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Since 2016, Neuchatel has hosted its three conference cycles under the NIFFF Extended banner. Mostly-but-not-entirely oriented towards professional audiences, the “Storyworlds” and “New Worlds of Fantasy” cycles focus on the writing and development processes, while “Imaging the Future” looks at new media and technology.

Running July 5-6, the latter cycle will feature seven panels spotlighting the immersive creators behind festival selected projects alongside a host of industry pros talking about digital creation, audiovisual innovation and storytelling.

Some of the panels include:

Godzilla: From Practical to Digital Effects

Japanese cinema specialist Fabien Mauro and Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Volker Engel (pictured above) discuss 1998’s “Godzilla,” situating the Roland Emmerich take (on which Engel worked) within the larger Kaiju saga.

“The idea is to traverse the full cinematographic saga through their special effects,” says NIFFF artistic director Loïc Valceschini. “The effects went from something very practical, with cardboard cities and men in suits, to something wholly digital – and the 1998 version marks that transition.”

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Immersive Storytelling: The Buzzing Hub of Taiwan

NIFFF’s Formosa Fantastica spotlight features producer Estela Chan (Serendipity Films), programmer Grace Lee (Kaohsiung Film Festival) and consultant Aurélien Dirier (TAICCA), who will will offer a broad overview of the Taiwanese ecosystem, highlighting recent initiatives and co-production opportunities.

“We want to illustrate these new trends, while giving Taiwan the space to display digital creations,” says Valceschini. “Companies like HTC have invested not only in hardware, but in content as well. We want to put that forward.”

Montreal, a Leading Incubator for Digital Creativity

Phi Centre’s Myriam Achard, National Film Board’s Laurence Dolbec and Silent Partners creative director Janicke Morissette break down French Canada’s fertile ground for new media production.

“It’s incredible to see the degree of financial investment and creative energy Quebec has devoted to these new formats,” says Valceschini. “We want to highlight and promote all the beautiful things that are happening there, in part to encourage people here.”

Exploring the Groundbreaking Trioscope Technology

Producer Katarzyna Jarzyna and VFX supervisor Marko Zari, both of the Polish post-production studio Juice, discuss the use of Trioscope technology, a new technique that transpose real-time live action footage into a pre-animated landscapes.

“It could resemble rotoscope, but is different enough,” Valceschini explains. “Juice will be the European spearhead for this technology, which was originally developed in the U.S. and pushed to the forefront on the Netflix series ‘The Liberator.’”

Virtual Production, Real Possibilities

Delegates from Lucerne studio VRFX, British producer and director Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull and representatives of Immersive Arts Space at Zurich’s University of the Arts will explore new virtual production techniques using examples from their recent projects.

“We really wanted to up our XR programing this year to mark our 20th edition,” says Valceschini. “For the past few years we’ve had between four-five installations, and this year we’ll have [twice that]… We wanted to expand that aspect this year, because along with the films, that’s one of NIFFF’s specialties.”