Cinema Unbound Heroes: Michel Reilhac

Spotlight on Michel Reilhac, Founder & Head Of Venice Biennale VR & XR

One month ago, the world was different. We were different. But even in this new reality, NWFC remains committed championing storytellers who are helpers, artists who dare to try new things, and innovators who find ways to transform and shape the future in ways big and small.

On the eve of the 43rd Portland International Film Festival just one month ago, we started a new tradition of honoring those who open our eyes to new ways of seeing during times of change — folks who defy expectation and transform the world with their talents and generosity. In this ongoing series, we’ll introduce you this year’s 2020 Cinema Unbound honoree as well as shine a light on new heroes we’re seeing emerge in real time.

Because we need them, their ideas, and their future-forward thinking to inspire us now more than ever.

Michel Reilhac sees the world differently — through his signature glasses, a circle and a square. Through the rose-colored lenses his children recently got him to correct his color blindness for the first time, blessing him with a new way of seeing on the eve of his wedding.

So, in the last month, he has seen the world anew through technology, light, creativity and love. But really, that is everyday for Michel as head of VR & XR for the Venice Biennale. And as a human being searching to tell stories that transcend space and time, he looks for stories that help us to visualize more, to empathize more, to challenge ourselves to do and to be more.

He sees possibility everywhere he looks. And in this time of Covid-19, he has already risen to the challenge and developed innovative ways through immersive tech to help bring folks together, piloting the first Biennale workshop to ever be held in virtual reality via avatar. This system, initially used by artists, has multiple applications, all with the goal of helping people who are thwarted by distance to connect in new ways work together and be “present” with one another.

Michel inspires us all to be present and to present our best, most complex and interesting selves to the world. And encourages all who know him that if the world isn’t ready for you, you create your own world and forge a new path. To live and love deeply without limitation. And he walks the walk. He’s lived many lives. And those who have walked beside him have been changed forever by his loyalty, his passion and his lifelong dedication to making the impossible possible.

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