MURALS brings the war devastation in Ukraine to Cannes Film Festival
MURALS is a powerful immersive experience shedding light on the ongoing war in Ukraine through a virtual showcase of the ruins of Kyiv which feature artwork from street artist Banksy. Disguise, along with an international team of volunteers brought the visuals and important message to life, eliciting an emotional response at Cannes Next Film Festival.
The journey of the project began when Sten-Kristian Saluveer, strategic advisor and head of Cannes NEXT met Maciej Żemojcin at an innovation forum during Tallinn Dark Nights Film Festival. The process of scanning was already initiated by Artem Ivanenko in Ukraine, who had travelled extensively capturing 3D scans of buildings destroyed by Russian Forces. Some of these buildings featured graffiti murals by the artist Banksy. The team meticulously photographed and scanned these ruins, capturing the essence and history of the war zone.
Spanish-based Tigrelab, renowned for their virtual content expertise and led by Federico Gonzalez, transformed the scans into a digital story with Unreal Engine 5, which was then delivered through the Disguise EX3 media server and displayed on high-quality True Performance LED screens. L-acoustics provided top-quality 8 channel spatial audio, bringing the sounds of war and spoken poetry that would form an unforgettable nine-minute immersive experience.
A global team collaboration
"Our goal with MURALS was to convey a message, not just create art. This project served as a mission to draw attention to the war in Ukraine that is being increasingly overlooked," explains PixelRace’s Maciej Zemojcin who was producer of the project, together with Radoslawa Bardes from ATM Virtual.
In addition to featuring the artwork from Banksy, the team included talent such as Grammy award-winning director duo Alex Topaller and Dan Shapiro from Aggressive.tv who have long supported Ukraine with their fundraising project Ukraine Express as well as their Paper Planes art exhibition, which showcases Ukrainian artists’ work on the subject of the war. Artist Bart Putkiewicz, a Golden Reel winner, created the sound design for the project.
It’s a pro-bono project produced with support of The Polish Ukrainian Cooperation Fund from The Polish Film Institute led by Radoslaw Smigulski.
“This project shows collaboration between many countries including Ukraine, Poland, USA, Spain, UK, Estonia and France, explains Disguise Technical Solutions Manager Lanz Short. Short contributed as a programmer alongside Disguise CXO Alex Wills, who consulted on the project.
renders in Unreal Engine
visitors at the Marche du Film Festival
minutes of immersive storytelling
The narrative of the MURALS experience was carefully crafted, combining visual and auditory elements to create an emotional journey brought to life on LED screens, accompanied by the sounds of military trucks, explosions, and voices, highlighting the human toll of the war. Facts and stories about lives lost further emphasised the gravity of the situation.
As such, the technical aspects of the project were carefully planned and executed to the highest standards. The newly-developed Disguise EX3 server was chosen to deliver the immersive experience, with two 4K outputs running on True Performance 1.8 mm pitch LED panels.
The audio had been mixed using L-ISA and was delivered using an 8.1 spatial surround system provided by L-acoustics.
The content for the project was particularly challenging due to there being a lot of dark black gradients. The team had to examine all parts of the pipeline to ensure colour banding didn’t become an issue. The Disguise EX3 server was set up to overcome this by setting it for HDR 10-bit.DPX image sequence playback.
"The ability to perform video playback in 10-bit was key for this project," explains Short.
The impact of "MURALS" was overwhelming. According to Maciej Zemojcin, "the response to the project was more than we expected. I have never before seen so many people come out of the screening, touched by the experience or crying - telling us how terrible the war in Ukraine is."
Up to 800 visitors saw the experience at the Marche du Film Festival- a huge crowd considering the exclusivity and professional character of the film market.
Going forward, the ambition is to further develop "MURALS" as a fully-fledged immersive experience, raising more awareness and encouraging global conversations about the devastating effects of war.
This project is not just about the art; it's about delivering a message. It's about reminding people that there is a war happening right now, and it's our responsibility to acknowledge and address it.