Kiira Benzing is a director crossing the mediums of theater, hybrid cinema and virtual reality. “Cardboard City” her first venture in Virtual Reality won the Samsung Gear Indie Milk VR contest (2016). Following this VR film her interactive installation for “Cardboard City” combining VR and AR premiered at the 54th annual New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Her short film “Hilda” had its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2017 and was distributed to Amazon and her recent film Diptych had its world premiere at Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera (2018). She has been selected twice for the Oculus Launch Pad Program, Google’s Jump Start, and as a JustFilms Fellow in partnership with the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. For the 2018 SXSW Film Festival she co-organized the workshop VR Storytelling for Filmmakers. She is currently working with live actors performing in social VR with the open software platform High Fidelity and she writes for the Medium blog “Alive in Plasticland”. Her upcoming project Runnin’ starring Reggie Watts, feature Intel’s volumetric capture technology will premiere at Sundance 2019.
Alyssa Landry is a narrative director, writer and immersive experience designer with a rich and varied background. Her degree in music, long and successful career in the theater, broad experience writing and directing for Disneyland Paris, as well as her work designing narratives for VR and AR experiences all come together to enrich her perspective. Her Disneyland Paris credits include Star Wars Season of the Force, The Jedi Training Academy, Frozen Sing-Along, The Forest of Enchantment, as well as numerous live shows, parades, atmosphere and press events. For Double Eye Studios, she spearheaded an AR experience for the premiere of Cardboard City at the 2016 NYFF and is participating in the development of Metropoles, a multi-player VR experience on the subject of gentrification. Most recently, she is proud to have served as Narrative Director for Incarna, a location based collaborative gaming experience that mingles VR, live action and role playing. Her musical theater writing credits include Élémentaire, mon cher!, (Bastille Opera Auditorium in 2019), Énooormes (co-author - currently on tour), Bons Baisers de Broadway, Jusqu’aux Dents (Prix SACD) and #Hashtags!, her first transmedia project.
Kent Rahman is the Design Lead for Emerging Technology at Thoughtworks designing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality applications. He loves exploring brave new worlds and founded Hardware Hack Lab in NYC to bring technologists and creators together. Relentlessly curious and driven by the promise of technology as a catalyst for positive social change Kent is a perpetual maker. For over 15 years he has worked as a leader in emerging technology with highly collaborative, cross-functional teams to explore and deliver enterprise applications involving VR/AR, conversational UI, and connected hardware. Specializing in UX and interaction design Kent loves experimenting with ideas that change our relationship between technology and humans.
Adrian Vasquez de Velasco is a director specializing in cinematic virtual reality storytelling and the co-founder of Total Cinema. Since first experiencing virtual worlds in an architecture design studio in 2012, Adrian has been at the forefront of exploring, developing, creating, and advocating for immersive and interactive storytelling and technologies, directing virtual reality experiences for brands as well as developing a slate of original narrative fiction and non-fiction work. Before VR, his documentary and narrative works as a traditional filmmaker screened at the Smithsonian Institution, the Warsaw and Palm Beach film festivals, and the World Sustainability Forum in the Amazon. He speaks fluent Spanish, is a dual US/EU citizen, and believes in fostering a global perspective through his work.
M. Woods works in avant-garde film, video art, VR, animation, photography, music production, collage, sound design, and performance. Dailies from Dumpland, his debut feature film, premiered at the Paris 20th Festival of Different and Experimental Cinemas in October, 2018, before embarking on a tour with Collectif Jeune Cinema, culminating in a short film retrospective at the Lausanne Underground Film Festival. His work has been shown at over 100 festivals and galleries internationally including the 2018 Rotterdam International Film Festival, ATA Gallery, Experimental Response Cinema, the Museum of Human Achievement, Fracto Berlin, Images Contre Nature, the Inattendus Biennial, the Coastal Currents Art Fair, and more; he recently won the top prize at the 2017 Montreal Underground Film Festival as well as a Jury prize at the 2018 Festival Tous Courts Aix-en-Provence. He is a represented artist at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art and The Vast Lab. In addition, he is the head of immersive curriculum for Studio Arts Los Angeles, where he teaches 360 Video courses and Premiere Pro. His goal is to create media that challenges institutional power and evolves consciousness.
An award-winning director, writer, and creative director, Shanet got his start in the advertising world working for some of the world's most prestigious ad agencies before embarking on his directorial career. He is a past winner of the Young Director Award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, was listed among the industry’s Top 10 “Directors to Watch”, and has had his work placed in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent audio-visual collection. His client list has included Starburst, H&R Block, Visa, Disney, LG Electronics, Powerball Lotto, KFC, Airheads Xtremes, Skittles, Pepsi, Green Giant, Volkswagen, The Celebrity Apprentice and many more. His work for those clients has won Cannes Lions, AICP, Clios, One Show pencils, and Best in Show at the ADDYs. He has also been a writer and producer for some of the top ad agencies in the world, including McCann, Kirshenbaum & Bond, Berlin Cameron, Leo Burnett, and others. Awards include: Cannes Young Director Award, Cannes Lions, AICP/MOMA, Clio Awards, One Show, London International Advertising Awards, TELLY, ADDY, ANDY, Art Director's Club, Creativity International, Hermes Awards, and Effies.
Gaiser guides technology and entertainment/technology companies to create meaning and money. She is the principal of Contagious Creativity, Founder of Leadership for Diversity and member of the Compassion Games leadership team. As one of the first female CEO’s in the gaming industry, Gaiser and her team sidestepped the status quo to capture the girl market that had been left behind. She was president and CEO of Her Interactive which pioneered inspiring video games for girls with the Nancy Drew franchise, dubbed the UnBarbie of computer games. Awards include: “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” Next Generation; “Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Decade” Gaming Angels & “2011 Indie Cade Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award.
David Gochfeld creates performance experiences between the real and virtual, drawing on classical and contemporary theatrical techniques as well as cutting edge immersive technology. His pioneering work incorporating live performance and narrative in multi-user virtual reality has been shown most recently at the Tribeca Film Festival ("To Be With Hamlet") and the Future of Storytelling Summit ("Holojam in Wonderland"). He has directed and performed theatrical pieces in venues around the world. He trained with Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier, holds a Masters from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab.
Cherryl S. Espinoza is an award-winning Producer + Line Producer with a successful track record working in music video, film, television, music video, commercials, and PSAs. Her credits include production managing works for directors Spike Lee and Hype Williams; line producing features (“True Friends”; “Playing Patti”); and producing digital content for the National Institute for Health, California Endowment Fund, the Haas Institute, and ten short films. Espinoza’s work has aired on Showtime, HBO, Fox, and CBS. She has been honored by Showtime, Martin Ritt Foundation, Stan Kamen Foundation, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and has garnered numerous national and international awards including screening at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. Espinoza began exploring 360°+VR when she was selected for Oculus’ Launch Pad Bootcamp in 2016 and 2017. She has since created a Unity prototype for a 360°/VR project, directed an 360° music documentary, produced immersive content for a Los Angeles city agency, and a prototype for an immersive and interactive murder mystery. She was also recommended by Oculus as a 360°+VR Instructor for NIFFTY 2018. Based in Los Angeles, Espinoza is currently developing a travel/education Experience using 360°video, photogrammetry, and 3d modeling.