Shiva Destroys Sex and Wei or Die.
The fifth edition of the Paris-based transmedia event Cross Video Days unfolded in a refurbished warehouse on the edge of the French capital last week (June 19-20).
Founded in 2010, the same year as Apple launched the first iPad, the event has grown in sync with the transmedia scene as the film, television, press and advertising worlds increasingly embrace a cross-media approach.
Some 1,000 people from 29 countries attended its cross-media content market and conference programme this year, including 60 commissioners and decision-makers.
“Nobody in the audio-visual world can ignore the digital question anymore – whether they’re working in documentary, fiction, cinema or education – a crossmedia approach is increasingly relevant,” said the event’s founder Bruno Smadja.
In a panel looking at how traditional broadcasters were increasingly embracing the web, Amanda Farnworth talked about her work as the head of the broadcaster’s visual journalism unit, created in 2012 out of the existing TV and online graphics departments to produce news-related graphics and data visuals across all TV and all portable devices.
“It was challenge bringing the two worlds together… but I think we’re beginning to produce some really strong work,” she said.
There were also growing signs that transmedia players, who originally existed mainly on the fringe of the audiovisual sector, are increasingly part of the mainstream.
In a keynote speech, Cross Video Days’ honorary ‘grandmaster’ Alexandre Brachet of Paris-based digital production house Upian, well-known in transmedia circles for web-docs such as Prison Valley and Alma – A Tale of Violence, presented Generation Quoi? [pictured], which it co-produced for state channel France 2.
The online, cross-media sociological enquiry asking France’s 18-34 generation questions like, “Are previous generations responsible for the problems faced by young people today?” has attracted some 230,000 participants and generated 22.8 million replies to date.
Brachet is now in talks with potential partners to export the format to other broadcasters across Europe.
“We’d like to build a European version which would be at once local and European with questions adapted by a sociologist in each country,” says Brachet. “The level of engagement on the French version is really good – 22 million replies – it’s this sort of thing that attracts broadcasters trying to connect with younger audiences.”
In the project market, meanwhile, French Herve Martin Delpierre’s feature documentary and web-series projectGame Fever, exploring the global e-sports scene, won a new Cross Video Days prize, sponsored by local VFX house Knightworks, offering €10,000-worth of post-productions services to the winner.
Even prior to the prize announcement, Delpierre’s Game Fever, being put together by respected veteran documentary producer Christine Le Goff at Zed Productions, was generating buzz.
Its global perspective,spanning Asia to Europe to a recent tournament in the US, as well as potential for tapping into the one billion people who play video games around the world each week was drawing interest from producers as well as brands and games platforms worldwide.
Other buzzy projects included Shiva Destroys Sex, Adrift, Life Underground, Wei or Die, Victor and The Reward.
Involving a traditional comic strip, an augmented reality comic book, documentary and exhibition Shiva Destroys Sex revolves around the issue of gender-based violence in India.
Ram Devineni, founder of the New York-based film production company and arts publisher Rattapallax, is driving the project, which is also working titled The Song of Priya.
France-based German producer Christian Popp of Yuzu Productions recently boarded as a co-producer after it was presented at Sheffield’s Crossover Market.
Filmmaker Devineni and Popp, a former Arte commissioner, are developing a two-pronged production.
Devineni wants to create a project aimed at raising awareness among Indian youngsters of gender violence through a contemporary comic strip re-telling a Hindu myth about the Goddess Parvati.
His plan is to launch both a simple comic book and interactive graphic novel during Comic Con India in September.
Popp, meanwhile, wants to re-frame the material in such a way that will make it of interest to Western audiences interested in Indian culture and events as well as the issue of gender violence.
“We haven’t worked out how to do that yet – a documentary on the response to the comic in India would be one way in but we’re thinking it through,” said Popp.
Other projects drumming up interest included interactive thriller Wei or Die, set against the backdrop of a wild business school freshers weekend, or “weekend d’integration” (WEI) as it is called in French, which ends in murder.
The work is written and directed by Fémis graduate Simon Buisson, who also recently directed the intriguing Tokyo Reverse, a nine-hour slow TV programme in which a man walks backwards through Tokyo. It broadcast on public channel France 4 in March.
Other projects presented at the event included Annekethrin Wetzel’s Call Her Lotte inspired by the true-life story of Holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch who went onto become the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
The project, produced by MiriquidiFilm with support from public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, features a short film and an innovative Google Glass component aimed at immersing wearers in the story-world of the short.
It was among a number of projects featuring strong female protagonists. German non-fiction specialist The Beetz Brothers presented an educational multi-platform project entitled Vikings, partly examining the legendary Nordic people through the story arc of a female warrior. The project involves a TV series, online learning game and an App linked to The Vikings exhibition which is due to open the Martin-Gropius-Bau institute in Berlin in September.