Lady Sapiens, a transmedia project on women in the Palaeolithic
Lady Sapiens is a transmedia project that puts us in the place of a Palaeolithic woman. It comes in the form of a book, a documentary and a VR experience.
A unique coproduction
Lady Sapiens is the result of a unique partnership between a production company, Little Big Story, a broadcaster, France Télévision, and a video game publisher, Ubisoft. Camille Duvelleroy, the author, scriptwriter and filmmaker who has specialised in transmedia projects for the past ten years, coordinated the VR aspect of the project, drawing on the work of prehistorian Sophie Archambault de Beaune, who lent her scientific expertise to Lady Sapiens. In addition to this interactive experience, Lady Sapiens also takes the form of a 90-minute documentary, written by Eric Pincas, Jacques Malaterre and Thomas Cirotteau, who have also released an Investigation into the woman in the time of prehistory, published by Les Arènes.
Lady Sapiens immerses us in the life of a woman from the Palaeolithic Era, over thirty thousand years ago. The author, Camille Duvelleroy, drew on the current state of scientific knowledge of prehistory to counter the common preconception that sapiens society was structured around a division of labour between men and women. In becoming Lady Sapiens, we learn about cave art or mammoth hunting. Lasting twelve minutes, the VR experience has been adapted into a 360° film that dispenses with the need for a headset, narrated by the actress Rachida Brakni.
The tools of video gaming
Created using the video game engine Unity as part of a coproduction with the publisher Ubisoft, Lady Sapiens was made by reusing assets (3D graphic elements) from the video game Far Cry Primal. This process made the narrative and artistic work easier by enabling the teams to experiment with environments in order to develop an immersive journey. That said, it also imposed several constraints, as the graphics, which were designed for very powerful consoles, had to be scaled down for use with VR headsets.
From the screen to the museum
Lady Sapiens is a global production comprising a book, a documentary, a VR experience, a 360° immersive film and, finally, educational capsules aimed at school audiences. After premiering at the New Images Festival, the VR experience was among the official Smart selection at FIPADOC (International Documentary Festival in Biarritz) and won top prize at Pixii Festival. The project, coordinated by the studio Lucid Realities, is also being exhibited as part of an installation at the Paléosite museum in Saint-Césaire near Saintes, and will be shown at the French National Museum of Natural History.
Lady Sapiens VR is presented on culturevr.fr, an Institut français platform which offers a panoramic view of cultural innovation in virtual reality.
The Institut français is launching IFdigital, the new website dedicated to French digital creation (digital art, immersive experience, video games, innovative books, cultural education and web creation) on 24 November.
IFdigital, which will take over from culturevr.fr, will present the creations and professionals of the independent video game industry (creators, studios, publishers, distributors, schools, clusters, etc) in order to encourage the international distribution of these particularly dynamic and innovative cultural and creative industries.