May 05th, 2021 | by Mathieu Gayet

"Our festival must be an international laboratory for immersive creation" - Michael Swierczynski (NewImages Festival)

Less than a year separates the two editions 2020 and 2021 of NewImages Festival, the Paris-based event of digital creation and virtual worlds produced by the Forum des images since 2018. After a shifted edition last September, the festival team is once again proposing a hybrid edition from June 9 to 13, which will be able to - at last news - welcome the public to discover new immersive experiences, but also will happen online for professionals.

Overview of the 2021 program, completed in record time and built with all the learning of a "covid" year.

French version

Last year we took a lot of risks by organizing an edition just before the second confinement in France, and with success in this short window of time! With the latest governmental announcements, we are confident for our 2021 edition* which will be back to its usual dates just before the summer. The ambition of this edition is moreover revised upwards with a complete program, as in 2019: mapping, concerts, etc. We give appointment to the public from June 9th!
- Michaël Swierczynski (Director of the festival and digital development of the Forum des images)

*The following announcements are subject to the evolution of sanitary conditions in France.

Cover credits: © Ainslee Alem Robson, KANDAKA AND THE BLACK PHARAOHS

Confirmation of the France-Taiwan collaboration

M. S. - We are very happy to confirm our continuing work with the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), and to renew our support for productions at several levels (development, production, promotion...) with this country. In addition, this year, we will propose a day of meetings and networking (online) to encourage co-productions and subsequently improve the financing of works produced between our two countries. It is also this type of initiative that structures NewImages and the Forum des images on the world stage.

TAIWAN X FRANCE XR DAY in partnership with TAICCA

TAIWAN XR RESIDENCY in partnership with Kaohsiung Film Festival and the French office in Taipei.

M. S. - This is a model that we would like to develop with several countries, on several continents - in the long term, in order to go and identify creative territories such as South Africa tomorrow, and we hope then Latin America. We hope to develop distribution networks, business networking, artist residencies, co-productions and why not XR incubators between France and the countries concerned. And this over 2 to 3 years each time, to better position France as the country of XR coproduction.

African digital creation at NewImages (Africa2020)

© Xabiso Vili, Jason Stapleton, Elise Wessels, Inka Kendzia

M. S. - It's a great opportunity to be able to offer this year a series of African works that are still too little known - as part of the Africa2020 season that was postponed due to the global pandemic last year. We chose to set up a more global project to show the extent of creation in Africa, from Morocco to South Africa, but also by co-producing new content with local companies - We want to inspire other events or producers by giving artists the means to create.

RÉSIDENCE XR AFRIQUE-FRANCE in partnership with Digital Lab Africa and the Cité internationale des arts.

NOAH'S RAFT (XR Competition)

XR3: one platform for three events

M. S. - There is a strong symbol here for the XR industry, notably with Tribeca and Cannes, to propose a better broadcasting of project exhibited in a complicated period. The idea of a virtual exhibition with access by festival, is interesting over time. For this year we chose the MOR (Museum of Other Realities) which allows us to present all the VR works in one place.

XR3: one virtual exhibition to bring them all together (Cannes XR + NewImages + Tribeca)

AMENDS (XR Competition)

M. S. - Each venue will be a XR3 LBE, where you will discover the works of other festivals. In addition, we are deploying a network of satellite venues (private or via the French Institute) around the world to offer content to the maximum number of people. The sanitary evolution will limit this depending on the country, but we also want to be a laboratory for these new forms of distribution. The festivals have been structuring themselves since last year, on the ideas of a common platform or LBE networks. It is an interesting development linked - unfortunately - to the constraints of the Covid crisis. We need to open up to these new possibilities even more, given the lack of international visitors to Paris. We are working on a network of satellite sites in Africa.

NewImages Festival 2021 - The XR Competition

VOIDOPOLIS (XR Competition)

M. S. - 8 months have passed since our last edition, and yet we have received as many projects as last year. The interest and the quality are still there. On the market side, we are seeing projects with smaller budgets - probably the effect of the Covid year. On the competition side, we are very happy to propose 17 projects for this year, with more and more multi-disciplinary projects that draw as much from video games, live performance, immersive theater... with things that come out of the headset. Animation, documentary, audio (a format that interests us a lot!) to build committed subjects (especially on little-known conflicts) with real views from artists and coming from new creative studios. And a reminder of African creation, of course.

WHEN SHE GETS OUT... (XR Competition)

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