Michel Reilhac

Virtual reality is not yet a fully credible physical experience in the sensory dimension. The dream for me is the day when we can have these extraordinary experiences with a much wider range of sensory perception than we do now.

Former director of the Forum des Images and Arte France Cinéma, Michel Reilhac now devotes himself to transmedia writing and immersive experiences. Director of several virtual reality films, he is currently curator of the VR Expanded section of the Venice Biennale. 

Updated on 18/10/2021

2 min

Michel Reilhac was appointed Director General of the Forum des Images in 1993, before taking over as head of Arte France Cinéma from 2002 to 2012. He is also an independent producer with his company Mélange, and was for a time director of Submarine Channel, a production company based in Amsterdam, where he currently lives.

His career also includes work as a contemporary dancer and touring producer for major dance companies. He developed Le grand bal in 1993, an attempt to forge a hybrid of the ageing ballroom format and contemporary dance. A recognised expert in transmedia and a regular guest at festivals and international conferences, he resigned from his position at Arte in 2012 and decided to devote himself to writing and producing immersive experiences. 

With a wealth of experience in institutions dedicated to the production and promotion of multimedia works, Michel Reilhac decided in 2012 to devote himself fully to his passion: transmedia writing. A specialist in virtual and augmented reality, which he also practices as a filmmaker, he is now Director of Studies at the Venice Biennale's Cinema College and curator of the VR Expanded section

His research focuses on the notion of presence in immersive narrative experiences: he is interested in the design of avatars and the different ways in which the user can physically enter metaverses (virtual worlds linked to the Internet). Eager to enrich the sensory dimension of virtual reality experiences, he experiments with new technologies that allow, in addition to image and sound, stimulation of the user's sense of smell and touch.

For the past few years, Michel Reilhac has devoted himself to the production of hybrid experiences, often with the use of virtual reality headsets. Viens! which premièred at Sundance in 2016, plunges the viewer into a sensual universe where eight naked actors, immersed in a cotton wool setting composed of a white inflatable structure, exchange caresses and undergo a profound spiritual transformation in order to become one with the world. Convinced that virtual reality as a medium allows us to "experience dance from the inside", Michel Reilhac also created Fugue VR in collaboration with dancer Yoann Bourgeois. In this participatory dance performance, the audience is invited to experiment with notions of emptiness and fragility. 

Fugue VR
Fugue VR
  • 1993


    Appointed general director of the Forum des Images.

  • 2002


    Head of Arte France Cinéma.

  • 2016


    Viens! is presented at Sundance.

  • 2018


    Fugue VR, with Yoann Bourgeois.

  • 2021


    Co-curator of Venice VR Expanded, during the Venice Film Festival.

The Institut français and the artist

Michel Reilhac is co-curator of Venice VR Expanded, during the Venice Film Festival. Venice VR Expanded 2021 has been presented by the CentQuatre-Paris, in partnership with Diversion cinema and with the support of the Institut français, the CNC and Unifrance. 

L'institut français, LAB