The ‘Houria’ Team on Using NFTs to Increase Cinema Profits and Social Impact | Promotion

The ‘Houria’ Team on Using NFTs to Increase Cinema Profits and Social Impact |  Promotion


How can cinema benefit from non-fungible tokens, also called NFTs – unique digital assets whose ownership can be easily traced by anyone? And how can a film’s social impact be expanded by this new technology? The team behind Houriafrom French-Algerian director Mounia Meddour, will showcase this innovative strategy during a special event at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, where a limited collection of NFTs inspired by the film was unveiled.

Houria stars Lyna Khoudri as a young ballet dancer who loses the ability to speak after an attack. Combining dance and sign language, the film continues the feminist trajectory of Meddour’s acclaimed fiction debut Papicha.

Meddour and producer Grégoire Gensollen, of Paris-based The Ink Connection, had already ventured into the world of blockchain to finish funding the Papicha, working with Patrice Poujol, CEO of Hong Kong-based company Lumiere. “Patrice suggested that we tokenize the investments of our investors,” says Gensollen. “That meant the contracts would be on the blockchain, easy to see and transfer, unlike classic contracts that would only exist on paper.”

Transparency is at the heart of Web3, the decentralized online space based on blockchain, and Lumiere is already working to set up an automated, AI-powered traceability device called Elemis (a reference to the early and silent film pioneer Méliès) to make productions more accountable. The trio made it up Papicha that this technology can also offer new ways to reach the public.

“We saw a young audience adapting to the film and we wanted to build on that for Houria“, explains Poujol. “Both NFTs and the film can reach young people familiar with new media and technologies, who may already have a crypto wallet and some experience with NFTs.”

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It is a dynamic that they believe can also work the other way around. “We can provoke a constructive dialogue with people who are initially not interested in the film’s themes,” explains Meddour. “Very young players may be interested in the digital experience we offer, therefore opening them up to unexpected topics such as the journey of a young ballerina in Algeria after the civil war.”

Designing NFT’s creative assets and providing the online platform for their distribution is MADwomen, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based company MADworld that seeks to “empower female creators in the digital space,” explains co-founder Kelly Leung. The NFTs will be sold at reasonable prices, aiming to increase the ranks of NFT buyers, but also to increase the social impact of the film.

“NFT itself is a tool, and it’s also a donation,” explains Poujol. Ten percent of gross profits from the sale of Houria NFTs will go to Femmes Sourdes Citoyennes et Solidaires, a Paris-based non-profit organization chosen by Meddour for its support of deaf women who, like Khoudri’s character in the film, have often been victims of violence. As with the investor contracts on Papicha, the 10 percent donation from NFT’s sale will be easily traceable.

In keeping with the openness and decentralization at the heart of the project, and with what Poujol calls a “phygital” strategy that bridges the analog and digital worlds, the private event will allow the owners of the digital assets to meet the team behind both the film and the nonprofit .

“Besides the virtual digital world,” says Meddour, “it was also important to show the reality on the ground – the writers behind these stories, the directors who make these films and images, but also the dancers, the people from the organization, with sign language translators.”

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Leung emphasizes this connection between the online and IRL worlds, describing the Cannes event as “an opportunity for charities, NGOs and other social organizations to see that there are technology companies with platforms that can help them”.

“In Cannes, people go from one drinks reception to another,” adds Gensollen. “It’s all that glitz and glamour, but here they might have a moment to think: ‘Oh, cinema can do that too – make things move, change lives and perceptions, create a dialogue.’

Buzz in the metaverse

It’s a vision Lumiere continues well beyond the Cannes event. The company already offers other tools to support film projects – “phygital” products, metaverse and XR experiences – and is also involved in film projects such as The Infinite Machine, which tells the story of Ethereum, the second largest digital asset in the world behind. only Bitcoin, co-produced by Versus Entertainment. The most ambitious project remains Lumiverse, described by Poujol as an “embassy of cinema”. The multiverse environment will have a presence in several metaverses at the same time, offering exclusive experiences related to the films it supports and connecting a large community of film lovers.

Houria in focus

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