Mia Rodriguez Sarmiento

“France, a catalyst for creative adventures”

An engineer, specialising in cultural management and the management of audiovisual post-production, Colombian Mia Rodriguez Sarmiento campaigns for the international development of the immersive realities sector. In March she was in France for Laval Virtual, an international trade show dedicated to virtual reality.

Updated on 10/05/2019

5 min

Mia Rodriguez Sarmiento
Mia Rodriguez Sarmiento
© @camography

Mia Rodriguez Sarmiento works in the New Media department of Proimagénes Colombia, a mixed film promotion fund and counterpart of the French CNC. She is also a consultant on the creative industries for the United Nations Development Programme.


How was your experience at Laval Virtual?

Absolutely overwhelming. It is moving and rare for everyone to come together at the same time, in the same place, to explore, clear new paths, and experience a new field, explore opportunities for cooperation and collaboration, and ask questions together about technique, about the use of technology, and above all, about humanity.


Were you already familiar with French augmented and virtual reality?

France is a leader in the exploration of new creative worlds: it is the partner of choice for creative industries. Each of my trips to France lets me discover exciting projects. One project at this edition of Laval Virtual was particularly striking to me: Hanahana by Mélodie Mousset. An immersion in a surreal and limitless space, a sublime experience from the point of view of the user, with a singular gentleness. I would have liked to stay there! I came out soothed for the whole day.


What is Latin America's place in the world of creation and innovation?

Argentina and Brazil are in a good position – ahead of Colombia – simply because of their size and audiovisual tradition – though their future remains uncertain because of changes to their governments. Colombia, for its part, has just emerged from 50 years of war. It is nevertheless remarkable that in a country where there has never really been any financial investment in culture, there is a fund for cinema like Proimagénes. The public authorities returned to supporting cinema in 2003, with the "cinema law" that allowed the birth of Colombian films. Today, many creators are turning to immersive realities. Paradoxically, this form of creation resembles a return to 35 mm: we set up the camera and we don't know what the result will look like. You have to be patient, pay attention to everything you produce... You rediscover a love for the materials and careful reflection. And these films are becoming more and more popular: in Bogota alone, there are five different festivals allowing the public to discover VR. Everything is moving very quickly!


Do you have plans for international collaboration?

Proimagénes has signed an exclusive agreement with Canada for the co-development of web series and other digital media projects. We are also working on international agreements between Colombia, Canada and France. There are of course already examples of cooperations between France and Colombia. Think about The Infinite Flight of Days (“Jericó, le vol infini des jours”) (2016) by Colombian filmmaker Catalina Mesa, who studied at the FEMIS: the documentary was filmed in Colombia, but all the editing and post-production was done in France.

What do you think of French support for cultural creation?

In my discussions, I have always found open, attentive partners who are ready to discuss and develop a network. There is an assertive and caring vision here that makes it possible to take advantage of every opportunity to be the first to change things. France is both a catalyst for creativity and a catalyst for creative adventures! This makes it a destination of choice for creators, such as Carlos Franklin, a Colombian based in Paris and an iconic central figure in the world of VR. Today, he is better known here than in his country of origin, which represents an ideal bridge for developing co-creations.


Do you think that language can be a barrier to the creation of international collaborations?

I saw The V Cliffs (“The Falaises of V”), an experience situated between theatre and virtual reality, by Laurent Bazin. There were subtitles, but it became clear that the language really didn’t matter. In immersive reality, you don’t always need to talk. Emotions and sensations have their own language, which everyone, whatever their language, understands. Many projects use music instead. The cognitive process is more accessible, allowing further exploration. The beauty of immersive reality is that it is universal.


How do you see the future?

This may be a very personal desire and vision, but I would very much like to see the development of research laboratories aimed at creating immersive experiences accessible to all, regardless of age or financial means. This accessibility is essential if we want to reduce this fear of technology and innovation to make everyone see them in a more positive light.

I am very optimistic about the future: accessibility, dissemination, co-creation. The creative industries, thanks to immersive realities, can have a considerable impact on all other fields of industry. As we are in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we are increasingly in need soft skills, of opening up and learning to be more creative. Creativity, arts and design come to the service of science, technology, mathematics, economics, society, etc. We can do a lot thanks to the creative industries. And I am even more convinced of this after my visit to France!

The Institut français and the project

From 18th to 22nd March 2019, Mia Rodriguez Sarmiento participated in the Focus on Immersive Realities organised by the Institut français, which hosted 28 professionals from all over the world to introduce them to creation in the field. More on the Focus on Immersive Realities 


L'institut français, LAB