Iñárritu’s CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) has been optimized for touring by PHI Studio in partnership with Emerson Electric Collective and Legendary Entertainment, and will tour internationally, beginning with 2020 presentations in Aurora, Colorado, and Montreal, Quebec.
MONTREAL, Oct. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Originally presented in a world premiere during the 70th Cannes Film Festival in 2017, where it was the first VR experience ever chosen as part of the festival’s Official Selection, Iñárritu’s conceptual installation has evolved to be optimized for touring by Montreal based PHI Studio. Its new format allows for more people to experience this groundbreaking and poignant work, which explores the human condition of refugees and immigrants.
CARNE y ARENA is a twenty-minute immersive experience centered around a multi-narrative virtual reality sequence based on true accounts reenacted by Central American and Mexican refugees. Lines between subject and bystander are blurred and bound together through state-of-the-art immersive technology as visitors of CARNE y ARENA walk in a vast, sand-filled space and live a fragment of a refugee’s personal journey.
The work transports participants into the Chihuahuan Desert. There, they join a caravan of migrants being led by a coyote across the U.S. border, leading to a dangerous but commonplace encounter with the U.S. Border Patrol.
CARNE y ARENA reunites frequent collaborators Alejandro G. Iñárritu and three-time Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. In 2017, Iñárritu was presented a special Oscar® for CARNE y ARENA, recognized by the Academy as an exceptional storytelling experience.
"During the making of this project, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing many Mexican and Central American refugees. Their life stories haunted me, so I invited some of them to collaborate with me on the project. My intention was to experiment with VR technology to explore the human condition in an attempt to break the dictatorship of the frame—within which things are just observed—and claim the space to allow the visitor to go through a direct experience walking in the immigrants’ feet, under their skin, and into their hearts."
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
PHI Studio is renowned for its expertise and know-how in the presentation and marketing of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) works.
In optimizing CARNE y ARENA for touring, the PHI Studio team achieved technical feats, finding innovative solutions for portable and durable set design, enhancing automation, gaining efficiency, and reducing set-up and tear-down time.
The capacity of the installation has also been tripled. Initially presented as a singular experience, CARNE y ARENA can now be experienced by three concurrent visitors in separate rooms situated within the 8,000 square-foot installation.
The spaces are designed in such a way for visitors to circulate while limiting interactions and to respect distances safely and comfortably.
"We first had the opportunity to experience the work when it premiered at the Cannes Festival, and later in Washington, DC. We recognized its importance and the deeply moving feelings it evokes as we experienced the simulated US Mexican border crossing with Central American and Mexican refugees. CARNE y ARENA addresses issues that are of great relevance, even more so today. PHI’s mission is to give voice to artists while engaging the public through their artwork. We are proud to bring the PHI Studio team’s expertise to this project, enabling for the installation to travel seamlessly across cities, while providing an opportunity for an even larger audience to experience this powerful work."
Phoebe Greenberg, founder and director of PHI
Originally produced and presented by Legendary Entertainment, Fondazione Prada, and Emerson Electric Collective, a leading advocacy organization with a focus on immigration reform, CARNE y ARENA has had critically acclaimed runs in a handful of locations including Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Milan, Mexico City and Amsterdam. These entities, now in collaboration with PHI Studio, are committed to spreading the project’s compelling and urgent message to audiences around the globe.
"The root of the division in our society comes from our inability to see ourselves in one another and recognize our common humanity. CARNE y ARENA confronts that division, putting us in the shoes of immigrants and refugees, and making it impossible for us to look away. It is an incredibly moving experience that, I hope, will help bring about a shift in how we see ourselves and one another."
Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president of Emerson Electric Collective
"From its inception, CARNE y ARENA has not only challenged minds but touched hearts in an unexpected way that has inspired a meaningful dialogue that defies boundaries. We are thrilled that our partnership with PHI Studio and Emerson Electric Collective will allow Alejandro’s visionary work to give even greater voice to the journey and emotional plight of the migrant experience while imparting to it the dignity it so rightfully deserves."
CARNE y ARENA will premiere in its optimized format in Aurora, Colorado, this Fall and open in Montreal in late 2020. Further North American and European dates will be announced subsequently.
About the Director
Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a Mexican film director, writer, and producer. His feature films, which often break with traditional narrative structures and explore the complex depths of the human condition have garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including five Academy Awards®.
He made his feature directorial debut at the Cannes Semaine de la Critique in 2000 and was nominated for a Foreign Film Academy Award with Amores Perros. His following credits include 21 Grams; Babel, which won the Best Director Award at the 2006 Festival de Cannes and garnered seven Oscar nominations; and Biutiful, presented in competition in 2010 at Cannes. Iñárritu took home the prize for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the 87th Academy Awards for Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). The following year, Iñárritu won his second consecutive Academy Award for Best Director for The Revenant. He is the first Mexican filmmaker to be nominated for either director or producer and to receive a Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Most recently, Iñárritu created the VR installation CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible), which was premiered at the 2017 Festival de Cannes as the first VR project ever included in the official selection. The installation has also been exhibited at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, a converted church in Washington, DC., and the Tlatelolco University Cultural Center in Mexico City. Finally, CARNE y ARENA garnered Iñárritu his fifth Academy Award, a special Oscar presented to him by the Board of Governors.
About Emmanuel Lubezki
Emmanuel Lubezki is one of the world’s most innovative cinematographers, known for his groundbreaking use of natural lighting and continuous uninterrupted shots. With CARNE y ARENA, Lubezki continues to push technological boundaries and help redefine the cinematic future. Lubezki became the first cinematographer to win three consecutive Academy Awards® for his work in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity (2014) and Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman (2015) and The Revenant (2016). Lubezki is a frequent collaborator of Cuarón, Iñárritu, and Terrence Malick and has lensed such films as Malick’s Tree of Life (2011) and The New World (2005) and Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006), Y tu mamá también (2001), and A Little Princess (1995). Other film credits include Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999), Michael Mann’s Ali (2001), and Rodrigo Garcia’s Last Days in the Desert (2015). In addition to eight Academy Award® nominations, Lubezki is the recipient of five ASC Awards, four BAFTA Awards, and the 2016 Royal Photographic Society Lumière Award for major achievement in cinematography.
About PHI Studio
PHI Studio focuses its activities on the presentation of immersive works in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR). Recognized locally and internationally for its innovative production approach, technical expertise, and achievements in new forms of storytelling, PHI Studio collaborates with major global industry players and has worked on many award-winning projects, with international presentations in New York, Tokyo, Venice, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, and Salt Lake City, among others. As a pioneer in interactive experiences, PHI Studio pushes the boundaries of immersive projects, with a focus on enhancing the visitor experience through a keen sense of detail and the elaboration of high-quality scenography. With a reputation for close collaborations with artists, creators, directors, and producers from different backgrounds, PHI Studio aspires to be a catalyst of innovation, supporting the development of present and future talent.
About Legendary Entertainment
Legendary Entertainment is a leading media company with film (Legendary Pictures), television and digital (Legendary Television and Digital Media) and comics (Legendary Comics) divisions dedicated to owning, producing and delivering content to worldwide audiences. Legendary has built a library of marquee media properties and has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment including some of the world's most popular intellectual property. In aggregate, Legendary Pictures-associated productions have realized grosses of more than $17 billion worldwide at the box office. To learn more visit: www.legendary.com
About Emerson Electric Collective
Emerson Electric Collective deploys a wide range of tools—from impact investing to philanthropy to advocacy—in pursuit of a more equal and just America. We focus on creating systemic change in education, immigration, climate, and cancer research and treatment.
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