Michel Reilhac

VR Filmmaker, Custom Paradise

25.10.2016   - 30.10.2016

Michel Reilhac is an independent VR filmmaker and interactive story architect. He is a pioneer in Virtual Reality filming. His latest VR film “Viens!” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2016.

He created a site-specific installation of “Viens!” with interactive VR for the Custom Paradise Exhibition at SomoS in October 2016.

Michel Reilhac is a thought-leader for hybrid forms of storytelling, and immersive, participatory, and interactive experiences. He is also Head of Studies for the Venice Biennale College, and Head of the Cross Media College at Scuola Holden, Torino, Italy. He has been invited as Group Leader and speaker at the Power to the Pixel Conference and the Pixel Lab. He is frequently invited to teach and speak at international events (Cannes International Film Festival, Sunny Side of the Doc , Dixit, FEMIS, CPH: DOX.). He is also an international curator for Hybrid content and VR films (Berlinale Film Market; World VR Forum in Crans Montana, Switzerland; Cannes International Film Market, NEXT Pavilion; Paris Virtual Film Festival; Venice International Film Festival; …)

From 2002-2012, Michel Reilhac was Head of Film Acquisitions at Arte France and executive director of Arte France Cinema. In 2012, in recognition for his work at Arte, Michel was named Man of the Year in film by the French trade magazine “Le Film Français.”

Michel’s past includes his work as a contemporary dancer and producer of international tours for major dance companies; a stint as designer and director of the Forum des Images, Paris; the design and production of innovative events and shows based on his original concepts; and the direction of documentary and feature films (All alike, The Good Old Naughty Days , …). He holds an MBA in International Marketing.

He lives and works between Paris, Berlin and the island of Lamu, Kenya where he is establishing a writers residency.

Artist Statement

A VR tantric poem by Michel Reilhac

“I have always felt fascinated by the fact that cinema is voyeuristic in essence. Only when we watch movies is it ok to stare at a face, study all the details of a body and want to see all the details of love making. Why do we crave watching other people’s most intimate moments? Why do we enjoy watching naked bodies, and particularly those hidden parts, breasts, asses and genitals?
Is it because we want to compare with our own anatomy? Because we want to see if we are “normal”, or better or worse? Because we hide the most private parts of our bodies in everyday life, they have become forbidden, hidden away, fetichized for lack of possible comparison… Watching and showing our naked selves is transgressive because it signals that we give up our social selves, that we enter a different set of evaluation criteria than those that administer and define our public lives. What is shown or displayed of ourselves becomes a norm. The transgressive value of showing what has been codified to be hidden is extremely disturbing to most.

This is why I consider nudity as an entry point into truly revolutionary territories. By being naked, by accepting other people’s nudity, I redesign who I am, what I am here as. Naked, I break all codes.
Nudity is the first step towards a creative approach to my own sexuality and that of others. By being naked with others, I allow myself to become available to new sensorial experiences. If I am willing to try and strip myself of my established sexual patterns, I may let spontaneous contacts impact me. I may be willing to try unusual sensory experiences I have never allowed myself to venture into before. Genre, identity, and sexual norms become irrelevant.
By doing so, I can open myself up, I can let go, I can explore, I can grow. Sexual and sensory exploration challenge my whole being, once all pretense has been dropped.
Letting go …that is the trick…

And it is only then that my sensual exploration can become progressively a spiritual journey. I cross thresholds in my psyche, I break blocks in my emotions, I open new dimensions as I become more whole, more polyphonic. I become more than my limited self. I grow.

“Viens!” is all about this: embracing our naked self first, letting go of all pre established sexual patterns, reconnecting with our senses in an almost childish playful way, feeling at peace with who we are and our quest for pleasure, rediscovering the precious uniqueness of the other next to me, and finally diving into a global sensation of being free, one and whole.

Pornography is an interesting possible trigger to help letting go. For me, it is a mean, not an end. It can help me cross that threshold where I can totally let go and access a dimension of freer sexual and sensual encounters. But what interests me, as a film maker, is what expresses that particular state of sensual awakening that unfolds beyond pornography. It is a state where nudity is the norm, where touch, smell and physical impulse fuel tenderness and sensuality. It is a place where I can fuse and merge in so many ways with more than one person. It is a perfect space.”

Michel Reilhac, June 12, 2016

Michel Reilhac Homepage
Michel Reilhac IMDB Profile

Video: Zack Soltes