RAI Cinema presents its virtual-reality app
by Camillo De Marco
- CANNES 2019: The Italian public broadcaster’s media company will have its own library of VR content, and its first cross-media project, Happy Birthday, has also been presented at Cannes
RAI Cinema is setting foot in the world of virtual reality (VR), presenting a 100% Italian app at the Marché du Film of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival that will offer its users a vast array of original content available in immersive VR. The Italian public broadcaster’s media company will also have its own free library of VR content, called “RAI Cinema Channel VR”.
“We started out with a question,” explains CEO Paolo Del Brocco. “What else could RAI do in order to also cater to the tastes of a different audience – one that’s more distant than the people who traditionally watch cinema and TV? One of the answers was to choose to tread an innovative path that would have the ability to connect different worlds by means of new technologies: the worlds of cinema, the internet, entertainment and publishing. It’s a way of luring in new viewers who are curious about technology and who, in this way, will also be able to take more of an interest in cinema.” Using headsets, viewers will be able to enjoy an utterly immersive experience in RAI Cinema’s “virtual room” and will be able to choose whether to rub shoulders with the stars on the red carpets of the biggest film festivals, attend special interviews or be catapulted into the cinematic worlds of exclusive short VR films. The app, which is in the process of being released on the Oculus, Samsung, Android and Apple stores, will be useable with either a smartphone or a headset. In addition, all of the content will be available in 360° VR on RAI Cinema’s website; videos made at festivals and other events will also be posted on Facebook.
RAI Cinema’s VR-related activities began in 2018 with the acquisition of three short films and the production of 360° VR content at the Venice Film Festival and the Rome Film Fest. Two live streams were also created and were followed by more than 500,000 users, who got the opportunity to enjoy an immersive red-carpet experience on Facebook. Furthermore, the winner of the VR contest launched by RAI Cinema last October, in conjunction with production house One More Pictures, is Happy Birthday, a cross-media concept directed by Lorenzo Giovenga, who is planning to make three different versions of the content, tailored to suit three different channels: a fictional short filmed in the “traditional” manner, a short film made in 360° VR, and a story for Instagram and Facebook. The short will star Jenny De Nucci, a very young actress, writer, and Instagram and TikTok star, who has more than 2.5 million followers, and Fortunato Cerlino, a film and TV actor best known to the general public for his role as Pietro Savastano in the Gomorrah series. The original soundtrack is by Achille Lauro. This strong cast will enable an awareness-raising campaign to be devised, the aim being to reach an audience of young people between the ages of 15 and 25. One of the partners on the project is the Condé Nast social magazine Experience Is, geared towards a new generation of users, Millennials and Generation Z, which is being developed exclusively on Facebook and Instagram.
(Translated from Italian)
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