XR Ecosystems: Taiwan – France Collaborations

by paradoxig

The beautiful friendship between Taiwan and France last for years, and at the beginning of 2021, the NewImages Festival inaugurated a new deal with TAICCA, an organism under the trusteeship of the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture 文化部

As a prelude to the festival, this first step of the Taiwan x France XR Day invited 13 Taiwanese professionals to meet the French XR sector through a program – workshops, conferences, networking – specially made to shed light on the specificities and complementarities of the two Ecosystems

In every major festival, both French and Taiwanese productions are present, well received and awarded. Studios such as Lucid Realities (France) already won impressive awards, but also on the Taiwanese side, trophies are not missing. Recently, the first episode of Samsara by artist Hsin-Chien Huang won at the SXSW festival, after his previous year, Bodyless won several Awards, including Golden Mask Award at NewImages Festival.

The question is: what are the secret ingredients for building an ecosystem that leads to successful international XR productions? Is it early adoption, strategic investments, cooperation between specialists, continuous learning, the desire and determination for innovation in creative content? We enrolled in the panel to find out the receipt of the success, alongside the visions on the future of XR.

The panel was opened by Michaël Swierczynski, director of NewImages Festival, highlighting the intentions to continue collaboration because “We have a lot of talents and want to create new coalitions. () We hope that together we design the future of storytelling”, told Michaël Swierczynski.
And maybe the next meeting point for the global XR professionals and enthusiasts will be at Taiwan Creative Content Fest (TCCF) planned between 10-14th November, and announced by Ting Hsiao-Ching, chair of Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) 文化內容策進院

This year’s theme is “Welcome to the Metaverse” which is imagined to offer opportunities for exchanges, forums, and content exhibitions. Metaverse is becoming more and more popular. It is expected that people will use the Metaverse for entertainment, work, learning, shopping, or inspiration.
Ting Hsiao-Ching: “Metaverses are offering immersive experiences and we see this field growing. We are seeing that over the years, it is starting to create a new cultural industry revolution”. And Taiwan is trying to be part of the new cultural revolution. “We would like to invite professionals to talk about creativity, to explore the future of the cultural content industry. We hope that everyone can use this event as a starting point to explore all different kinds of innovative narratives and all the critical technologies to offer better virtual reality and immersive, engaging experiences, and also try to provide different opportunities in the post-pandemic growth and a new dynamic for the startups and entrepreneurship around the world”, added Ting Hsiao-Ching.

The History Of Collaboration Story

How the collaboration between France and Taiwan started, what were the steps taken?

Aurélien Dirler – moderator of the panel and Advisor to TAICCA (Taiwan Creative Content Agency/ 文化內容策進院 ) – offered a quick overview about the developments of the relationship between Taiwan and France in the field of Immersive content in the past few years.

The relation with Taiwan started years ago, when there were no consumer markets, no festivals, recalls Aurélien Dirler.
France was leading the way in terms of VR content thanks to a group of producers, mostly with Audio-Visual backgrounds from Film, TV, Documentary, with public support from CNC, so there was an investment in digital innovative content. In Taiwan, at that time, Kaohsiung Film Festival did not exist, and HTC was not interested in the ecosystem. But at that time Taiwan had a very complete ecosystem and talents. And the two parts started to encourage collaborations and co-productions.
What happened between 2016 until today “it’s very much the story of realizing the interest of such content, thanks to a group of programmers, which means festivals, but of course also producers, creators, tech people, and government people. Almost the whole French ecosystem has visited Taiwan between 2016 and 2020, and those conversations and meetings played a crucial role in the development of ecosystems. And as a result of these constant meetings and exchanges, platforms emerged, festivals, financing programs, residencies”, highlighted Aurélien Dirler.

How does the Taiwan XR Ecosystem look nowadays?
Alice Chang, Vice-president of TAICCA, gave a short overview about it. She presented the main players from Taiwan’s ecosystem that TAICCA is bringing together:

Samsara, by Huang Hsin Chien, winner of on South by Southwest 2021

Chroma: A Derek Jarman / 色度:賈曼計畫預告片 project” by Baboo Liao

In the midst/ 霧中, by Tung Yen Chou

The Taiwan Funding System comes mainly from the government, (but private companies can fund projects as well) for XR companies and for creative content. This comes through the Ministry of Culture, but also Audio-Visual Media Art Funding. “Taiwan definitely believes XR is a future trend and gives all kinds of support to develop”, underlined Alice Chang. TAICCA is an intermediary that promotes Taiwan cultural content industry: Film, Music, Fashion, Publishing, Cultural Technologies, CG., by supporting (creators, professionals, and startups companies) by boosting (original connect creations, encouraging IP development), and promoting (participating in international festivals and markets, bonding with international organisations), highlighted Alice Chang.

Immersive Content Grant
Supporting Mechanisms for XR creations in Taiwan are open for both international and local content.
Immersive Content Grant, where international creators are welcomed, but all the application needs to have Taiwanese partners to co-produce, the project has to be already in the production stage, with a self-raised budget of 30%. Maximum Grant: 127.000 $

Collaboration with France is a priority, through events such as Taiwan X France XR days.
Cultural Content and Technology Application Flagship Program to support domestic projects. Annually, designed to support future projects. Max: 181.000 USD

On this first international meeting, the Taiwanese ecosystem creators presented their projects and shared some interesting ideas, in order to find partners in France. in France.
Hsing-Jou Yeh – CEO, ET@T Lab Theater Space Operation Manager, VA Hub
Tami Xu – Producer/Director, Haftix Films
Awu Chen – Director/Co-Founder/Head of Experience Design at AmaVR
John Hsu – Content Producer, Verizon Media
Danieo Chen – Producer, The Graduate
Tung-Yen Chou – Artistic Director, Very Theatre
Ian Pan – CEO, Fun2 Studio
Baboo Liao – Director at Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group
Ami Wu – Director of Interactive Dept. at Moonshine Animation
Han Hsien Peng -Music composer, sound designer and Producer at Sound Depth Studio
Poshan Wu – producer at Happy Cola’s Friends & for theatre companies. Collaborator at the Digital Art Foundation

How does the French XR ecosystem look nowadays?
The main players from the French ecosystem, such as CNC, PNX, French Immersive were invited to talk about their current approaches, alongside creators and producers to give their insights about learning.

CNC is one of the major players, investing each year over €10M towards creative projects (films, digital arts, video games), but also to technological projects (VFX, Technical industries, R&D) – the idea being to support companies that develop new solutions that support the production.
Pauline Augrain, deputy director of Digital CNC, explained that supporting digital content is driven by 3 objectives.
The first one is fostering artistic exploration between different artistic fields that can generate bridges between different fields like cinema but also performing arts like music, dance, theatre, and or literature. The other objectives are boosting technological innovation and exploring new markets (video games) for finding new economic models.
The priorities are to address young audiences and to try to secure the autonomy of major studios and be competitive internationally.
Between the projects supported by CNC is:
Le Bal de Paris – co-production between France, Germany and Luxembourg, directed by choreographer Blanca Li, and produced by BackLight based in Paris;
Gloomy Eyes (directed by Fernando Maldonado, Jorge Tereso, developed by Atlas V, a co-production between France, Argentina, USA and Taiwan)
Fisherman’s Tale – (the VR Game,) it was a big success, after 1 year, they sold more than 100.000 units.

Another ecosystem player is PXN Producer of Digital Experiences, presented by Laeticia Germain-Thomas.
It was created in 2016, and it brings together 17 digital production companies, being active in lobbying activities. The idea in creating this association was to bring together producers of digital content to consider the current evolution of the sector.
PXN gathers the great majority of the French independent digital producers, such as Lucid Realities.
Independent producers benefit from different public funds to finance their projects.
PXN members are open to international co-productions and regularly work in international productions.

French Immersive is a group of French immersive studios that joined forces to offer a comprehensive set of services deployable at scale.
Together they bring the best of French artistic, technical, and business expertise across the immersive field.
Through its members it offers services such as motion capture, facial capture, volumetric capture, interactive displays, VFX, and many more.
For more information on the services and studios part of French Immersion, you can find on their website

In the final part, three French producers presented their point of views, exciting moments and challenges and takeaways from collaborating with Taiwan.
The guest were:

Francois Klein – President at Digital Rise ( Mechanical Souls, directed by Gary Moore produced by Digital Rise in France, Serendipity Pictures in Taiwan),

Antoine Cayrol – producer and cofounder of Atlas V
(Gloomy Eyes, produced by 3D in Argentina, Altas V in France and supported by HTC Vive Originals in Taiwan)

Chloé Jarry – CEO & Executive producer Lucid Realities
(THE STARRY SAND BEACH-VR scientific tale by Nina Barbier and Hsin-Chien Huang-produced by Lucid Realities in France and by TAICCA in Taiwan)

As such, between the main takeaways, learning and future visions highlighted by the guests:

  • Working during the pandemic across continents even with digital tools such as dropbox and zoom was not the easiest way
  • The biggest benefit was that artists were able to reach Asian audiences, by making a mandarin version. After the first co-production comes other co-productions 🙂 – this is the second big benefit!
  • It is important in co-production to take into consideration the language barrier. The translator is crucial – very small details and wrong wordings can lead the team to work in the wrong direction.
  • Extending the IPs to make VR reachable to a large audience worldwide is crucial
  • Special focus needed on stories that can reach and resonate with global audiences, and to really build universal stories.
  • Distribution is very important, and a lot of work is needed to be done to spread VR pieces, both in Taiwan and France.
  • Facilitation and making collaboration more easily would be important, by building some sort of platform with producers, LBEs, studios, and so on.
  • If you are new to the field, don’t hope for success, try to do a project where you like what you’re doing and you’re paid enough.
  • Also another good piece of advice for emerging talents, is to try to be very methodic, don’t burn the steps, take the time! This means avoiding issues and things you will not be able to fix later.
  • Something important to drive the creative in a good way is to remember that the director is the lead! You need to find a director that is humble enough to listen, to take advice, to learn from different experts from the team, but the director is the one that needs to lead, and people need to respect that.
  • The role of the producer is to protect the vision of the director. A lot of people work on a project, but the one chosen at the beginning is really the director and her/his vision.
  • Don’t always take into consideration the tech trends. The latest technology is not necessarily the one that will work for your project.

TAICCA 文化內容策進院
Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), established in June 2019 and supervised by the Ministry of Culture, is a professional intermediary organization that promotes the development of Taiwan’s content industries.
TAICCA supports various cultural content industries in Taiwan, including film and television, pop music, publishing, ACG, and fashion, artworks and cultural technologies.
With advanced information and communication technology infrastructure and emerging technologies in Taiwan, TAICCA manages National Development Fund to develop intellectual property (IP), incubate culture technologies, and facilitate startups.
Through international distribution channels, TAICCA strives to promote Taiwan’s cultural brand in the world.

Website: https://en.taicca.tw/

About NewImages Festival
Dedicated to digital creation and to virtual worlds, NewImages Festival combines a rich professional component with a program open to all audiences. With prizes at stake, its international XR competition is submitted to a jury of creators and professionals. Its XR Financing Market brings together leading actors in the XR industry around a selection of projects open to all immersive formats. The festival also supports immersive creator and its industry by initiating collaborations, under the form of VR creation residencies, with other countries and regions of the world, such as Taiwan (Kaohsiung Film festival and TAICCA) and Africa.
NewImages Festival is produced and organized by the Forum des images, the cultural institution of the
City of Paris, dedicated to cinema and digital creation.
Website: https://newimagesfestival.com/en/

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