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Innovation from the North

I'm pleased to announce a panel I've assembled for the fall Digital Hollywood conference track on virtual and augmented reality: Innovation from the North: A Look at VR, AR, and Immersive Entertainment in Canada

Last spring Victor Harwood produced a stellar group of sessions on virtual reality and related innovations at this long-running conference. Sessions were so well attended and interesting that expanded the number and breadth of topics across three days of the conference. Take a look at all the sessions here.

With VR literally exploding across the landscape of entertainment and technology, I wanted to make sure we included innovators in this space that I've met during my work in Toronto with the IDEABOOST Accelerator. Here's what I came up with:

As the market for new VR and immersive technologies explode, centers of innovation like Canada are making significant contributions, both creatively and technologically. With two of North America’s busiest film/TV production centers and arguably the deepest bench in 3D animation technologies in the world, Canadian artists, entrepreneurs and institutions are making waves in a market that requires both. Join Nick DeMartino, senior advisor to the Canadian Film Centre, and a stellar panel from north of the border to explore the cutting edge of entertainment.

Speakers include: 

  • Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre
  • Eric W. Shamlin, Managing Director / Executive Producer, Secret Location
  • Sean Ramsay, Founder, Bubl Technology
  • Roy Taylor, Corporate Vice President and Head of Alliances, AMD
  • J. Lee Williams, Producer-Director, 1188 Films & Occupied VR  
  • Nick DeMartino, Chair, IDEABOOST Board: Moderator

Date: Wednesday, October 21st. 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM - Marina Vista Room. (Billed as the Immersive Breakfast Roundtable).  Note: Digital Hollywood plans to webcast this panel. In addition, in keeping with the innovation theme, we're going to try something different --- panelist J. Lee Williams will be participating as a holographic transmission, live from Toronto, using new technology his company is working with. Just like Tupac!

Here are the biographies of the speakers.  

Ana Serrano is the Chief Digital Officer of the CFC and Founder of CFC Media Lab, the world-renowned and award-winning institute for interactive storytelling created in 1997. Serrano is driving the digital transformation of the CFC into a unique blend of talent, product and company accelerator and creative production house. She continually evolves the CFC's programs as digital media demand new approaches – from the early exploration of web-based storytelling to today’s world of audience-driven multiplatform entertainment. Most recently, she launched Canada's first digital entertainment accelerator IDEABOOST. Serrano has directed the development of over 130 digital media projects, mentored over 50 start-ups, and produced some of Canada’s seminal works in interactive media, including new projects in virtual reality and Body/Mind/Change, starring David Cronenberg, an interactive narrative experience that generates a physical 3D printed object.  

Eric W. Shamlin is Managing Director & Executive Producer at Secret Location, with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles. Eric is an all-terrain storyteller with more than 20 years of experience across multiple creative industries; including film, television, visual effects, advertising and digital media. The challenges (and opportunities) presented by virtual reality are a natural progression and culmination for his broad skill set. Among his awards are multiple Emmys and a half dozen Cannes Lions. Eric now leads the LA office of Secret Location, a content studio for emerging platforms. With deep digital experience and a commitment to storytelling, Secret Location has evolved into full service content development studio. Secret Location was among the first companies to pioneer storytelling in virtual reality and remains committed to delivering VR experiences at the highest possible level. They’re also developing a slate of traditional serialized content, several digital platforms and look forward to the coming Augmented Reality revolution. They are represented by UTA and VRSE. Secret Location’s VR Experience includes #vanbeethovan (LA Philharmonic), Sleepy Hollow VR Experience at Comic Con 2014 (Fox), Insidious 3 traveling 4D experience (Focus Features)VR documentaries on the rise and spread of ebola, international rhino poaching trade, China’s most advanced wind farm, and many other VR projects for causes, broadcasters, studios and brands.

Sean Ramsay is the Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) and founder of Bubl Technology Inc, creators of the Bublcam. An immersive technology enthusiast and digital strategist, Sean’s expertise in spherical technology came after significant contributions in the areas of award winning digital media creation, design, technology, video production and marketing.

Roy Taylor is Corporate Vice President and Head of Alliances at AMD. He is responsible for a global team managing all aspects of the AMD ecosystem and external relations. In this role Taylor manages AMD relations with Microsoft, Google, major games publishers and developers and also heads up AMD technology partnerships in VR.Taylor joined AMD in 2013. A 25-year veteran, Taylor has had a multi-faceted career as a technology evangelist, content strategist and entrepreneur in both start-ups and established companies.

J. Lee Williams is an award-winning visual effects director with many alter egos: illustrator, comic book artist, animator, flash developer, VFX director, film producer and his main role as commercial director – and now, pioneer in virtual reality. His career has allowed him to touch some of his favorite brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney, Pixar, Adidas, Nike, Puma, the Marvel Universe, Angry Birds and Transformers. J. Lee partnered with two other intricate individuals to form 1188 Films and now Occupied VR.

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