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17 May 2021

a “new, expansive frontier
in storytelling”
LE MUSK, the directorial debut
from Indian film composer, scent. © DR
record producer, singer and Played by Arnezeder, Juliet is a woman
songwriter, A. R. Rahman, gets seeking revenge on four men — the finished by 10 VFX houses from around “Creating a feature-length Cinema VR
its premiere at Cannes XR — a injured, the tattooed, the poacher and the world.
programme of the Marché du Film The Musk. “Through Le Musk, we’ve Collaboration with the Marché du Film/ experience that pushes boundaries of
dedicated to immersive technologies and unlocked a new, expansive frontier in Cannes XR allows the project to be
cinematographic content. storytelling where we hope to inspire and experienced in the immersive Voyager VR storytelling and incorporates
Described as a “cinematic sensory inquire through the senses,” Arnezeder chair created by Los Angeles-based
experience”, the film incorporates VR to said. “This film is an experience unlike any company Positron, integrating motion, multiple senses was a guiding force for
tell a story punctuated by scent, motion other.” scent, sound and touch.
and music. The idea for Le Musk grew from a Le Musk offers “unprecedented, subtle me,” he added.
The 36-minute film features a star cast conversation between Rahman and his sensory cinematic surrealism”, Rahman
including Hollywood actor Nora wife Saira Rahman. The couple share a said. “Aroma and music together bring warm
Arnezeder (Army of the Dead) and Guy love of perfume and decided to use scent
Burnet (Oppenheimer) in lead roles, as a narrative device in immersive cinema, memories subjectively for the audience.”
along with Munirih Grace and Mariam employing immersive VR to achieve the
Zohrabyan from Armenia. The film follows effect they wanted. Le Musk is executive produced by Ravindra
orphaned heiress and musician Juliet, who Shot in Rome on 14 different cameras
throughout her extraordinary life, has one designed “to capture super-resolution Velhal, who is global content technologist,
constant companion — the Muskan quality video”, Le Musk was post-
produced in stereoscopic 360 VR and Intel corporation, as well as VR technology

director for Le Musk. ✦ J. N.

CANNES Q&A: pilgrims from 1100 CE.
STEPHEN STRACHAN AlUla boasts an area of 22,500 sq km
with diverse terrain featuring vast
FILM COMMISSIONER FILM ALULA sandstone canyons, breathtaking rock
formations, volcanic craters, luscious
palm oases and fascinating wildlife.

What are the main challenges Stephen Strachan © DR level skills required to accelerate the What’s available for international
in the film business in your flourishing film sector in Saudi Arabia. producers?
territory? What are some new initiatives to Production companies are encouraged to
support the filmmaking What is the name of your main get in touch to discuss the exceptional,
Saudi Arabia’s film industry is beginning community? film body and what does it do? competitive financial rebates available to
to flourish, and developing local film Film AlUla, has set up a technical Film AlUla is The Royal Commission for international and local feature film, TV
professionals is crucial to the success of training programme and has partnered AlUla’s film agency, established to drama, commercial and documentary
building film production in AlUla. The with the UK’s industry-led Creative promote and support international film film production.
country is home to a large pool of creative Media Skills Institute to host a 10-day and TV production in the county of Productions can also benefit from a range
and technical talent, so we are making hands-on boot camp led by award- AlUla, located in northwest Saudi Arabia. of incentives such as free bespoke
every effort to nurture, harness and winning film professionals who will head Its aim is to position AlUla as an production support, location scouting,
encourage local emerging talent. We are to AlUla in northwest Arabia to pass on international filming destination and expert knowledge of filming in Saudi,
working with experienced screen- their invaluable knowledge and expertise develop the services, facilities and assistance in sourcing equipment and
industry professionals to share their to a new generation of local filmmakers. infrastructure in the region to create a professional crew locally and regionally
expertise with a new generation of young The technical training programme and film-friendly ecosystem. — and year-round sunshine.
film crews to help them break into the boot camp are part of a series of AlUla county is an area of untouched Producers can expect a production-
industry and ensure they are set-ready as initiatives supported by Film AlUla to wilderness, outstanding natural beauty friendly set-up and a range of
we prepare to welcome more film and TV build a workforce and attract inward and cultural significance featuring some accommodation options, with a skilled
production to the region. investors to AlUla in order to boost the of the world’s most sensational locations. team of experienced production experts
We are also concentrating on growth and productivity of the film This ancient city, once at the crossroads to guide and support them every step of
infrastructure. Film AlUla’s first phase of industry through meeting the higher- of The Silk Road and the Incense Route, the way.
studio development is now under way has only recently been rediscovered by
with two film stages, support offices, the world. How have you been affected by
dressing rooms, green rooms, a The region encompasses more than
warehouse and workshops to meet the 200,000 years of unexplored human the pandemic?
demands of local and international history including the Nabataean city of
production. The new studio complex will Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO Saudi Arabia had a rapid response to
also feature the recently opened film World Heritage Site; the ancient North COVID and we followed strict SAG-
resort designated for professionals and Arabian Dadanite and Lihyanite AFTRA guidelines to ensure the utmost
designed for film operations with 300 Kingdoms, whose scripts contributed to safety for cast and crew.
accommodations, film-friendly office the evolution of the Arabic language; and Despite the pandemic we still received a
space for short and long-term stays and AlUla Old Town, a stopping point for lot of interest from local and
recreational areas. international productions and have
remained extremely busy with projects
shooting in AlUla. ✦

Liza Foreman

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