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August 04th, 2022 | by Mathieu Gayet

“We bring a lot of our own lives into our characters” - Fabito Rychter, Amir Admoni (LAVRYNTHOS)

If you've been around the immersive festivals this year, chances are you've come across Fabito Rychter and Amir Admoni, Brazilian creators whose project LAVRYNTHOS has already had a dozen selections since Venice VR 2021. In 2020, GRAVITY VR has experienced the same success. We met them at the Annecy festival last June.

Writing for classic television and immersive

Fabito Rychter - My first job is as a television scriptwriter. I have worked on different programs or shows for the last 15 years, in Brazil. I moved to Peru before the Covid pandemic, while keeping my job with a large Latin American broadcaster. But I was beginning to see the limits of this job, alone in a foreign country when I was used to writing rooms and working in a team! One day, I tried a virtual reality experience in a shopping mall, and it changed my life! I did it several times, bought a headset and then quit. Our first two projects were done remotely, as Amir lived in Brazil and I in Peru.

Amir Admoni - With Fabito we have been working together for more than 10 years, between short films and TV series. I originally come from the world of traditional animation. It was Fabito that got me involved in the VR adventure! We started with GRAVITY VR, which was originally meant to be a 2D short film. I was curious, but a little hesitant. He insisted, during a vacation together, and he was right to show me more and more content. We then launched Delirium XR, and started financing our first projects.

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GRAVITY VR

F. R. - I was already working as a scriptwriter for humorous content on television. Exploring the same worlds for immersive made sense, although I didn't want to repeat myself and push the narrative to something new. GRAVITY is a very original story that tries to use the medium for what it is. Actually the project started in 2010, from a short film we wrote where the main character is barely 1 centimetre (!): LINEAR. He was falling from a bridge, and the fall lasted forever - giving him time to think about his action. We had to cut the scene, but the idea remained!

Writing for VR Comedy

A. A. - GRAVITY and LAVRYNTHOS are not dramas. We injected a dose of humor, without losing the narrative thread. There are elements of comedy. We didn't want to make them too serious. GRAVITY started with the idea of a world without a floor, where everything would fall all the time. To fall or to float in fact, in the absence of a precise reference to gravity. Only then did we create the story of these two characters. Fabito wrote about their relationship with these two brothers, which made us move forward in the story.

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LAVRYNTHOS

A. A. - It was a real challenge to include the viewer in an environment like GRAVITY, right from the writing stage. But in reality, it quickly becomes obvious. We arrive in a totally open space, where the characters are flying. You assume that you're following the same path, that you're part of that movement. It's a pretty exhilarating feeling really! For some, it is enough. Others are more concerned with the story. We are very happy with the reception our projects have received. For both GRAVITY and LAVRYNTHOS, it's gratifying to see the feedback from the audience. And each time the feedback is different!

Reinventing ourselves with Covid

F. R. - In 2020 GRAVITY was selected to Tribeca, Cannes, Venice... and then Covid came along, and we had to stay home. It was also a very difficult time for me - and my company Delirium XR - because our main activity was based on events with festivals or shows in South America. Everything came to a complete stop. Fortunately, LAVRYNTHOS was selected at the Biennale College in Venice, and this quickly brought us funding to produce the project.

A. A. - We were lucky! In a way, it was the Covid that brought this feeling of loss and in turn gave us the idea for this second VR project. Each time, as creators, we bring a lot of personal feelings into our projects - which can be reflections of what's going on in our lives. GRAVITY is a bit like our duo too! Fabito even did the motion capture of the characters himself, right in his living room.

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LAVRYNTHOS

F. R. - LAVRYNTHOS is a much more interactive and ambitious project than GRAVITY. The spectator is very active. You have to find your way through a maze. I don't think it's really a video game though.

A. A. - There are strong issues of staging, of space to consider. Creating a minimalist environment doesn't mean that we didn't spend a lot of time on it! For some assets, we had to go back several months to tools like MultiBrush (a multiplayer version of Tilt Brush on Oculus). We draw together, remotely, directly in virtual reality. It was quite extraordinary! Basically there are 3 of us, with our lead programmer Owen Svelmoe. And we work with collaborators all over the world: Russia, India, Brazil, ...

XR in Latin America

F. R. - We can recognize that today there are many XR creators and studios in Latin America: Brazil, Chile, Argentina, etc. But we suffer from a lack of users, a rather small audience. We can see that some South American companies are opening offices abroad to expand.

A. A. - Looking at what exists in film, where we need a stronger industry, we can recognize in comparison that artistic XR exists in South America. The productions offered are up to the world market: GLOOMY EYES, THE LINE, GRAVITY VR, 4 FEET HIGH... We are used to producing high quality content with low budgets.

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GRAVITY VR

Delirium XR, next

F. R. - We have 4 projects in development, the most commercial of which is certainly the one presented at NewImages this year. HIPPOCONDRIA is a multi-user VR narrative game, based on a father-son relationship (back to the duo!). In Venice, we will present at the Gap-Financing market KILLING PHILIP, an immersive short film around artificial intelligence, closer to our previous works. The goal is to find financing for one of them before the end of 2022, and to be able to release it in 2023.

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