BattleScar, created by Nico Casavecchia and Martin Allais
As announced earlier in April during the industry days of the Parisian NewImages Festival (see the news), French Immersion is a new programme launched to support the promotion of French virtual-reality productions in the United States. Coming into effect at the 17th Tribeca Film Festival, French Immersion aims to give a much-needed extra boost to productions participating in Tribeca Immersive.
The programme is an initiative of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the USA and is organised in partnership with UniFrance, the CNC, the Institut Français and the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE Foundation). French Immersion will promote virtual, augmented and mixed reality works, immersive experiences, 360-degree videos, video games and artistic installations that, apart from Tribeca, will participate in other leading US festivals, such as Sundance, SXSW and COLCOA, as well as cultural institutions and museums. Through French Immersion, creators and producers will be able to visit the USA during the presentation of their work, which will allow them to forge further links with the market.
Three works with French-majority production that are taking part in Tribeca 2018 will be the first to benefit from the French Immersion programme. The first is BattleScar (USA/France), which originally premiered at Sundance 2018. It is a coming-of-age animated drama set in New York in 1978, which follows Lupe (Rosario Dawson) and her adventures with her punk-rock band. It was created by Nico Casavecchia and Martin Allais, and was produced by Atlas V.
Another project by the same, newly founded studio is the immersive documentary Vestige (UK/France/USA – see the news), directed by Aaron Bradbury, which will be having its world premiere. The third work, also enjoying a world premiere, is the new episode of the Firebird series, entitled The Unfinished (France). In their 2016 first episode, the focus of creators Hadrien Lanvin and Balthazar Auxietre was dance, while now they pay homage to sculpture, inspired by the works of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel. Once again, the production company is Paris-based InnerSpace.
Regarding French Immersion, Benoît Blanchard, head of promotion of short formats and new media at Unifrance, stated: “Thanks to this new initiative, Unifrance will be able to help two to three times more projects, and with a bigger budget per project.” It should also be noted that the CNC has invested more than €6 million in the creation of VR projects since 2014.