The beginning is an egg. An oval. An idea is born that we want to pursue. We love film. Especially innovative, evolving film that allows the expansion of possibilities and simultaneously communicates directly with a number of senses.
Our goal was to identify contemporary universal themes and combine them with gripping individual destinies. That was why we joined forces in 1998. We created interactive video installations, photo series, short experimental films and numerous television documentaries. Leaving behind the limitations of the past, we turned to a combination of technology, science, economy and art in order to collaborate on projects totally in keeping with out contemporary world.
At the beginning of 2016, driven by the commitment to explore common potential in different disciplines, we began a partnership with MÉLANGE, led by Michel Reilhac, a, thought-leader for hybrid forms of storytelling, and immersive, participative and interactive experiences. In recognition of his work at Arte France, Michel was named Man of the Year by readers of the French trade magazine « Le Film Français ». This is how the established bases of OVALmedia in Berlin and Cologne, as well as MÉLANGE in Paris evolved into OVALmedia / MÉLANGE, an innovative international media company.
Thus, this triumvirate of minds and prisms is working on the single goal of creating elaborate new projects. Project that catch the spirit and the demands of the age. It is for this reason that we have merged – to expose audiences to some fragments.
One of our first projects in 2003 was the documentary “Half a Chance?” which received the German-French Journalism Prize’s “Newcomer Award”. Our two-part documentary series “Disgustingly healthy” about medical treatment with leeches and maggots won the 2007 Ekotopfilm prize. In 2008, we supported Matthias Luthardt (“Ping Pong”) and Michaela Kirst with the direction of “Jesus Loves You”; a film is about radical Christians from around the world who organized a large-scale missionary operation at the sites of the Soccer World Cup in Germany. The documentary lauded at numerous international festivals, including the German Berlinale.
Our theatrical documentary “Pianomania” had a very successful cinema run in 25 countries. It was awarded, among other prizes, the “Semaine de la Critique” prize in Lucarno, the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the German Film Award in the category Best Sound Design. This humorous film about the search for the perfect sound demonstrates the nerve-racking collaboration between the piano technician Stefan Weavers and star pianists Lang Lang, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alfred Brendel. “Pianomania” was awarded the rating “Exceptionally Worthwhile”.
Each film opened the door to a different world. The research, production and interpretation of our projects brought us into contact with book authors, curators, musicians, and many other interesting and innovative media people. This allowed us – strengthened by the success of “Pianomania” – to take the next steps. We began to focus on transmedia concepts. We owe the foundation of this to our early years, when OVALmedia implemented a large number of Internet projects for clients like German Films, AG Doc, Luebbe Media and Association of the Dispossessed, among others.
Michel Reilhac has shown his avant-garde spirit through numerous projects, Among other projects, his work in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay in 2015, transforms “The Painter’s Atelier” into a truly immersive visual and audio experience. His contribution to new forms of interactive mediation positions him now as an internationally recognized multiplatform storytelling expert.
In 2015, Michel’s virtual reality short film “Viens!” gave the tone for our future collaboration as OVALmedia / MÉLANGE. Selected for both the Sundance Film Festival and the European Film Market in Berlin 2016, “Viens!” entices the viewer to participate in a total immersion experience and to abandon himself to this escalating new artistic adventure.
At this time, we are developing “Story Worlds”, an emotional experience, which will be conveyed simultaneously through various forms of media. We are initiating informational campaigns. The basis of this project are thrilling and surprising stories for listeners, viewers and players.
As media professionals we feel a responsibility to give people a better understanding of our world. Only those who extrapolate context and content can champion for the common good. In order to achieve our goals, we need to begin with the topic and use old and new methodology in both our country, and around the world.
Boundaries no longer exist between various media and other disciplines. Previously impossible collaborations are continuously being crossed. Science, business and art are integrating. At OVALmedia / MÉLANGE, we are creating a large variety of projects that alter more than the sum of their parts. Ideas that grow beyond themselves. Staying true to our passion for real and surprising stories, we face the creative future of our media industry with all the exciting profound changes that challenge us.
Michel Reilhac, Lilian Franck, Robert Cibis