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‘Miyubi,’ ‘Alteration’ Win Paris Virtual Film Festival’s Top Prizes

PARIS — “Miyubi,” 40-minute virtual reality scripted comedy made by Canadian outfit Felix & Paul, won the top prize at the second edition of Paris Virtual Film Festival, a three-day program hosted in French capital.

Miyubi” received the Masque d’Or Award from a jury that included filmmakers Josza Anjembe, Davy Chou, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Rachel Lang, as well as producer Olivier Bibas from Atlantique Productions, and Cédric Bonin, producer and co-founder of Seppia Film.

Directed by Paul Raphaël and Felix Lajeunesse, “Miyubi” was produced by Mathieu Dumont, Stéphane Rituit, Ryan Horrigan and Chris Bruss at Felix & Paul Studios, in collaboration Christian Heuer and Sean Dacanay at Funny or Die.

“Miyubi” follows the ups and downs of a suburban American family for an entire year, in 1982, through the presence of a Japanese toy robot (inhabited by the viewer) which is offered to the family’s young boy on his birthday. The film stars Jeff Goldblum, P.J Byrne and Emily Bergl, among other actors. MK2 Films & VR handles international sales on “Miyubi” which had its world premiere at Sundance.

The Jury Special Prize went to Jérôme Blanquet’s “Alteration,” another narrative VR film that stars Bill Skarsgard, Pom Klementieff, Lizzie Brocheré and Amira Casar.

Produced by French outfit Okio Studio, “Alteration” is set in the future and centers around a man who volunteers for an experiment carried out to study dreams and is subjected to the intrusion of Elsa, a form of Artificial Intelligence aiming to digitize his subconscious. “Alteration” world premiered at Tribeca.

Paris Virtual Film Festival also handed out a prize to “Kinoscope” for the best French-speaking VR experience.

“Kinoscope,” directed by Philippe A. Collin and Clément Léotard, explores the history of cinema and is narrated by Dean Tavoularis, a vet production designer who has worked on “The Godfather” films, “Apocalypse Now” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” “Kinoscope” was produced by Ex Nihilo and Novelab, in association with the French
Cinémathèque.

The French-speaking prize’s jury included Marina Borriello at Prisma Média, Cécile Quéniart at TV5 Monde and Gilles Rousseau at the Forum des images, the Paris venue hosting the festival.

This year, Paris Virtual Film Festival introduced a contest called Challenge VR in collaboration with the French archive agency INA to have 22 creators direct 4 VR experiences over the course of 48 hours. Prizes went to “Slava,””Au Revoir,””Reset,””B.O.C.A.L.”

Underscoring the growing appeal of VR content, Paris Virtual Film Festival drew an estimated 2,700 visitors, a 69-percent year-on rise compared to the inaugural edition. Paris Virtual Film Festival presented 22 films coming from France, Birmania to the U.S., Iran and the Netherlands.

The festival, put together by the team behind Series Mania, also brought together more than 300 professionals such as Nonny de la Peňa, the CEO of Emblematic Group, Tom Burton, the head of Interactive at BBC and Jessica Brillhart at Google’s Creative Lab, during a one-day industry event which comprised a work-in progress section.

Projects pitched at the fest included Vincent Ravalec’s “Fan Club” with Mathieu Kassovitz, Sylvie Testud, and Denis Lavant; Jan Kounen’s “Kosmik Journey,” produced by Okio Studio (“I, Philip”); and Alain Damasio’s “Paris 2050,”produced by Red Corner.

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