French documentary filmmakers Chloe Rochereuil (director) and Victor Agulhon (producer) have been churning out eventful releases on the Meta platform for the past 3 years. Their film SURVIVING 9/11 already demonstrated the importance of exploring key dates in history, and JFK MEMENTO continues in this direction. More than just a film, it’s an exploration of places and facts in the light of the 60th anniversary of the Dallas tragedy.
Interview by Dane Christensen, written and translated by Mathieu Gayet.
After September 11, November 22
Victor Agulhon – JFK MEMENTO is TARGO’s first interactive 3D documentary. We really wanted to create a new kind of documentary in 6DOF. The JFK assassination was also the right theme for this: the action takes place exclusively in the past, and most of the locations have changed completely… The 3D reconstruction was essential. To maintain our documentary and photorealistic approach, we carried out intensive 3D laser and photo capture campaigns-all the locations are reconstructed as they were in 1963, with exact dimensions and the right colors. It was a work of immersive archaeology!
Chloe Rochereuil – At TARGO , we try to produce experiences that speak to everyone JFK MEMENTO is no exception to the rule: the assassination of President Kennedy is a great classic of American history, and it’s a theme that resonates with all of us – us first! We’re particularly fond of producing documentaries around historical subjects, having previously produced SURVIVING 9/11 with Meta in 2021. For JFK MEMENTO, the challenge was even greater: on the one hand, it’s our first 6DOF/interactive content, and on the other, it’s a sensitive and controversial subject that demands particular attention to writing and creation. Being able to work in collaboration with The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, was a great help in ensuring the relevance and veracity of our message, and in understanding all the issues at stake.
Navigate a historic event in VR
V. A. – At the heart of the project are the archives of the event: films, photos, radio recordings, TV broadcasts… Our mission was to give them meaning in virtual reality. Each type of archive was treated in a different context-photographs were transformed into 3D scenes, home movies were converted to stereoscopy, crowds were reconstituted by matching all available media… The result is 3D environments that come to life as successive archives appear-and that reconstruct the event precisely as it happened.
C. R. – All the locations in the story were recreated in 3D from scans and on-the-spot shots. We also used archives, plans and eyewitness accounts to make sure we accurately modeled the locations of the event. Projected in these environments, the photo and video archives take on their full meaning, offering a spatial understanding of history. As for the assassination itself, we wanted to show it without being too graphic. We needed a minimum of distance from the subject to make the experience accessible to all. JFK memento is an immersive exploration of a world-famous historical event through the eyes of those who lived through it. It’s a radically new way of experiencing history.
C. R. – The photo and video archives were treated differently, depending on their place in the film. Some 2D archives have been converted to 3D format and are presented on a black background: by adding relief, we make them more present, more concrete. Others have been cut out and integrated into the 3D environment, allowing them to be contextualized… Even if their treatment is different, the objective remains the same: to give a second life to the archives and break the frame of these photos and videos to enter into them.
V. A. – Basically, JFK MEMENTO replicates the behavior of the public visiting Dealey Plaza – the site of the assassination. In Dealey Plaza, everyone walks from one end of the square to the other, looking at the window where the shots came from, and asks themselves the question “is this really possible?”. VR allows us to reproduce and enhance this experience. In the documentary, Dealey Plaza is augmented by archives, videos and trajectories, and the understanding of events becomes truly singular.
C. R. – JFK MEMENTO is now available online in its entirety. The experience is divided into 5 chapters, ranging from the assassination of the president, to the discovery of the event’s legacy and its conspiracy theories, to the hunt for and investigation of the suspect.