FIVARS 2023: Spotlight on Errances

Gwenael Francois Errances is a VR odyssey through a desolate yet majestic world aboard a futuristic vehicle. Through electronic melodies by Ryvage, this immersive meditation reveals our technological choices and their consequences. FIVARS had a chance to speak with director Gwenael François.

What led to the creation of this piece?

The creation of “Errances” was driven by a desire to collaborate with Ryvage (Sam Reinard), whose exceptional skills in crafting synthwave electronic music captivated me. I envisioned a piece that seamlessly married his music with a science fiction ambiance. To bring this vision to life, I approached him with the concept. His enthusiasm matched mine, and we eagerly embarked on the project.

Our goal was to craft an experience where the music could be felt and seen. With this in mind, we conceptualized a futuristic train setting to synchronize the auditory and visual elements. Together, we meticulously developed “Errances,” aligning our creative energies to weave an immersive journey where music and visuals harmoniously converged, inviting participants to engage with both their senses and emotions.


What was the production process for you and your team? What did you learn?

The production process for “Errances” was a collaborative journey that taught us valuable lessons. To ensure a comfortable experience, we initially tested for potential motion sickness in moving virtual reality settings. This involved a test with a straight vehicle movement on a simple background.

Once we were confident in the comfort of the experience, we sought funding for the project. Film Fund Luxembourg showed interest, enabling us to start production in early 2023. Fabien Weibel, a skilled Unity Technical Director from Zeilt, was a pivotal addition who joined our team. His technical expertise greatly contributed to bringing our vision to life.

This process taught us the importance of comprehensive testing, strategic partnerships, and technical proficiency. Collaboration and adaptability emerged as essential factors in creating a captivating and immersive experience for our audience.


How did you become an immersive media content creator and why?

I became an immersive media content creator because I’ve always been curious about new technologies and love being creative. I used to make films and music videos, but then I discovered the world of immersive media. It felt like a new land of creative opportunities waiting to be explored. This direction lets me use my creativity in exciting ways and offers fresh ways to tell stories and engage audiences.

What is the VR/AR industry like in your region?

Skill Lab, the company I founded with Julien Becker in 2010, is based in Luxembourg, a tiny country in the heart of Europe, and it has its unique characteristics. While we don’t see many commercial projects like advertising, a significant push from Film Fund Luxembourg has resulted in the production or co-production of numerous immersive experiences. This has brought a creative surge to the local scene.

However, we do face challenges due to the absence of a video game industry in Luxembourg. Finding talent skilled in real-time game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine can be quite tricky. On the positive side, we are fortunate to have skilled professionals such as art directors, 3D modeling artists, and 3D animators.

To bridge the talent gap, we’ve been exploring co-production opportunities with countries like France and Canada, where these skill sets are more prevalent. This collaborative approach enables us to tap into the expertise we need while nurturing a growing immersive media landscape within our region.

What do you have planned for the future?

Looking ahead, the future holds exciting plans for Skill Lab. We have a series of coproduction projects lined up that reflect our commitment to innovative storytelling.

One such project, “Nana Lou,” is currently in production in collaboration with Small Creative in Paris. This interactive virtual reality story immerses viewers in the poignant narrative of a grandmother’s final moments, inviting them to experience the world through the perspective of a spirit accompanying her.

Additionally, I’m directing a VR project named “Oto’s Planet,” co-produced with Dpt. in Canada. Scheduled for release in 2024, the story revolves around Oto, who finds solace lying on his hammock and relishing the fruits of his solitary tree. This tranquility is disrupted by the arrival of Exo, a hyperactive cosmonaut, and their ensuing struggle to communicate and coexist.

Furthermore, we’re actively developing another project called “Tachychronia,” which is currently in the writing phase. This project underscores our ongoing dedication to pushing the boundaries of immersive storytelling. As we continue to collaborate, co-create, and innovate, the future holds a dynamic array of projects that promise to captivate audiences and further advance the immersive media landscape.


What would you like to share with fellow content creators and/or the industry?

In the ever-evolving landscape of content creation, we’re living in a truly exciting era. With new technologies surfacing almost every month, the possibilities are boundless. I’m particularly intrigued and invested in the recent substantial announcements from Apple, such as the Vision Pro. These advancements are poised to reshape the industry in profound ways.

As content creators, we have unprecedented opportunities to push boundaries and experiment with these cutting-edge tools. The potential for immersive experiences, storytelling, and engagement is immense. I’m eagerly anticipating what’s on the horizon, excited to witness how these developments will transform how we create, connect, and captivate audiences.

Do you think VR festivals like FIVARS are important?

VR festivals like FIVARS are crucial. They provide a unique platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange, and showcasing our work. These events are a vital step towards expanding the reach of immersive experiences to broader audiences and fostering industry progress.

Errances at FIVARS 2023 runs in person September 15-19th in Toronto