Meet the Mentor: Camille Lopato of Diversion cinema

01 February 2021

Camille Lopato 2 ©Stéphanie Cornfield

Camille Lopato’s Diversion cinema works on two fronts, both as a partner to key global festivals in terms of content gathering, technical support, installation and set-up et al, but also, since 2018, as a distributor that promotes Immersive experiences to wider audiences.

In both respects, the company makes an excellent fit with IFFR Pro, both in installing the VR Cinema at IFFR in Jan 2020 (before Covid and the resulting lockdown) and once again this year in working with the Immersive projects within an advisory capacity.

“IFFR is a different kind of film festival,” points out company founder Lopato. “They have a very independent and original mindset in their programming and are offering possibilities to a new artform. In that sense they are very different to what other festivals can do. For Immersive that is really interesting.”

“What’s more, it is always a very good selection of projects and a very nice festival to attend,” she adds. “So I am very glad to be part of it.”

Lopato will be mentoring the teams behind two Immersive projects selected for CineMart 2021. Yes, a clear market strategy and end goal is essential, she agrees, but Immersive is an altogether different ball game, with alternative audiences or end-users looking to be entertained across a panoply of venues and on a range of devices.  So be specific, she stresses to her producers, but also be flexible in moulding the production concept to the format or platform.

“At Diversion cinema we specialise in distributing immersive content and have an expertise in making anything possible for the venue that welcomes the project,” says Lopato, who also welcomes the public to the company’s VR theatre in Paris (at least in normal times). “So it is also about looking at the technology that the creators want to use and making sure that it is the most efficient and the most stable for the audience… it has to be stable in order to support a business model that at the end you can make money with.”

“Our mission is to make sure that each project at the Spotlight presentation delivers the right information and to make sure that the professional audience understands what the story is about and what the technology will bring to the story, and also again who is the target audience and what is the strategy regarding distribution,” she confirms.

The two projects that she is mentoring (Orphée et Eurydice by Robin Coops/Avinash Changa and Tokolosh and Other Behemoth Creatures by Kirstin Lee Grey/Tsoku Maela) have a magical, other-worldly feel, and serve to emphasise another key component of an effective pitch. The producers must convince investors that they can deliver an emotional impact to the audience. “During the pitch session it’s about being clear but also seductive. You have to make people curious about your project, to feel concerned about or involved in the story you are telling.”

Orphée et Eurydice (Netherlands) is a complex project because it involves a creative dialogue between opera, dance and technology and how you use your own audience as actors inside the play,” says Lopato. “That is something very interesting in VR.”

Camille Lopato at Spotlight 2020

Camille Lopato 2 ©Stéphanie Cornfield

Tokolosh and Other Behemoth Creatures (South Africa) is much simpler in terms of the technology needed to show it, as it is a 360 film, but then it is more about storytelling based on African fairy tales, and is bringing a new or different way to tell a story. It is an alternative approach, much more about connecting ancient ways of storytelling with the dreamy part of the VR.”

A particular advantage that Camille can confer on the projects is her close association with many immersive works over past years and a hands-on knowledge of the venues and arenas in which they play out.

“Our added value is the fact that we see a lot of new VR works as we are most of the time taking care of festival spaces, so it is interesting to have a wide range of references, to share how these works made me feel or think, and to offer that experience to the producer to broaden their vision.”

IFFR Pro Days

CineMart 2021

With the aim to optimise projects’ opportunities within the marketplace, CineMart has carefully selected 17 projects looking for international financial and creative partners.

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