Home Entertainment Emphasizing Connection Over Competition, NewImages Is ‘Not Another Film Festival’

Emphasizing Connection Over Competition, NewImages Is ‘Not Another Film Festival’


In 2020, director Hsin-Chien Huang won the NewImages Festival‘s top prize for “Bodyless,” a dreamlike exploration of his own childhood growing up under Taiwanese martial law. That year’s jury was led by French music producer and composer Jean-Michel Jarre – and sometime over the course of the festival the two men hit it off.

This year, the fast friends will return as creative partners and co-directors of “The Eye and I,” a visual and musical collaboration screening in NewImages’ competition and born of the festival’s wider goal to develop the immersive ecosystem in part by encouraging such outcomes.

“Our mission is to connect people,” says festival director Michele Ziegler. “We’re always looking to expand our circle and build our community – and we hope more and more people will join.”

Indeed, a bout of jury duty has proven to be a powerful motivator, as Jarre is hardly the first creative to make the leap. Two years after her own stint on the NewImages jury, choreographer Blanca Li won Venice’s 2021 prize for best VR experience for her immersive dance piece “Le Bal de Paris,” while actor, filmmaker and 2022 NewImages juror Stéphane Foenkinos will return to Paris’ Forum des Images this year to present his augmented reality installation “Noire,” which world premiered last year at the Centre Pompidou.

‘The Eye and I’
NewImages Featival

Time will tell if similar inspiration should strike this year’s jury – which includes author and activist Amandine Gay, techo pioneer Molécule, and Sundance New Frontier curator Shari Frilot – though the festival is not waiting in idle to find out. Instead, NewImages has already set sights on its next convert, and is currently assisting Gotan Project co-founder Philippe Cohen Solal on a transmedia piece Ziegler hopes to program at next year’s event.

And as the new media landscape continues to iterate and evolve – with the Cannes Film Festival set to launch its first immersive cinema competition next month – Ziegler thinks it time to move past existing models.

“Compared to the film world, NewImages would be considered an A-class festival,” she says. “That’s particularly great for our market, which has become the largest 100% immersive dedicated market in the world. Creators are subsidized to come take part, at least on the European level where such government funds exist.”

“Now, on the programing side of things, we should no longer get into that game of chasing world premieres,” Ziegler continues. “We don’t need to follow the same rules and paradigms of the audiovisual sector. Doing so will only limit creativity and collaboration, whereas we want to be here for our industry, here for our people, and here to connect creators with audiences. That’s why our hashtag is #NotAnotherFilmFestival.”