January 12th, 2023 | by Mathieu Gayet

SXSW 2023 announces XR Competition and Spotlight

The event of the year is SXSW (March, 10-19)! In the absence of immersive programming at its Park City art house cousin, Austin is becoming the primary international showcase for XR experiences. A dense line-up to discover below.

XR Experience Competition

World Premieres of exciting immersive work.

  • Aespa VR Concert at Kwangya (Republic of Korea, U.S.)
    Director: Soo-man Lee, Producer: Junyoung Park
    “Aespa’s first concert at Kwangya, the artists’ virtual existence coexisting with the future." - SM Culture Universe. (World Premiere)
  • Body of Mine VR
    Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Cameron Kostopoulos
    Experience gender dysphoria and trans identity with Body of Mine VR, an intimate experience that takes you inside the body of another gender. (World Premiere)
  • Consensus Gentium (United Kingdom)
    Director/Screenwriter: Karen Palmer, Producers: Tom Millen, Thalia Mavros, Jackson Lapsley Scott, Tuyet Huynh
    Consensus Gentium is an emotionally responsive film app designed to be experienced on a mobile phone. Set in a near future of surveillance and bias AI that watches you back. (World Premiere)
  • The District VR (Germany)
    Directors: Dennis Lisk, Ioulia Isserlis, Max Sacker, Producers: Dennis Lisk, Fabian Vogelsteller, Ioulia Isserlis
    Welcome to The District VR, a music-driven 3D world full of vibrant games and virtual live entertainment. Put on a VR headset and dive into a virtual twin of Berlin. Be the DJ, use provided equipment, and mix music live in front of a virtual crowd. (World Premiere)
  • El Beat (Colombia)
    Directors: Irene Lema, Sergio Bromberg, Producers: Rafael Ospino, Irene Lema, Screenwriter: Irene Lema
    El Beat is a cross-platform experience (interactive film and VR), telling the story of Benkos Biohó, enslaved African and founder of the first free town in the Americas. It is a tribute to the African diaspora and the Black Power of Latin America. (World Premiere)
  • Find WiiLii - Ep.1 The Gate-Crasher (Republic of Korea)
    Directors: Mina Hyeon, Sooyoung Choe, Producer: Sohee Kim, Screenwriters: Sooyoung Choe, Mina Hyeon
    On the first day as a newcomer at the Teleportation Service Company IIOIIG, the ordinary mission flows unexpectedly, meeting a stranger. (World Premiere)
  • Forager: Immersive Multi-sensory Experience (Canada, U.S.)
    Directors: Winslow Porter, Elie Zananiri, Producers: Winslow Porter, Casta Zhu, Screenwriters: Winslow Porter, Elie Zananiri, Adam Lerman, Daniel Perlin
    In this immersive, multi-sensory experience guests will experience the complete life-cycle of mushrooms. Starting as a spore floating to the forest floor, you become an integral part of this essential, live-giving process. (World Premiere)
  • Fresh Memories: The Look (Czechia, Ukraine)
    Directors/Screenwriters: Ondřej Moravec, Volodymyr Kolbasa, Producers: Ondřej Moravec (see our interview on his last project), Robin Pultera
    Look into the eyes of Ukrainian people whose home has been taken away by war. (World Premiere)
  • The Invited (United Kingdom)
    Directors: Davy McGuire, Kristin McGuire, Producers: Davy McGuire, Nesta Nelson, Dan Tucker, Screenwriters: Ben Steiger-Levine, Richard Hurford
    The Invited reimagines the gothic story of Dracula in a solitary séance in which a handcrafted fine art pop-up book comes to life with vivid augmented reality animations to serve as a conduit for Dracula’s curse to re-enter the modern world. (World Premiere)
  • Jailbirds - The Eye of the Artist (Belgium, France)
    Director/Screenwriter: Thomas Villepoux (see our interview for the first episode), Producers: Griselda Gonzalez Gentile, Francois Klein
    Jailbirds takes place in a modern hell prison ruled by a vicious Chief Warden. But in this living nightmare, one guy, Felix, is always happy. It enrages the Chief Warden who will do everything he can to discover Felix’s secret. (World Premiere)
  • JFK Memento (France, U.S.)
    Director: Chloé Rochereuil, Producer: Victor Agulhon
    JFK Memento is a VR documentary chronicling JFK's assassination. Narrated by the last living witnesses of the events, it explores the defining moments of the investigation as archive photos and films remastered in 3D come to life in the historic sites. (World Premiere)
  • Once a Glacier
    Director/Screenwriter: Jiabao Li
    Once a Glacier is a VR film about a girl and her relationship with a glacier. As the girl grows older, the piece of ice is threatened. The viewer is taken on a journey through her seemingly futile efforts to protect what was once an entire glacier. (World Premiere)
  • Rockets, by Pillow (Brazil)
    Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Lucas Rizzotto
    The world's first VR narrative designed for lying down in bed. Control a brave little rocket named Crimson through a number of mind-bending puzzles as you attempt to save the Universe from a terrible evil you set free. (World Premiere)
  • Stay Alive, My Son (Chapters 1 & 2) (Greece, U.S.)
    Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Victoria Bousis (see our interview for the first episode)
    Stay Alive, My Son takes players on a fantastical, interactive, and powerful journey through the mind and heart of Pin Yathay as he relives a tragic past and loss of his son during the Cambodian genocide, but eventually finds his salvation and heals. (World Premiere)
  • Whipped Cream "The Dark" (Canada)
    Directors: Caroline Cecil (aka Whipped Cream), Will Selviz, Producer: Brenda Medina Carmona, Screenwriter: Caroline Cecil
    The Dark, featuring Monstercat artists Whipped Cream, Jasiah, and Crimson Child, presents a VR experience that blends EDM and opera music with photorealistic holographic performances in an emotion-oriented story about a toxic relationship. (World Premiere)

XR Experience Spotlight

Shining a spotlight on acclaimed immersive projects.

  • Behind The Dish (France, U.S.)
    Director: Chloé Rochereuil, Producers: Victor Agulhon, Jonathan Gleit
    Behind the Dish is a virtual reality docu-series that dives into the world of gastronomy. Through three 10-minute episodes in 360° film, meet extraordinary women chefs revolutionizing the food industry and watch their cuisine in super-sized macro 3D. (see our interview)
  • Eggscape (Argentina)
    Director: German Heller, Producers: German Heller, Lucila Trobbiani, Screenwriters: German Heller, Federico Heller, Jorge Tereso
    An MR experience about terrified little eggs struggling to stay alive in a world full of enemies. Play in an unprecedented way with the physical world, and build your own adventure with friends mixing the digital with the real. (North American Premiere) (see our interview)
  • The Eye and I Vol. I (Taiwan)
    Directors: Hsin-Chien Huang, Jean-Michel Jarre, Producer: Hsiao-Yue Tsao, Screenwriter: Hsin-Chien Huang
    The Eye and I is a VR experience that illuminates the surveillance crisis with music from legendary electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre and visuals from award-winning VR director Hsin-Chien Huang. (International Premiere)
  • Figural Bodies (United Kingdom)
    Directors: Clarice Hilton, Neal Coghlan, Producers: Susanna Dye, Kat Hawkins
    Figural Bodies challenges and reimagines the normative and ableist ways the body is understood and represented through immersive technology. This dance mocap performance explores fantastical interaction and embodiment beyond the humanoid avatar form (World Premiere)
  • In Pursuit Of Repetitive Beats (United Kingdom)
    Director/Screenwriter: Darren Emerson, Producers: Ashley Cowan, Dan Tucker
    A multi-sensory joyride into the heart of a revolution in dance. Grab your friends and plug into a virtual reality adventure that transports you into the early days of the Acid House movement. Share in an experience that shaped a generation. (North American Premiere) (see our interview)
  • Lou (Canada)
    Directors: Martine Asselin, Annick Daigneault, Producers: John Hamilton, Sebastien Gros, Screenwriters: Annick Daigneault, Martine Asselin, Louis-François Archambault-Therrien
    Experience the world with the sensitivity of a person with autism. (U.S. Premiere)
  • Mrs Benz (United Kingdom)
    Director: Eloise Singer, Producer: Siobhan McDonnell, Screenwriters: Eloise Singer, Jedidjah Noomen
    Travel back in time to 1886 with Bertha Benz and discover how her journey changed the course of history. (North American Premiere)
  • Shib the Metaverse (United Kingdom)
    Directors: Marcie Jastrow, Sherri Cuono, Producer: Brandie Konopasek
    The Metaverse is the culmination of our history as a community, virtually displayed, in a layer of beautiful visuals that showcase our innovation and unity with a place to truly call home. (World Premiere)
  • Spring Odyssey (France)
    Director: Elise Morin, Producer: Lucid Realities, Screenwriter: Sabrina Calvo
    Tangible, material sculptures await the digital in the exhibition space. The display invites a reversal of our apprehension of the relationship between reality and the digital by completing the gaps of one and the other. (International Premiere)
  • Temporal World: A Haptisonic Virtual Reality Memory World (Germany)
    Director/Producer: Chloé Lee
    Temporal World is a haptisonic VR experience inspired by the artist’s memories in a place where she has no personal history. Visitors explore and shape a landscape that is as fragmented and fickle as memory itself while wearing a custom haptic coat. (International Premiere)
  • UnEarthed (United Kingdom)
    Director: Jamie Davies, Producer: Jennifer Mortimer, Screenwriters: Jamie Davies, Phil Porter
    UnEarthed is a spectacular interactive adventure into the natural world, inspiring people to respect, protect, and restore our planet's biodiversity, through impactful learning and entertainment. (North American Premiere)
  • You Destroy. We Create. (Germany)
    Directors/Producers: Felix Gaedtke, Gayatri Parameswaran
    Witness how Ukrainian art and culture have become targets of the ongoing war, and meet the inspiring people on the frontlines protecting it. (see our interview)
  • Yuki MR (Brazil)
    Director: Kako, Producer: Lia Pinheiro, Screenwriters: Kako, Flavio Mattos, Lia Pinheiro, Marcelo Nery
    Yuki MR is an upbeat mix of bullet-hell in Mixed Reality! Take your favorite toy in your hand to defeat evil creatures in a multidimensional universe. (Texas Premiere)

Update --

  • From The Main Square (Germany)
    Director: Pedro Harres, Producer: Lorena Junghans, Screenwriters: Angelina Urbanczyk, Pedro Harres, Rafael Loss
    A compact portrait of social disruption. (U.S. Premiere)
  • J Balvin Futurum: A VR Concert Experience
    Created specifically for VR, the 180-degree concert experience will take viewers on a career retrospective of some of Balvin’s greatest hits. 
  • MLK: Now is the Time
    Director: Limbert Fabian, Producers: Matthew O’Rourke, Sulivan Parker, Screenwriter: Andrina Wekontash Smith
    MLK: Now is the Time is an immersive journey that explores key themes of Dr. King's “I Have a Dream” Speech and highlights systemic inequities that persist in our society.
  • Symbiosis (Netherlands)
    Directors: Marcel van Brakel, Mark Meeuwenoord, Producer: Corine Meijers, Screenwriter: Marcel van Brakel
    How does it feel to be a slime mould? Or a toad? Or a plant? Performative, multi-sensory,  multi-user VR experience Symbiosis catapults you 200 years into the future and immerses you in a different form of being and kinship with other creatures. (Texas Premiere)

XR Experience Special Events

  • Neo-Wulin: The Era of Black Ark (China)
    Director/Screenwriter: Guanyu, Producers: Chenchenchen, Bingbing Wang
    Neo-Wulin is the first virtual performance series IP in China created by the OXYZ3 team. Each musician will have a unique music world that combines performance, exhibition, and social interaction, and can be constantly extended. (International Premiere)
  • Metaverse Music Concert
    Directors: YOOM, Active Theory
    Immerse yourself into a unique virtual music experience created exclusively for SXSW 2023. YOOM and Active Theory present an interactive, volumetric music concert in a special metaverse space inspired by the famous 6th Street in Austin, TX. (World Premiere)

Convergence Tracks: XR & Metaverse

Covering the most exciting immersive experience breakthroughs from virtual and augmented realities to the intertwining of worlds through the metaverse, this content navigates the potential of these mind-bending technologies this March 12-14.

A Guide to XR Content Finance and Distribution will present real, practical and candid information to help producers build strategies while How XR is Revolutionizing the Music Industry and Live Performance in the Metaverse dabble in the augmented realities of the music world. Create your SXSW experience the right way and check out the the XR & Metaverse schedule.


In this article

Share article

Related posts

March 28, 2022

“Nous sommes exploitant d’une salle de cinéma virtuelle sur les stores VR, et bientôt dans le metaverse !” - Vincent Tessier (CINEVR)

La plateforme CINEVR propose des salles de cinéma virtuelles pour continuer l’expérience du grand écran dans son canapé, avec un catalogue de long métrages… et de contenus 360. Une offre inédite et s…

September 24, 2020

MOA, My Own Assistant is now available on your app stores

MOA is a story in AR for smartphones. Adapted from the novel Les Furtifs by Alain Damasio, it lets your delve into the futuristic urban world the novelist imagined.

September 21, 2023

"With the evolution of immersive experiences, I want to focus on the quality of interactions" - Philippe Bédard (FNC Explore)

Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montréal is one of the XR ecosystem’s regular events, through both its FNC Explore selection and a series of dedicated conferences at its Forum. With a new programmer th…