Last night, two gaming studios Oculus Studios and Respawn Entertainment made history as the first-ever Oscar winners of the Best Short Documentary for their co-production for Colette directed by Anthony Giacchino and produced by Alice Doyard. As Giacchinon and Doyard were traveling Europe and researching WWII events, they were introduced to Colette Marin-Catherine who inspired their now Oscar-winning short. The film follows the story of Colette Marin-Catherine who was once a member of the French Resistance, and after 74 years and some encouragement from the historian Lucie Fouble, she visits the concentration camp where her brother was killed during the war.
As they were filming, both Giacchino and Doyard were careful to respect Colette Marin-Catherine as she travelled. She was given choice regarding when she wanted filming to stop and what would be shown. Each scene was carefully outlined, but the emotions and reactions were not scripted but an authentic portrayal of Colette Marin-Catherine and her experiences.
The short is a part of a series of documentaries in the “Gallery Mode” that are featured in the virtual reality game–Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. In Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, players must survive WWII in Europe as they oppose the Nazi Regime in the French Resistance. As they progress in the game, more features and footage are available in the “Gallery Mode.” These shorts featured veterans who as Colette Marin-Catherine visit places that were significant to them during WWII, and many of them were featured at various film festivals with one premiering at the 2020 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
The game was not originally intended for virtual reality, but after Respawn spoke to Oculus about the game, they collaborated to bring the game to the Oculus systems as well as Steam. Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is estimated to be one of the most expensive virtual reality projects to date.