Welcome confrontations

By Rosie Lavan

The French-German broadcaster ARTE and Power to the Pixel have a longstanding relationship. Once again in 2013 ARTE is generously sponsoring the main prize at The Pixel Market, the €6,000 ARTE International Prize for The Pixel Pitch. Eight teams will go head-to-head, presenting their cross-media projects before an audience of 400+ people in the hope of winning this ultimate prize and the prestige that comes with it. In the last of our interviews with prize sponsors, Marianne Lévy-Leblond, ARTE’s Head of Web Productions and Transmedia Projects, tells us what she’ll be looking for in the projects in this year’s competition, and why it’s crucial to stay connected.

PttP: ARTE is generously sponsoring the main prize at The Pixel Market. What qualities will you be looking for in the winning project?

ML: I hope all the selected projects will be innovative editorially as well as in the user experience they propose.  We also expect them to carry a strong and meaningful point of view on the stories they tell.

PttP: One of the things that distinguishes The Pixel Market from film and TV events is the diversity of decision-makers it attracts each year, bringing their expertise and influence from across the industry and around the world. This opens up opportunities and networks for participants – what, for you, is the significance of this aspect of the event?

ML: This aspect mirrors the current interconnection of professional areas that prevails in the projects we work on. Although it makes it difficult to consider any project as a “model” and acknowledging the fact that the interest of decision-makers may differ depending on whether they are commercially oriented or not, the confrontation can only be stimulating.

PttP: As head of web productions and transmedia projects at a major European broadcaster you work at the point where emerging and established industry practices come together. At the moment, though, times continue to be tough across the creative industries. What are the main challenges for transmedia producers today? And are established players still willing to take risks with new projects?

ML: ARTE’s mission is to support creators’ and producers’ work in diverse areas – both audiovisual and digital. Risk is inherent to innovation. One of the difficulties is for newcomers to acquire experience both in terms of project management and relationships with the audience on the basis of a relatively small numbers of projects, and the instability of the technical and strategic environments.

PttP: ARTE and Power to the Pixel have worked together for a number of years now. What do you find most valuable – and most exciting – about the relationship?

ML: The fact that PttP offers a very international and diverse background for experience sharing and project presentation from around the world.

Recent projects backed by ARTE

Cinemacity: Balades cinéma dans Paris

Cinemacity is an app which maps the Paris we know from the movies onto the real streets of the city. It is a beautifully realised project guaranteed to win the hearts of cinephiles and Paris-lovers alike.

Scenes from films are geolocated in the exact spots where they were shot as users navigate their way through Paris with the help of the cinemap. Each marker on the map corresponds to a film scene, and through connecting the markers users create their own cinewalks. Different filters can be applied so walks can be mapped according to user preferences for director, film, the length of the walk they want to take, or the neighbourhood of Paris they want to explore. The smartphone app enables users to create and sync their preferred cinewalks. Every time they reach one of the markers on their cinemap they’ll see the corresponding film clip.

Users can also participate in the Cinelab. Different stages of fictional walks are created and shared over a series of episodes, and users can also submit their remakes of iconic scenes from their favourite Paris films – a bit like Be Kind Rewind really, but beaucoup plus chic.

It’s the work of Michel Reilhac, great friend of and collaborator with Power to the Pixel and regular mentor and tutor at PttP events. Now an independent transmedia storyteller and artistic advisor at the Venice Biennale College, for 10 years Michel was head of film acquisitions at ARTE France and executive director of ARTE France Cinéma. Cinemacity enacts his conviction that interactive is an ingredient, not a genre.

Everyday Rebellion

Everyday Rebellion stormed to victory at The Pixel Pitch 2012, claiming last year’s ARTE-sponsored Pixel Pitch prize of £6,000. Created by brothers Arman and Arash T. Riahi, Everyday Rebellion is a cross-media project which casts light on new forms of nonviolent social protest and the activists behind them. It comprises a documentary feature of the same name, the accompanying web series Creative Resistance, and a dynamic website which hosts a vast range of related material.

It’s truly global and excitingly participative. It has been spurred on by instances of modern civil disobedience: from pro-democracy protests in Iran to the Arab Spring, from Occupy to the student movement against Chavez in Venezuela. The website has become a forum for sharing news, tactics and film and images of protest. Users can download manuals of unconventional protest tactics, share videos of nonviolent action and submit their symbols and images of rebellion, and consult a glossary for definitions of key terms and big names – like Mubarak, Putin, flash mob, and sex strike.

On the site, the writing is always on the Wall, and it’s constantly engaging with current events. Edward Snowden, Pussy Riot and the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN are all the subject of current stories which serve in turn as campaign material, encouraging users to respond, act, and make their voices heard. There’s also a feature entitled “Tutorial: How to Film a Revolution!” – because, as they say, “The revolution will not be televised – it will be filmed by you!”.

The Pixel Market takes place on 16 & 17 October in London. Download an application form here. Application deadline: 1 AUGUST 18.00 BST.

The Cross-Media Forum takes place from 15-18 October. Tickets are available with 10% off until 16 August. Buy yours here.