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Open invitation to Arte : Cinemacity, The seventh art makes you visit Paris

It’s is almost a cliché to say that: Paris is one of the most appreciated city for filmmakers from all over the world. Arte and its trans-media studio Small Bang saw an opportunity in that fact : what if it were possible to capture the locations of the most famous Parisian scenes in the history of cinema through a mobile application? Cinemacity was born from this desire to rediscover Paris through the angle of the seventh art. Benjamin Lelong, head of digital strategy in Small Bang tells us more.


Cinemacity is the meeting between the DNA of a cultural TV channel (Arte), the digital skills of Small Bang and the geography of Paris as depicted in cinema. Can you tell us more about the origin of the idea of the project, the involvement of diverse public and private actors?

Cinemacity was born from an original idea of Michel Reilhac, former cinema director of Arte. Small Bang, as executive producer, developed the concept and made the device mobilizing a multidisciplinary team composed of professionals from diverse and complementary skills. As co-producer, Arte brings to Cinemacity its knowledge of the cinema world and its experience in content creation for the new media. The web hub of Arte is deeply involved in Cinemacity and our frequent discussions feed constantly the device.


Cinemacity is an innovative project, closely linked to the spirit of public service. From the City Council of Paris, three mayor’s deputies were involved in the project: Bruno Julliard, deputy in charge of culture, Jean-Louis Missika, deputy in charge of innovation and Jean-Bernard Bros, deputy in charge of tourism. The involvement of the city hall allows us to strongly install Cinemacity in the Parisian region and in the different cultural public initiatives proposed to Parisians and tourists. The city hall of Paris has also supported Cinemacity thanks to a subsidy of Bruno Juillard, deputy mayor in charge of culture. We must also add an amazing mobilization of the teams of Mission Cinéma and of course the ones of Forum des Images, a Parisian moviegoers place whose programming fits perfectly with the spirit of openness and diversity of CinemaCity.


Lastly, the precious help of CNC also allows us to produce original contents, fiction-walks, these series composed of 5 episodes of 3 minutes made by emerging filmmakers who tell stories at the scale of a Parisian neighborhood.


On its website, CinemaCity presents itself as “a free, collaborative, social and cultural experience”. How does this will turn to concrete in terms of production, development and diffusion for the project?


CinemaCity is a hybrid project that has to live with its uses. It is thus an experience completely free and without any advertisement, to mobilize the public to the full. Extracts of movies can be watched for free thanks to the support of the VOD partners of Cinemacity: Arte VOD, UniversCine and FranceTVPluzzVAD. We are also exchanging with new partners and rightful claimants to imagine the best way to give the users a desire to watch a movie in VOD after having lived the free experience of Cinemacity of reviewing a sample at the place where it was shot.


The experience is also collaborative as we engage user involvement. Thanks to Cinelab, the creation content laboratory of Cinemacity, the audience is invited to “swede” the movies shot in Paris. The best works will be rewarded at the Cinemacity festival which will take place at the Forum des Images in June 2014. Besides, we have organized our first cinema workshop during the festival Culture au Quai which was held in Paris the 21st and 22nd of September. We will seek to expand these workshops in the coming months.


Furthermore, Cinelab produces original fiction-walks broadcaster exclusively on Cinemacity. One fiction-walk takes the form of mini-series (5x2’) and goes around an area during one story. Shot in the higher of Belleville, Chat by Ilan Cohen is the first of these fictions. We have started since the beginning of September our call for proposals towards emerging filmmakers from Ile de France to produce three new fiction-walks in 2014. With Cinemacity, we want to explore with the audience new narrative forms of cinema in the city.

Lastly, Cinemacity goes beyond the simple cinematographic framework and it caters a wider target that the only moviegoers. It is a cultural and social experience in a broad sense with cinema-walks developed around monuments (Aux pieds de la Dame Eiffel or Sous les yeux du génie close to Bastille) or historical periods (Paris occupé, Paris libéré). We support all year long the cultural programming of Paris city with special excursions such as Paris Plage, the nouvelles Berges, or very soon the Nuit Blanche. Other initiatives like that will appear in the course of time.


Ultimately, Cinemacity is the discovery of the city though the cinema and reciprocally. It is a sensory experience of the city and cinema. Immersion and sharing are ones of the main values of Cinemacity.


What are the medium and long term projects about Cinemacity development?

Cinemacity is a living project, its construction is organic, it fits to the opportunities and to partners possibilities that can arise…


At the editorial level, we will offer to users more movies, extracts and walks. We would like to expand Cinemacity to the Paris region and even to other parts of France. It is another big project which means a lot to us and that will ask some time and means.


From a technical point of view, we launched a V.1 on July, 2nd 2013 and we are very proud because it is a rich and functional first version. Today, Cinemacity must evolve offering always more functionalities to users. We are currently working on a new version for the application and the website. The idea is to make Cinemacity more participative and social, while providing an experience of mobility more flowing and intuitive. Further developments are expected to emerge in the coming months.


The international development is in our agenda, we have already been approached by several major foreign cities wishing to adapt the device locally. This may take several  months because we have to organize technically these local versions. Indeed, the idea is to decline one format, adapting the technical development in a way that we delegate the editorial part (back and front office), the walks program, the community management and the issue of movies rights.

It is still too early to get into the details but we hope to be able to do so in the next 12 months.




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