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The 40 projects (see link here) presented at NewImages’ XR Financing Market go before a panel of industry professionals, who offer their unvarnished advice, critiques and praise. To get a better sense of what moved the industry this year, Variety spoke with two participating decision makers.

Paul Bouchard, Diversion Cinema, head of XR acquisitions and sales

What are you looking for in a project?
At Diversion, we’re always looking for our picks, projects that speak to our sensibilities. That could be either due to thematic reasons or formal ones; I think we’re all susceptible to projects that are formally audacious and artistically sound. We ask, what can be artistically daring while remaining possible to exhibit?

Of course, Diversion has a very technical side as well. We’re always looking for adventurous projects that we can realistically mount. We have to consider practical, distribution questions as well.

What past success can you point to?
We were pleased with “Ayahuasca.” It was a challenging and unique work. Diversion produced a whole installation around it, so we could offer a key-in-hand exhibition format that was new for VR. That’s how we brought it to the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam, and at a digital arts venue in Taiwan, where it sold out. As a distributor, we were excited to accompany such a work, trying to push it further than ever before.

René Pinnell, CEO, Kaleidoscope

How do you judge a work?
First I look for something unique. Is this project telling me something new? Have I seen something like this before? If the project surprises me or shocks me in some way that is a good sign.

The second thing I look for is artistic and technical chops. Do I believe that the team has the required skills to actually pull off the production? And then the only way to judge that is based on past work. Have they completed projects in the past that prove they can pull off ambitious, technically challenging projects?

What from your own experience have you tried to impart?
Because of the massive amounts of uncertainty in the market and the world, I strongly council artists to focus on self-reliance. Work on projects that you can complete even if no one gives you a dime. Focus on building out the skill set needed to complete projects that excite you.

What titles this year stuck out to you?
“Floating With Spirits,” “Goliath,” “Kusunda,” “Kairos,” and “Mugga Mugga.”