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Brittany-based outfit Ten 2 Ten Films, an independent house run by producer Gwenaëlle Clauwaert, brings an eyebrow raising, and entirely uncommon, project to this year’s NewImages’ XR financing market.

Currently in development, the animated project “369” is described as an “immersive erotic experience,” set during the Roaring 20s, about a temple dedicated entirely to female pleasure.

“Our subject is feminine desire, focusing on three main axes,” explains writer and director Ãnanda Safo. “Arousal, pleasure, and orgasm.”

“The story takes place in a lyrical environment that toggles between something very grounded and something very symbolic,” she adds. “[It floats between] the real world and other, more poetic spheres, using metaphors to better depict female pleasure.”

With several fiction and documentary shorts under her belt, Safo was initially drawn to this project – her animation and VR debut – for the freedoms VR offered, and the ways animation allowed her to create new visual approaches for such a multifaceted subject. The filmmaker was then drawn to Ten 2 Ten’s Gwenaëlle Clauwaert for the uncommon approach the producer took with this work.

“In order to have a strong project, we had to write a very strong script,” Safo explains. “And that took time. In VR, the timeline tends to go the other way around – projects usually originate with producers or technicians, very rarely with auteurs. Here, I wanted to establish a strong story base before getting enmeshed in technique, to go all in on writing before we started to develop anything else.”

When it came time to establish a visual tone – work that is still ongoing – the director turned to artists Oerd Van Cuijlenborg and David Devaux, a pair of creative partners whose hand-drawn, graphic style struck a note with Safo.

“I’m rarely a fan of 3D, and have rarely been able to connect with that style,” she explains. “I want the film’s visual identity to impart the clean lines of a graphic-novel, a style that really hasn’t been treated in VR for the time being. I want to give it a 2D foundation that we could rework in three dimensions.”

If the project has some time to go before it nears completion, it already arrives at the NewImages market having traced an enviable path. The project has already benefited from regional and national support from France’s ministry of culture and national film center, and was one of two Gallic projects to receive a development grant from Quebec’s Atelier Grand Nord XR program.

“This kind of support is essential for a project like this,” Safo explains. “I knew the themes could be promising, because there’s real interest in stories about female pleasure today. But the fact is, making an erotic animation in VR is still very risky, and it always will be. The subject poses such a risk that the help of all these support funds comforts me into thinking this project might one day come to fruition.”