FNE: What are the highlights of the 2018 NEXT Programme?
Julie Bergeron: New this year is the creation of a Blockchain Corner with six exhibitors presenting their business models using the blockchain technology applied to cinema. Also, NEXT will be strong on Virtual Reality with exciting experiences on booths, a VR theatre with 25+ market screenings and a VR library with about 150 VR titles.
FNE: Why is innovation so important just now for the European audiovisual sector?
Julie Bergeron: Innovation is key to stay competitive in a fast evolving industry and a global digital world. At NEXT, Eric Peters, Senior Adviser at the Cabinet of Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, will give the closing keynote speech to explain how EU policies can help innovative entrepreneurs in the creative and audiovisual sectors take full advantage of the digital future.
FNE: What strategy and criteria did you use in shaping the 2018 programme?
Julie Bergeson: The fast evolution of the technologies around virtual reality is quite spectacular over the last three years. We are always looking to improve the way we present films at the Marché and showcasing VR in good conditions is a challenge.
At NEXT, this year, VR is presented in many different ways. Here are some examples:
HP will present Chorus a Within VR experience using the MK2 VR pods, thus demonstrating that VR Cinema can be a shared experience. INTEL will present Dunkirk VRE in the Voyager Chairs, a full-motion chair for premium cinematic VR experience.
Also, we will have three different VR Libraries, one that is using phones powered by Diversion Cinema, one that is computer based powered by DDD60 and one that is using a station called Hestia VR powered by VR Connection.
FNE: What is the Blockchain corner and what is its purpose?
Julie Bergeron: The Blockchain Corner is hosting booths of six companies that have developed business models using blockchain technology for financing and distribution of films. They are: Cinezen Blockchained Entertainment (Sweden), CInemarket (USA), SingularDTV (USA), Dream Channel (Australia), TVZAR (Russia). The application of this technology is new in the film industry. We thought it would be interesting to create a corner where these new players can meet with each other and also meet with the Marché participants who are interested in knowing more. There will be very interesting conferences also to understand better how blockchain can support the industry.
FNE: In 2017 Carne y arena by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was the first VR installation to enter the Cannes' Official Selection. How quick is the immersive reality spreading and what might come after that?
Julie Bergeron: Virtual Reality is spreading with more and more VR tie-ins produced to accompany the big studio movies.
FNE: What can you say about the VR works from CEE countries and where do you see them in five years?
Julie Bergeron: The strongest countries at the moment producing VR cinematic pieces are France, Canada and the USA. China and Latin America seem also to be active markets and there will be some interesting VR pieces at NEXT from these territories. From the CEE countries, it is worth noting that there will be a market screening organised by a Slovak company called Fulleye.