Mark Atkin – Head of Studies (United Kingdom)

Mark curates and creates cutting-edge projects that combine technical innovation and storytelling. He collaborates with artists and technologists to present immersive, interactive work that can resonate with audiences around the world.

Mark has curated public exhibitions and industry conference programmes at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen; Adelaide Fringe; EyeMyth, Mumbai; Bergen International Film Festival; Global Health Film Festival, Barbican; Sheffield Doc/Fest; Festival of the Mind; IFFI Goa, and The World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. He is currently planning Electric Dreams Festival of Immersive Storytelling in London for 2019 with the National Theatre and The British Film Industry as partners.

He has produced a series of eight live cinema documentaries combine stunning archive footage from the past century with contemporary soundtracks composed by popular musicians. Recent collaborations have featured Mark Cousins and Mogwai with Atomic; Benedikt Erlingsson and Sigur Ros with The Show of Shows, and Kim Longinotto and Richard Hawley with Love Is All. The latest, Arcadia with music by Adrian Utley of Portishead and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp, is currently on theatrical release in the UK and has been picked up for US distribution. His work has been featured at MoMA, New York; The Royal Academy of Arts, London; Edinburgh International Festival; The Barbican, and Latitude, as well as at film festivals around the world.

He produced the BBC’s first original VR commission, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel which has been screened at international festivals, as well as being shown as an installation at The National Theatre, Imperial War Museums London and Manchester and at The Watershed in Bristol, as well as being available free on the Oculus store. RIOT, an emotionally-responsive film that uses facial-recognition technology has been exhibited at Festival of the Mind, Future of Storytelling in New York and the PHI Centre in Montreal.

Annette Mees (United Kingdom)

Annette Mees is an award-winning immersive theatre director and experience designer. She has directed experiential work across art forms mixing live and digital experiences that put the audience at the heart of big ideas and fictional worlds. She is currently setting up a new department for the Royal opera House (UK) – The Audience Labs – dedicated to exploring the artistic possibilities of immersive technologies. It partners leading artists with cutting-edge creative immersive technology and inter-disciplinary creative teams to create world-class work that innovates and pushes boundaries.

Before that she was a Creative Fellow for WIRED and The Space. She was the Guest-Artistic Director of the Danish Inspiration Lab and worked on the IK-prize winning Sensorium at Tate Britain. She started her career as one of the co-Artistic Directors of Coney – one of the leading interactive theatre companies in the UK.

She advises and speaks nationally and internationally on audience interaction, the integration of live and digital work and how to make beautiful experiences that allow for a real dialogue with audiences. She has worked with diverse partners across sectors including Google, Tate Britain, UK Parliament, Ogilvy, WIRED Magazine, European Space Agency, British Council, King’s College, ICA, The National Theatre of Wales, SJ01 San Jose Biennale, NESTA and many more. She has led interdisciplinary teams mixing a wide range of specialisms including artists, designers, theatre makers, academics, politicians, architects, NGOs, thinkers, futurists, creative technologists, AI experts, filmmakers, historians, curators, producers, advertising agencies, a magician and once an astronaut.

James Hedley (United Kingdom)

James Hedley is an award-winning VR Director/Producer working at Sky VR Studios in London. Having first worked in 360° filmmaking over 6 years ago, James has developed VR projects with an array of broadcasters and organisations such as Sky, C4 and the UN. For James, audience liberation in VR filmmaking is what makes it special.

The filmmaker isn’t necessarily the sole storyteller, but instead provides a world and a set of situations that the characters and the audience interact within. Striving to tell stories that connect people and directly-challenge common perceptions, his work aims to bridge the gap between the viewer and the characters within his works.

James strongly believes that using Virtual Reality, as a tool for intimate filmmaking, will help it to become the new golden standard of immersive storytelling.

Nicolas S. Roy (Canada)

Nicolas S. Roy is the founder and creative director at Dpt., an award-winning studio specializing in immersive and interactive storytelling. He has been producing and directing interactive projects in the cultural and commercial space for over 15 years.

His versatile practice has led him to work with institutions such as the National Film Board of Canada, Ubisoft, France Télévisions, Autodesk, Samsung and ARTE. His work on has been recognized internationally, including by One Show, IDFA Doclab, the World VR Forum, the Webby Awards, Applied Arts Interactive, Communication Arts, Geminis and FWA.

His most recent projects include The Enemy, Manic VR, Trinity, A Colossal Wave and Deprogrammed. Nicolas has also spoken at various festivals and events including South by Southwest, the World VR Forum and Mutek.

Steye Hallema (Netherlands)

Steye is director, composer and inventor, Having a background in computer animation, music, theatre and tech gives him the ability to combine the many different disciplines that make up Virtual Reality. Steye always goes beyond the gimmick of a technology and has shown to propel storytelling in every piece of VR he made. By drawing methods from choreography, composition and animation Steye developed methodologies to direct in such a way that his experiences have clearly worked out looking directions and pace that makes the viewers sit on the edge of their (swivel) chairs.

Steye’s masterpiece VR music video What do we care4, that showcased many innovative ways of transitioning in VR, was nominated for a UK music award in 2015 and was a worldwide hit amongst virtual reality early adopters. His VR collaboration Ashes to Ashes is an 11 minute one-taker with 45 people on set, all metaciously choreographed to create one fluent experience. It won gold at the dutch VR Awards and was showcased on numerous Film and VR festivals worldwide. Weltatem, a Virtual Reality Opera game in which 30 audience members play a VR game controlled by their own voice, won two Game Awards.

Steye works as creative director for his own company WildVreemd and works as freelance director for Jaunt VR. Next to that he is the inventor and creative director of the Smartphone Orchestra an orchestra made up of the phones of the audience their own Smartphones.

Vassiliki Khonsari (USA)

Director/Producer/Co-Founder of iNK Stories ––the award winning storytelling studio Fast Company calls an “innovation agent”. Recent titles include HERO, multi sensory/location based VR, premiering at Sundance ’18 and prestigious Winner of Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes Award ’18; FIRE ESCAPE, interactive VR series made in partnership with Google, premiered at Tribeca ’18; BLINDFOLD, interactive VR, premiered at Sheffield; 1979 REVOLUTION, a cinematic video game, nominated for a BAFTA, awarded Facebook’s Game of the Year, Sundance, Tribeca, UNESCO, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (DICE), International Mobile Game Awards, IndieCade.

Khonsari holds an MA in Visual Anthropology and her documentary work has screened in more than 20 countries. A PGA WIN’s Culture Shift contributor, Fellow and Consultant for Sundance Institute New Frontier Story Lab, recipient of support from the The Doris Duke Foundation, IFP, MADE IN NY Innovation Grant. Contributes to the landscape of of technology and story to reframe the world at institutions such as United Nations, Princeton University, SXSW, FoST, Oslo Freedom Forum, Produced By Conferences and more.

Lucy Wood (United Kingdom)

Experienced creative producer specialising in art-science and climate change. Over 12 years creating high-impact public engagement events and installations across the UK focusing on climate change and wider environmental issues, collaborating with artists, scientists and institutions. She is currently a freelance Creative Producer and Development Consultant for a number of clients including ‘Invisible Dust’ and ‘The Arts Development Company’, following her previous position as UK Director of the international environmental arts charity, ‘Cape Farewell’.

In the lead-up to the Paris UN Climate Conference in 2015, Lucy managed the UK delivery of the major global festival ‘ArtCop21’, which generated 554 major cultural events, workshops and installations on climate in 54 countries, and in spring 2016 produced the ‘P.E.A’ – award winning climate and food-focused ‘Milking Parlour’ installation in Bristol, UK. Most recently Lucy was lead producer of ‘Under Her Eye: Women and Climate Change’ Summit and Arts Festival at the British library in June 2018, headlined by booker prize winning Margaret Atwood, and helped set up the Season for Change festival for Julie’s Bicycle taking place in venues across the UK between June and December 2018.

Lucy has written for various publications, including The Guardian, South Atlantic Quarterly and Run Riot.

Opeyemi Olukemi (USA)

Opeyemi Olukemi is Executive Producer of POV Spark—the innovation arm of the iconic independent nonfiction film program POV—and Vice President of American Documentary’s Interactive unit. Throughout her career as an interactive producer, funder and public programmer, Opeyemi has created spaces and pipelines for interdisciplinary artists, communities, and creative teams to experiment with and create meaningful innovative content. She is a fierce advocate of technological equity, eliminating bias from social innovation and is deeply invested in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Before joining POV, Opeyemi was the Senior Director of Interactive Programs for Tribeca Film Institute, produced for ScrollMotion and has served as an assistant professor of Integrated Media at Brooklyn College’s Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. Opeyemi has served on numerous festival juries and has mentored through the IDFA’s Doc Academy, New Museum’s NEW INC and Oculus’ VR for Good. She is a proud Rockwood (Ford Foundation) JustFilms Fellow.

Oscar Raby (Australia)

Oscar Raby is a multimedia artist focused on portraiture and narrative using immersive media. His first job after moving from Chile to Australia was as a picture hanger. Unrelated as it might seem, those years of moving images by hand became the foundation of his current work as Creative Director at VRTOV, the Virtual Reality studio behind works Assent, The Turning Forest, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel and A Thin Black Line. Works by VRTOV have been exhibited across the world, including Sundance, IDFA, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Tribeca Film Festival.

Paula Zuccotti (United Kingdom)

Paula Zuccotti is a leading expert in global consumption and a respected authority in consumer behaviour and product interaction – past, present and future. Founder of research and creative consultancy agency TheOverworld Paula has over 15 years of experience travelling the world researching people’s everyday lives and uncovering insights envisioning products, brands and services for the likes of Google Creative Lab, Starbucks, McKinsey, R/GA and LG.

As photographer and filmmaker, Paula has also pioneered the ‘real people, real stories’ content approach. Camera in hand, Paula has evolved her ethnographic-documentary work into commercial campaigns such as the Nokia Connecting Series and directing the SKODA Octavia ‘Loved, not owned’ digital and print campaign.

Former Director of Futures and Head of Research of Seymourpowell Paula have created and developed their renowned ethnographic research offer that pioneered the field of design research when she joined in 2001 working at the company for twelve years.

In 2015 Paula launched her first book “Every Thing We Touch: A 24hours Inventory of our lives” Published by Penguin Random House (English and Mandarin). The book is an artistic portrayal of the daily physical footprint of over 60 unique individuals from around the world. Everything We Touch entered the public consciousness, leading to national media interviews and appearances, photography and visual storytelling awards and art gallery exhibitions worldwide.

Paula gained a BA Hons in Industrial Design from the University of Buenos Aires and an MA in Strategy & Innovation from Brunel University.

She regularly delivers inspiring and thought-provoking keynote speeches at both corporate and academic events around the world and is invited to teach and jury at universities and international festivals, having also developed educational programmes for the V&A’ She is Argentine-Italian, and has lived in London for the past 17 years.

Jane Gauntlett (United Kingdom)

Jane Gauntlett is an artist, writer and director for interactive theatre, audio, game, film, VR and AR. Jane’s work is inspired by a fascination with human connection, her key interests are in the power of storytelling, advances in technology and audience impact. Jane starts with a story, then explores the best platform on which to tell it. Jane is currently working on The Future Project which explores the future of Technology (bio medicine, tactile technology, augmented reality, motion/ facial tracking), and its effects on politics, the environment, gender and relationships. In 2009 Jane founded the In My Shoes Project, an ever expanding library of interactive audio and audio visual experiences that use storytelling, technology, touch, taste and smell to recreate real-life experiences. She made the 360 immersive experiences ‘ In My Shoes: Dancing With Myself’(2015), and ‘In My Shoes: Intimacy’ (2017) which both premiered at Sheffield International Documentary Festival and have gone on to tour internationally.

Simon Lajboschitz (Denmark)

Innovative entrepreneur and seasoned retail professional with proven track-record of brand innovation. Accomplished director and manager, with a keen view from the customers’ perspective. Built a community hub in the Virtual Reality industry in Denmark, by founding the 1st VR store in the World, Khora and becoming the leading Danish VR experts. This has enabled him to establish key connections in different industries that needed VR ranging from: Architecture, Education, to Healthcare, Art and Vcommerce (VR-ecommerce).

Uri Kranot (Denmark)

Uri Kranot works closely with his partner Michelle Kranot. Beginning their career in animation, Michelle and Uri Kranots’ work has expanded beyond the traditional: their art straddles experimental genres and unfamiliar mediums, fusing handcrafted images and new technologies into contemporary experiences. Through drawings and films, their work is frequently characterized by a poetic sensibility and fragmented narratives exploring past and present, fact and fiction.Their current project continues to test the frontiers of immersive art and moving images with a focus on collaborative projects and cross-media innovation. Originally from Israel, Michelle and Uri have been living and working in Viborg for over 10 years.

Katerina Cizek (Canada)

Katerina Cizek is a two-time Emmy-winning documentarian, and pioneer in emergent media. She is heading up the Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab. At the National Film Board of Canada, she helped transform the organization into a digital hub with her ground-breaking projects Filmmaker-in-Residence, and HIGHRISE.

Ingrid Kopp (South of Africa)

Ingrid Kopp is a co-founder of Electric South, a non-profit initiative to develop virtual reality and innovative mobile storytelling projects across Africa. Ingrid also curates the Tribeca Storyscapes program for interactive and immersive work at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Margaux Missika (France)

After her studies and various experiences in content development, Margaux Missika joined Upian in 2010 to develop online productions. She produced projects like Alma, a tale of violence, Génération What?, How to make a Ken Loach Film, Do Not Track, Art of gaming or Earn a living.

Mike Robbins (Germany)

Mike is a director, producer, and creative technologist at his studio High Road Stories, a creative studio for documentary VR, AR, and interactive content. Our experiences have been featured in venues like IDFA, DOK Leipzig, BIFF, and DocAviv, and in museums and exhibitions around the world.

Myriam Achard (Canada)

Since 2015, Myriam has been researching immersive and interactive works to showcase at the Phi Centre as part of the VR exhibits. She curates the Phi Centre’s virtual reality programming which has been invited to various festivals and events.

Toby Coffey (United Kingdom)

Toby Coffey is Head of Digital Development for the National Theatre in London. He focuses on developing forms of digital engagement and interaction around the NT and its repertoire of productions. Toby has over 15 years expertise in the digital arena from creative, technical, production and social perspectives.