New Forms of Immersive Narratives and Storytelling, What issues are brought up for production and distribution?

By having a roundtable about Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/ VR), non-linear and interactive storytelling, we wish to bring to light a debate that may outline a state of play for an ongoing reflection. Karim Ben Khelifa, who initiated the award-winning project “The Enemy’’, Pierre Cattan, French producer of Michel Rheilac’s “Fugue VR” and CEO of the Small Bang production company and Sélim Harbi, writer and director of the VR documentary project “Afroroutes” will dialogue with partners from public institutions and AR/VR TV departments. Today, certain themes linked to AR/VR are omnipresent within the public distribution channels’ editorials: vector convergence, dual screens, reaching out to a new audience, the evolution of media consumer patterns, new kinds of writing and new formats. Through these recurring themes, contingent core issues linked to AR/VR arise. How is the reality of public television channels experienced and perceived by protagonists of the industry? What are the main differences between documentary production and a web-only production? What role do “new broadcasters” have to support these new types of alternative storytelling?

Afroroutes: VR Project Showcase

This year, we have also organized an immersive project presentation (Afroroutes by Sélim Harbi), co-hosted by SUPSI. Eight VR headsets will be available to the public for the first time, before and after the roundtable. Afroroutes is a VR music experience, an immersive journey through the diverse slavery roads, documenting and exploring today’s afro-cultures, rites and traditions worldwide. 


by Sélim Harbi
Tunisia, Germany | 20’
Work in progress, finishing production

AFROROUTES is a music based VR experience, transporting you to unexpected places to meet special persons, living witnesses of time, to discover their stories, cultures, and origins. It´s an immersive journey through the diverse slavery roads, those unfamous roads... from Karnataka (India) to Salvador do Bahia (Brazil) passing by Tangier (Morocco), highlighting the power of music and oral traditions to keep memories and heritages alive, using virtual reality as a strong medium to recreate that almost physical feeling of being in the heart of a community, close and connected with people, places and history. 

AFROROUTES is a simple, intuitive experience, where technology just serves the issues and the topic to connect those dots where humans have been displaced and rooted again. Music and sounds are the central elements of narration and immersion. You will meet one by one different charismatic persons, that I met personally, spent time with and chose them to open for us that magic door of their world, before inviting you to a ceremony. Why a ceremony? It is actually a real manifestation of that still-alive, and well-conserved heritage, and identity, a non-tangible memory, that crystallizes all the different layers of the African diasporic history: praising, celebrating different events, a way to say WE ARE HERE.


id w (SUPSI)


Michael Brönnimann
Buyer, Programming Executive, SRF (CH)

Pierre Cattan
Producer, CEO, Small Bang (FR)

Sélim Harbi
Photographer, VR & multimedia storyteller (TN, DE)

Karim Ben Khelifa
AR/VR projects creator, photojournalist (TN, BE)

Mathias Noschis
Film Marketing Strategist, Alphapanda (CH, UK)


Benjamin Magnin
Editor, SRF (CH)