Beyond Cinema: the best of Swiss virtual reality on show at the Cannes Film Festival

At the invitation of Geneva International Film Festival Tous Ecrans and the Swiss Digital Alliance, three of the most innovative virtual reality projects will be unveiled from 12 to 14 May at the Cannes Film Festival’s NEXT Pavilion. With the support of Pro Helvetia, the second Beyond Cinema: the Swiss Digital Revolution event will provide an opportunity for some 12,000 professionals present at the festival to try out their wings with Zurich-based start-up Somniacs’ simulator Birdly, and to check out Geneva-based Artanim’s visionary device Real Virtuality. Geneva-based apelab’s platform Spatial Stories will also be presented at the NEXT Pavilion and all three projects will be showcased on Friday 13 May at 2 p.m.

For the first time, and thanks to the support of Engagement Migros, a match-making session will complement the Beyond Cinema programme to help Swiss creators present at Cannes and meet clients and potential investors

Internationally renowned Swiss companies gathered in Cannes

For this second Beyond Cinema, the three Swiss projects that are most representative of Switzerland’s know-how in terms of virtual reality will be showcased on the Croisette: Birdly (Somniacs, ZH), a flight simulator that recreates the movements of a bird; Real Virtuality (Artanim, GE), which enables people to interact physically in a virtual environment and Spatial Stories (apelab, GE), a tool that helps develop 360-degree immersive narratives. These projects have already acquired international acclaim and have been presented at several international events including the GDC (San Francisco, USA), the South by Southwest festival (Austin, USA) and Sundance (New York, USA). With the support of Pro Helvetia, some 12,000 cinema and digital professionals present at Cannes will get to witness the excellence of Swiss digital innovation, especially in terms of technological solutions and content creation for virtual headsets – a market which, according to a recent study by Goldman Sachs, should be worth some 182 billion dollars by 2025.

Match-making event by Engagement Migros

A new feature in 2016, the second Beyond Cinema will include, for the first time, an important focus on match-making, made possible thanks to the support of Engagement Migros. This session will enable the leaders of the selected projects to meet clients and potential investors from all over the world. Match-making includes targeting key digital stakeholders, depending upon the qualities of each company and their creations, bringing together project leaders with these potential investors and clients, organising and following-up on meetings as well as creating information materials and offering other services. The match-making event follows the economic promotion strategy that Engagement Migros launched in the autumn of 2015. Dedicated to a creative economy, it was part of the Match-Making @ Ludicious – Zurich Gaming Festival. A fourth project, the platform for interactive films CTRL Movie (undsoehne, LU), will also benefit from the Beyond Cinema match-making event.

The programme in short:

• Showcase, 13 May 2016, 2 p.m.
• Match-making, from 12 May to 15 May 2016
• Exhibition, from 12 May to 14 May 2016

Practical information

NEXT Pavilion, Marché du Film of the Cannes Film Festival
Free entrance for badge holders


Paola Gazzani Marinelli, Head of Digital & Professional Programmes, Geneva International Film Festival Tous Ecrans
Sylvie Reinhard, Engagement Migros

A project by

With the support of

involved projects

BIRDLY (Somniacs)

Birdly is all about one of the oldest dreams of human mankind: Flying like a bird. It’is an immersive full body installation and a research project which explores the experience of a bird in flight. Birdly combines extended forms of storytelling with strong visuals and technical perfection to create a unique and intuitive experience.

CTO & creator: Max Rheiner / CEO: Michel Zai / Sales and communication: Nathalie Enderle / Head of interaction design: Fabian Troxler / Interaction and sound design: Simon Pfaff


Spatial Stories is a platform for virtual reality content creation using a unique toolbox allowing developers to simply imagine and prototype interactive, immersive, story-driven experiences for all current and future VR and AR hardware. Powered by apelab’s Gaze SDK it simplifies the development of unique interactive scenes by enabling the whole virtual environment to react to the user’s position and orientation in space. Based on triggers and actions, the characters and props come to life, aware of the user’s presence, creating a truly magical experience.

Technical direction: Michaël Martin / Stage development: Caros-Sanchez Witt / Research and development direction: Maria Beltran / Creative direction: Sylvain Joly / Project manager: Emilie Joly / 3D & animation: Elise Ramseier & Julie Baeschtold


Real Virtuality is a multi-user immersive platform combining a 3D environment – which can be seen and heard through a VR headset – with a real life stage set. Users are tracked by a motion capture system allowing them to see their own bodies, interact with physical objects and move physically in the virtual environment.

Creation, direction, technology and content: Sylvain Chagué & Caecilia Charbonnier / Developers: Bart Kevelham & David Hodgetts / Research: Artanim Fondation / Cast: Gilles Jobin & Susana Panades Diaz

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