Official release of “FR//XR: A Handbook for Immersive Producers” 

Official release of “FR//XR: A Handbook for Immersive Producers” 

Following a 10-month piloting period, French Immersion partners and Kaleidoscope are pleased to present “FR//XR: A HANDBOOK FOR IMMERSIVE PRODUCERS”, highlighting insights from some of the most influential voices of the XR industry.

Launched by the founders of the French Immersion program (the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the USA, CNC, Institut français, UniFrance and FACE Foundation), FR//XR is an initiative to determine how to best fund and  distribute immersive experiences,  including the impact of  the  COVID-19  pandemic. The implementation of the project has been entrusted to Kaleidoscope, the largest global platform for VR creators and industry members.

Immersive technologies, and VR in particular, offer a possibility of creating unique digital experiences, from narrative and interactive stories, to blockbuster games and exceptional social events. Immersive producers are forced to navigate in a challenging  environment: there is not one production or distribution model for immersive experiences, as virtual creation lies at the crossroads between film, gaming, visual arts and performing arts. There is no mass XR market yet. The pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the way we access culture and media, and shook the emerging immersive industry.

For decades France has been a great supporter of talented digital creators and producers as shown by the representation of French virtual productions in major international festivals. However, with the concentration of technology companies, online platforms, location-based entertainment sites and museums, the US are a key market for producers who wish to find new business opportunities.

By writing this handbook, the French Immersion partners want to identify the main opportunities and challenges of building a successful collaboration between the French and American XR ecosystems. They aimed to inspire immersive producers to fund and distribute their content in different ways, reaching out to new partners, and introducing new collaboration and sales strategies.

The overall message from industry leaders who shared their vision with us is that despite an unstable and turbulent time, in 2021 we are looking forward to a more diverse market with a large number of new business opportunities:

  • A quicker adoption could be stimulated by non-gaming industries (B2B, B2C) as leaders expect a great deal of new investments within education, training, healthcare and enterprise.
  • There is a growing need for new types of content, both in terms of formats and genres. Event-based content, live or real-time components, as well as easily-accessible AR experiences are mentioned as something to look up to. In the field of entertainment and culture, a more social approach is in demand (social XR, multiplayer experiences).
  • In terms of production strategy, a multiplatform-oriented model and a more templatized pipeline are recommended to create and diversify compelling experiences (create a strong IP, develop a series instead of a one-off, adapt your VR experience to other formats).

The handbook includes:

  • An overview of the VR market in the US, and some of the changes induced by COVID-19.
  • An analysis of business models for immersive media with focus on funding and other forms of support provided by platforms, technology and telecommunications companies, as well as online and location-based distribution possibilities.
  • Practical recommendations how to expand to the US market.
  • Interviews with twelve industry  leaders  representing best French immersive studios, Tribeca Film Festival, Epic Games, Hewlett-Packard,  HTC Vive, Microsoft, Unity, and many more.
  • A useful map of key actors in the North American XR industry.

While working on the handbook we conducted a thorough research, ran two industry surveys receiving over five hundred  responses,  and co-hosted a series of seven online events, welcoming more than twenty-five high-profile XR experts who discussed the changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization of these sessions was generously supported by Cannes XR/Marché du Film, New Images Festival/ Forum des Images and We Are Museums.

Read the report here.

About French Immersion

Created in 2018 by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, in partnership with the FACE Foundation, the CNC, the Institut  français  and  UniFrance,  French Immersion  is a  program that aims to promote French immersive experiences in the United States. It provides support to works selected in major American festivals. In 2020, French Immersion partners launched new grants to support online promotion in response to COVID-19.

About the Partners of the Program:

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals, and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions, and universities on both sides of the Atlantic.

FACE Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects. With additional corporate, foundation, and individual support, FACE administers grant programs in the performing and visual arts, cinema, translation, and secondary and higher education, while providing financial sponsorship to French-American festivals and other cultural initiatives.

The Institut français is a public institution under the aegis of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and of the Ministry of Culture responsible for French cultural actions abroad. Its initiatives cover various artistic fields, intellectual exchanges, cultural and social innovation, and linguistic cooperation. Throughout the world, it promotes the French language, as well as the mobility of artworks, artists and ideas, and thus works to foster cultural understanding.

For more than 70 years, UniFrance has been using its experience of the international marketplace to support French cinema worldwide. UniFrance is based in Paris and also has representatives from New York, Beijing and Southeast Asia. Its membership brings together around 1,000 French producers, filmmaking talents, agents and sales companies, which are working together to promote French film among foreign audiences, industry executives and media. UniFrance supports, as long as feature and short films, the international promotion of immersive projects and creators throughout the world.

Created in 1946, the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) is a public administrative organization, set up as a separate and financially independent entity which comes under the authority of the French ministry of culture and communication. Its principal missions are regulatory: support for the film, broadcast, video, video games, immersive productions and technical industries; promotion of film and television for distribution to all audiences and preservation and development of the film heritage.

About Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope is a funding platform for premium VR films, games and experiences. Company founders have built a global network of more than 20,000 VR creators and industry members. Kaleidoscope is also an immersive production studio playing a central role in the artistic renaissance of virtual reality. Kaleidoscope has helped creators raise more than $34MM for original projects including the first seven-figure deal for a VR film at Sundance. Partnering with Museum of Other Realities, Kaleidoscope has been on the bleeding edge of virtual event production, co-creating a number of immersive gatherings including the biggest VR exhibition in virtual reality at Cannes XR/Marché du Film, and a first virtual fashion show with RYOT/Verizon Media.