May 05th, 2022 | by Mathieu Gayet

“The maturity of the XR creation is felt in its diversity of proposals, and the interest of cultural venues worldwide” - Elie Levasseur (NewImages)

The NewImages festival returns to Paris for a 2022 edition from June 8 to 12, with a real B2B focus. Between the Industry Days and the various co-production or broadcasting markets offered, Elie Levasseur continues to consolidate the Parisian event as one of the must-attend events for XR producers, but also for artistic programmers from all over the world curious to discover the latest innovations in the immersive sector.


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NewImages, a strengthened program in 2022

Elie Levasseur - This year, NewImages is divided into three categories. On the one hand, the official selection with the Competition (15 films are selected) and a LATAM focus. On the other hand, the XR Development Market (ex-XR Financing Market) with 36 projects pitched to a hundred or so decision-makers from institutions, museums and cultural centers. Finally, the XR Art Fair is a new event that brings together production and distribution companies and entities likely to broadcast their content. On this last point, each one comes with its own catalog and we hope to facilitate the circulation of about a hundred XR works. NewImages thus reinforces its position as a market specialized in immersive content, and its analysis of the needs of institutions outside the industry.


E. L. - If the main part of our work is to encourage meetings, to select relevant projects and to find interested decision makers, we also have the vocation to make a curation as precise as possible. In each section of our program, we try to create themes to group the projects. We need to simplify the reading of these innovative experiences for decision-makers who often discover virtual or augmented reality for the first time.

A concentration of the XR market?

E. L. - If I am to be honest, we received slightly fewer projects than last year. This is the logical - and unfortunately expected - effect of Covid-19. If during the pandemic studios and producers managed to finalize already committed projects, it seemed more complicated for everyone to restart after the successive confinements - and more fragile investments after the global crisis. This is reflected in terms of overall quality; while our selection still reflects the same passion and commitment for the artists in the running, we had to adapt our criteria to the situation and not be too restrictive.


E. L. - Fortunately, there are many newcomers on the market, with many applications received. But there are also changes. We can see the disparity that can exist between a recognized XR producer with experience and someone who is setting up his first project and does not know all the tricks of the trade. In any case, in terms of the applications submitted to the XR Development Market, we have seen discrepancies, even a gap in terms of the quality of the proposals.

E. L. - A trend that is growing is the desire for many to use XR to tell the story of today's world, and particularly on environmental issues. About half of our XR Development Market sessions are dedicated to these issues (biodiversity, climate change, human impact on eco-systems...). And so much the better! In previous years it was a trend but not a dominant one, in 2022 the global reflection has replaced the fashion effect. However, I am not talking about projects that are necessarily militant or committed, we also have proposals that take up ecology in poetic forms, exploration, discovery ...


E. L. - In the end, we have a selection strongly oriented towards impact, directly or not. On very vast subjects: feminism, relationship to the body, social problems, ecology... In XR, we often think that the digital will be able to offer a new look, to substitute another proposal to reality. We can also reconstitute environments, idealize or save the real.

E. L. - Last year I was already talking about a leveling of budgets (see our 2021 interview), and that continues this year. The inflation of the early days of VR, with most projects above 500,000 euros, is over. The technologies have become more democratic, the market has consolidated: we can see that the average budget of projects submitted to the XR Development Market is now around 375,000 euros, whether for VR or AR. And many projects are under 100,000 euros, with less imposing devices, rather related to these new formats mentioned earlier.


Develop a database of decision makers and buyers of XR content

E. L. - We have to keep in mind that we are a market, with a real vocation to initiate meetings, to launch productions. To this end, I pay particular attention to our Decision Makers, who often come from sectors that know little or nothing about immersive. Each year, in addition to the known faces, we try to recruit new institutions, museums, etc. The objective is real; to identify the needs and problems of traditional sectors in search of new experiences. It is our asset, and a real work of pedagogy, of explanation to make during these few weeks. For producers, these are distribution opportunities, and we want to create the most relevant meetings possible to get everyone moving in the same direction. We also follow the projects after the festival.


E. L. - And that's the key point for me; we're now talking to real audiences, real decision makers - and on a global level. XR is discovering new distribution channels, whether it's online stores or physical locations. There is a potential and a renewed curiosity, which must be supported over time. We welcome a lot of European Decision Makers, by the very nature of our event (and some technical reasons, travel...). We try to bring as many people as possible to the pitch sessions - online - or the meetings in Paris during the festival. Some countries are more advanced than others on the XR subject: they are logically better represented.

E. L. - There has also been an evolution in the nature of the projects; here too, we need to explain to Decision Makers that we have left the "cinematographic" XR, and are moving towards experiences linked even more to immersive theater, contemporary art, and dance in particular. There is a real creative richness that can correspond to many more Decision Makers (and venues) than in the past. The formats are multiplying, new presenters are interested and this is ultimately good news; we still need to accomplish our mission of mediation so that they have all the keys to understanding these innovative experiences.


E. L. - Faced with these developments, it is our role to adapt our selections to embrace the entire XR market. We note that linear formats, classic XR experiences, do not necessarily come to us. This is probably because they are financed through other channels, by Meta, HTC... who co-produce heavily - or video game type experiences. In any case, we don't exclude them; we just notice that the place is made on specialized marketplaces for more independent creations, which call upon many creative industries. Or which are, as I said, new entrants to the sector.


XR Competition


XR Development Market

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NewImages 2022

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