'Colette' Oscar win is a first for the video game industry

The film was part of Respawn Entertainment's Medal of Honor VR game.


The documentary short Colette won an Oscar last night, a first for the video game industry, and it took an unusual route to get there. The film was originally produced by Oculus Studios and EA's Respawn Entertainment as part of the first-person shooter VR game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. In keeping with Medal of Honor's historical accuracy aims, players can unlock short "Gallery" films (in a regular 2D format) about real-life World War II veterans as they progress through the game. Among those is a 24-minute piece on Colette Marin-Catherine.

Directed by Anthony Giacchino, the film tells the story of Colette, who is now 90 years old and one of the last surviving French Resistance members. After the war she refused to set foot in Germany, but was eventually persuaded to do so by a young history student, Lucie Fouble. Once there, she visits the Nazi concentration camp where her brother, Jean-Pierre, was killed.

After it was acquired and distributed by The Guardian, Colette won an award for best short film at the Big Sky Festival, making it eligible for an Oscar. After taking the statue, it's not just the first Oscar tied to the video game industry, but the first for The Guardian's Documentaries division.

"The real hero here is Colette herself, who has shared her story with integrity and strength," said Oculus Studios director of production Mike Doran in a statement. “As we see in the film, resistance takes courage, but facing one’s past may take even more. Allowing us to preserve this pilgrimage for future generations was a true act of bravery and trust." You can watch it here.