French Start-ups at SXSW 2014

March 3, 2014 | By French Culture

For more than two decades the music industry has migrated to Austin, Texas every year for the massive South by Southwest festival (SXSW). In the mid-1990s the festival expanded to include both film and technology. Today SXSW Interactive, has become nearly as important to the tech industry as the original festival has been to the music industry.

This year the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and UBIFRANCE launched a new initiative for SXSW Interactive. Dubbed French Tech @SXSW, the venture hopes to bring together some of the most exciting new French startups to represent the country's tech community. From mobile film app Cinemacity to popular indie game Type: Rider, the initiative provides a broad survey of the French tech scene. 

Cinemacity is a unique app that allows you to watch a scene from a movie at the exact location where it was originally shot. Originally developed in France it is expanding to include locations around the world. While at the festival, founders Pierre Cattan and Michel Reilhac hope to "meet partners interested in working on local versions [of the app]" and, also, other innovators in the field of locative media and smart cities.

Darjeeling, Lumento and Small Bang are three other film and video focused startups coming to the Pavilion this year. Small Bang is a "transmedia studio" whose work combines "documentary and fictional storytelling" with "visual arts and computer code." The collective also runs an experimental space in Paris called Superbelleville. An award-winning, Paris-based multimedia production studio, Darjeeling also combines film production with online tools to produce "intimate, interactive narratives about the modern world."  Lumento is a "creative lab," who have produced the documentary "Chasing Bonnie & Clyde." The film takes a look at recent youth rehabilitation programs in Texas by asking the question, "Would Bonnie and Clyde's story been different has they grown up in Texas today?" The filmmakers Olivier Lambert and Thomas Salva are "looking for American partnerships in order to secure funding, distribution and social impact" at this year's festival.

Finally, Agat Films is one of France's leading film and television production company's. In 2006 Agat Films created Ex Nihilo, a project that focuses on new media, including video games, augmented reality and transmedia programs. Last year they released the hugely successful mobile and PC "game-documentary" Type: Rider, which allows players to tour the history of typography as a side-scrolling video game, which has been nominated for SXSW Gamer’s Voice Award. The developers are hoping to meet companies "interested in mixing technology and story-telling" for potential collaborations and co-productions. 


Honkytonk Films is an interactive studio considered as one of the pioneers in the growing field of immersive filmmaking.

With Klynt, its original interactive editing application, this Paris-based agency has built the first open source platform dedicated to web native storytellers.

At SXSW 2014: The company will be featuring Klynt latest features and meeting with Media portals, NGOs and Educational institutions to explore possible international partnerships.


Small Bang is a native transmedia studio founded in 2012 by Pierre Cattan, home to versatile teams combining documentary and fictional storytelling, visual arts and computer code.

Cinemacity is a free mobile app co-produced by Arte and Small Bang that allows one to access and view a scene from a movie when on the exact spot where it was shot.  Cinemacity is now in the process of being developped for many other film cities of the world. Cinemacity is also a creative workshop: the Cinelab. It aims to produce fiction walks.

At SXSW 2014: "We expect to meet partners interested in working with us on local versions of Cinemacity.  We also would like to meet with start-ups working on smart cities (public digital and cultural politics and services, big data, creative cities etc.), mobile devices for geo-experiment (like Glyph…)."


Darjeeling is an award-winning multimedia production studio, based in Paris, working with top visual storytellers and interactive designers to create intimate narratives about the modern world.

The Philip K. Dick Experience is a bimedia project made up of a TV documentary and a video game. While the film proposes a vision of our modern and over-connected world through the work of the american writer Philip K. Dick, the video game offers an innovative and immersive way to experiment Dick’s notions and themes.

At SXSW 2014: "We hope to meet decisions makers in interactive and gaming industry, talents and creatives, distributors, cutting edge technology applied to storytelling."


Chasing Bonnie & Clyde : Narrated by the folk singer Black Yaya, this feature doc and an interactive concept embark you on a journey about the unexpected programs of rehabilitation for criminals in Texas. When rehab is cheaper than imprisonment, would the famous outlaws have a second chance nowadays ?

Lumento is a French creative narrative lab founded in 2012 in Paris by the multi-awarded writers and directors Olivier Lambert and Thomas Salva. Lumento produces Chasing Bonnie & Clyde.

At SXSW 2014: "In order to release Chasing Bonnie & Clyde next fall 2014, Lumento is looking for American partnerships in order to secure fundings, distribution and social impact."


Type: Rider
Produced by EX NIHILO & ARTE France, created by Cosmografik, Type:Rider is a game-documentary that aims to revive interest in the history of typography through an interactive and transmedia experience including : a video game (WebPlayer/Smartphones/ tablets/ PC/Mac), a social game (Facebook) and an art installation, designed for cultural facilities. IOS | Android

Created in 1984, Agat Films/Ex Nihilo is held by 9 associate producers and has become one of the leading independent film and television production company. Since 2006, under the Ex Nihilo label, the company develops innovative content for new media, such as video games, ARG experiences and transmedia programs.

Type: Rider has been nominated for the SXSW Gamer’s Voice Award Best  Game in the Indie Corner Showcase. The winner is selected by gamers on the SXSW Gaming Expo floor.

At SXSW 2014: "We expect from SXSW to help us meet companies interested in coproduction. We are also very much interested in start-ups companies specialized in new technology, who would be interested in mixing technology and story-telling in the entertainment and cultural industry."


More information at French Tech Club

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