FNC EXPLORE: Events and works in competition

The Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal (FNC) is pleased to unveil its programming for FNC EXPLORE, presented by HTC Vive's Viveport. For the eleventh year running, festivalgoers are invited to discover narrative and immersive content as exciting as it is innovative through a section dedicated entirely to new media works. On the program of this sensory extravaganza: interactive films, immersive content and two competitive categories for VR works. Rounding off the experience will be a performance and master class that takes viewers to the heart of the creative process. Best of all, the full FNC EXPLORE program will be available online across Canada this year through the Viveport platform.

“HTC VIVE is proud to be the platform partner to host the festival’s curated selection of virtual reality experiences and 360 films on Viveport, so the global audience can enjoy the incredible creativity exhibited by FNC from the comfort and safety of their homes, for the first time.”– Pearly Chen, VP of Business Development, Viveport


This year’s FNC EXPLORE offers two free online events that can be accessed through the Festival’s social media platforms.

Animation virtuosi MICHELLE and URI KRANOT, whose approach transcends traditional animation to fuse painting, drawing and new technologies into contemporary experiences, will host a virtual master class. Their work is characterized by its poetic sensibility and fragmented narratives that straddle past and present, fact and fiction. Viewers can also appreciate their mastery in THE HANGMAN AT HOME - VR, freshly awarded the Grand Jury Prize for best VR immersive work at the 77th Venice Biennalewhich will be presented in competition at FNC EXPLORE.

Then, making its North American premiere, MOTTO LIVE, a performance inspired by the interactive experience Motto.io, will be broadcast livefrom Vincent Morisset’s studio and a handful of streets in Montreal’s Petite-Patrie neighbourhood. Actress Marie Brassard and author Sean Michaels will narrate. Composed of thousands of tiny videos, Motto.io moves fluidly between documentary and fiction, incorporating participants’ lo-fi, unstaged footage into its own emotional narrative. Neither book nor film, it’s a mind-bending ghost story that takes shape through people’s unique perspectives on the world. MOTTO LIVE is an AATOAA production based on the work Motto.io, created by AATOAA and produced by the NFB.


For over ten years now, FNC EXPLORE has given pride of place to new media while building bridges with traditional cinema. The works in competition this year uphold the unique cinematic slant and avant-garde narratives that make the programming of FNC EXPLORE so strong and singular. From director Abel Ferrara in MISSING PICTURES: BIRDS OF PREY to actress Zita Hanrot in MIRROR: THE SIGNAL, this embrace of traditional film includes welcoming filmmakers of such calibre as Michelle and Uri Kranot or even Qiu Yang (Palme d'Or for best short film at the 70th Cannes Film Festival) with O, his first-ever VR work.

We’re also pleased to point up the strong showing of home-grown artists. This year’s FNC EXPLORE features five Canadian productions or co-productions (AGENCE, THE BOOK OF DISTANCE, AU PAYS DU CANCRE MOU [IN THE LAND OF THE FLABBY SCHNOOK]), LES PASSAGERS: ELLE & LUI, THE HANGMAN AT HOME - VR), including one work from Quebec (AU PAYS DU CANCRE MOU) and three from the National Film Board of Canada (AGENCE, THE BOOK OF DISTANCE and THE HANGMAN AT HOME - VR).

The selected works will screen in two distinct competitions: HORIZON for6DoF (“six degrees of freedom”) works,and PANORAMA 360 for works of virtual reality in 3D. The jury will be composed of Victoire Thevenin (director, VR Arles Festival), Annick Blanc (producer/director at Midi La Nuit) and Charlotte Corchete (Pardi di domani competition programmer, Locarno Film Festival).

10 works have been selected for the HORIZON competition

AGENCE (Canada)
Directed by Pietro Gagliano
Produced by Transitional Forms (Casey Blustein) and the National Film Board of Canada (David Oppenheim)

Agence places the fate of artificially intelligent creatures in your hands—will you maintain their peaceful existence, or throw them into a state of chaos?

Directed by SU 


The source burns, radiating crimson scorching air that forbids human survival. Through the crushing density of time, the shortness of life resembles the first sound at birth and the last sentence before departing the world.

Directed by Randall Okita
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada (David Oppenheim)

In 1935, Yonezo Okita left his home in Hiroshima, Japan, and began a new life in Canada. Then war and state-sanctioned racism changed everything: he became the enemy. Three generations later, his grandson, artist Randall Okita, leads us on an interactive virtual pilgrimage.

DREAMIN’ ZONE (France, Switzerland, Germany, South Korea)
Directed by Fabienne Giezendanner
Produced by Zéro de Conduite Productions (Fabienne Giezendanner, Guillaume Grelardon), Ciné-Litté Productions (Lilia Schneider), Fauvea Studio (Pascal Conicella), Studio Yog (Younggeun Kim, Yeyoung Kim)

Follow the memories of the now grown-up Yuri, a Korean woman, and take part in her incredible adventure in the most dangerous, yet beautiful, area of the planet: the demilitarized zone between the 2 Koreas.

THE HANGMAN AT HOME -VR (Denmark, France, Canada)
Directed by Michelle et Uri Kranot
Produced by Floréal Films (Katayoun Dibamehr, Avi Amar), Late Love Production (Lana Tankosa Nikolic), Miyu Productions (Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron) and the National Film Board of Canada (Marc Bertrand, Julie Roy)

“What does the hangman think about when he goes home at night from work?” Inspired by the iconic Carl Sandburg poem (1922), the experience explores themes of acknowledgement and participation. It is not about hanging people, but about the awkward intimacy that comes with being human, and the connection between spectator, witness, and accomplice. 

A Linha (The Line) (Brésil)
Directed by Ricardo Laganaro
Produced by ARVORE Immersive Experiences

The Line is an experience about love and fear of change, set upon a scale-model of 1940s São Paulo. Peek into the world of Pedro and Rosa, two miniature dolls perfect for each other, but reluctant to break their boundaries and live out their love story.

MINIMUM MASS (New Zealand, France, United States)
Directed by Raqi Syed et Areito Echevarria
Produced by Like Amber (Raqi Syed) et Floréal Films (Katayoun Dibamehr et Avi Amar)

Directed by Pierre Zandrowics
Produced by Atlas V (Arnaud Colinart, Antoine Cayrol, Corentin Lambot), Versus Production (Jacques-Henri Bronckart, Sybille Henry de Frahan), Albyon (Emmanuel Bernard)

Mirror is a short film in virtual reality which offers the viewer a 360-degree immersive experience in interactive 3D, delving into the question of memories and meaning. Travel through Claris’ memories as she becomes the first astronaut to set foot on Planet Mirror.

Directed by Clément Deneux
Produced by Atlas V (Antoine Cayrole), Arte France, Albyon Studio (Emmanuel Bernard), BBC, Serendipity Films, PTS

First installment of a six-episode docu- mentary series. In this episode entitled 'Birds of Prey', American director Abel Ferrara takes us with him on a journey through the heart of a story brought to life thanks to custom-designed animations based on his original films’ preproduction material.

LES PASSAGERS: ELLE & LUI (Quebec/Canada, France)
Directed by Ziad Touma
Produced by Couzin Films (Ziad Touma), Les Produits Frais (Oriane Hurard)

Enter the thoughts of one of the Passengers and help them face a pivotal moment. Welcome aboard this interactive VR experience in which your gaze and voice influence the story.

9 œuvres concourront au sein de la COMPÉTITION PANORAMA 360

Directed by Jörg et Maria Courtial
Produced by Faber Courtial (Maria Courtial)

A VR documentary and a fairy tale about the magical story of a dream come true: the Apollo missions. Experience the elevator ride as you are lifted up alongside the steaming rocket and then, have a look inside the command module.

Directed by Francis Gélinas
Produced by couleur.tv (Francis Gélinas)

A little boy asks his big sister to help with his fear of the dark. Drawn into a succession of dreamlike tableaus where everything comes alive, he learns to confront his fears.

Directed by Qing Shao
Produced by VRTIMES

Ex-military security guard Mr.S works for a bank and leads the life of a normal working-class man. He fantasizes about a major heist, a dream that becomes reality. This VR film uses abstract metaphor, combined with a unique hand-painted art style to create an intense high-quality thriller.

Directed and produced by Joel ‘Kachi Benson

Narrating the aftermath of the 2014 Boko Haram kidnappings, this VR documentary explores gender rights and the right to education, seen through the eyes of Yana Galang, woman leader and mother of Rifkatu Galang, one of the girls abducted in Chibok, Nigeria.

HOMINIDAE (United States)
Directed et produced by Brian Andrews

Hominidae depicts an ecosystem of x-ray visibility, where creatures have evolved in surprising ways: humans, birds, spiders and frogs share unique anatomies. This experience follows an Arachnid Hominid, an intelligent creature with human and spider physiology, as they struggle to raise their young children.

MEET MORTAZA (France, Belgium)
Directed by Joséphine Derobe
Produced by Les Produits Frais (Oriane Hurard) and Dancing Dogs Productions (Quentin Noirfalisse)

At age 24, Mortaza had to flee his own country, Afghanistan, because he was sentenced to death by the religious authorities. Forced into exile, he travelled a dangerous and clandestine road to reach Europe and the country in which he wished to claim asylum: France.

O (Taiwan)
Directed by Qiu Yang

A fire pot burns in the dark night. Footsteps sound in the distance and an exhausted man in a suit walks in. The man talks on the phone as he walks, we do not understand the man’s language, but we can almost feel his sadness. 

PASSENGER (Australia)
Directed by Sobel Knowles et Van Sowerwine
Produced by Film Camp (Philippa Campey)

Sitting in the back of a taxi, driving through the dark, you gradually piece together your story, abstracted and dream-like, as you progress into the quiet shock of a new world.

Directed by François Vautier
Produced by Da Prod (Jérémy Sahel)

In a far away void appears an imposing and obscure form. It is a masterful geometry with prominent features, which by its very presence reveals an astonishing mystery to be unraveled. The form is revealed, immense and serious, an austere tetrahedron ordered by purity.

All of these works will be presented on HTC Vive's Viveport platform, available across Canada for subscribers with compatible devices. Note that each artist sets the fee for experiencing their work — a great way to support creators during these uncertain times.

The full lineup for the 49th Festival du nouveau cinéma will be unveiled on Tuesday, September 29.


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