SPEAKERS

David Karlak
RSA

Biography

David Karlak is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, CA. In 2010. Karlak directed the short film The Candidate  that went on to make the prestigious Viewfinder List in 2011 and played at film festivals around the world. Following the success of The Candidate, Karlak sold an original sci-fi pitch to Warner Brothers titled “RISE” with Roy Lee producing, and then a second original pitch titled Outliers to 20th Century Fox with Peter Chernin producing. Karlak is attached to direct both films.

In recent years, Karlak has been exploring the use of virtual reality to tell compelling narratives, having directed a virtual reality experience set in the world of “RISE” which premiered it at the Storyscapes series at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014 and a custom VR experience for BMW’s design team in Munich. Mixing his love for storytelling with technology, Karlak has been working to help develop new virtual reality production tools and software as the Creative Director at Nurulize, a virtual reality software company based in downtown Los Angeles.

Karlak most recently directed an acclaimed, fully immersive VR experience for Alien: Covenant called “In Utero” with Ridley Scott overseeing as executive producer, in partnership with 20th Century Fox’s FoxNext, RSA VR and Technicolor’s MPC.

Karlak was born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Mexico City.

Brynley Gibson
Head of Studios
Kuju

Biography

Brynley Gibson, who has been producing in a range of creative industries for over 18 years. He is currently the head of studios for Kuju, a division of Curve Digital Entertainment. Most recently he released the critically acclaimed and multi award nominated The Chainsmokers: Paris VR for Sony Corp. Prior to this as Executive Producer at Sony London Studio he led the PSVR launch title PlayStation VR Worlds.Other titles in Brynley’s production portfolio include Battalion Wars 2, the Chime series, the BAFTA winning The Movies and he was also the series producer and one of the original creators behind Nintendo’s multi-million selling and long-running Art Academy series.

Dave Ranyard
CEO
Dream Reality

Biography

Dave is a self-confessed VR pioneer and the CEO of an independent virtual reality studio, Dream Reality Interactive. The studio is based in London, and is currently busy creating original IP, designed from the ground up for VR.

Prior to this, Dave worked for 17 years at Playstation, where was the director of Sony’s London Studio, where he oversaw Sony’s critically acclaimed ventures into the world of virtual reality on PlayStation. VR games include Ocean Descent, Street Luge and the critically acclaimed, London Heist and make up PlayStation VR collection, VR worlds.

Dave was executive producer on a number of million plus selling Playstation titles, including Singstar & wonderbook: book of spells. Prior to this, Dave has been a research fellow, musician, programmer, audio creative services manager. Having, studied at Leeds University, Dave obtained a 1st in computer science and PhD in Artificial Intelligence and keeps active links with a number of universities.

Dave is also an active member of the game development industry, holding positions on the BAFTA Games Committee, the Game Developers Conference, Virtua Reality Developers Conference, and the Virtual Reality World Congress. Dave also sits on the advisory board of a number of new VR companies, including Game Face Labs & the New Reality Museum.

Dave can be found tweeting @Dr__Dave

John Cassy
Founder
Factory 42

Biography

John worked in senior roles at Sky for 10 years launching and running new channels and technology, while working across genres from sports to factual to music to arts.  He commissioned live major events in 3D including two UEFA Champions League Finals, two Ryder Cups, ATP Tour Finals at O2, 2012 Olympics, NBA, Premier League, The Queen’s Speech, and BAFTA winning David Attenborough films.  He also created the UK’ s leading Arts TV channels, Sky Arts.  He is a board Governor of the International Advanced Imaging Society in LA, as well as a Trustee of the Almeida Theatre, London’s 2016 Theatre of the Year.

Karen Boswell
Interactive Lead
Adam and Eve

Biography

Karen is the Interactive Lead at adam&eveDDB, here to ensure innovative thinking is integrated across all disciplines. She has over 10 years of experience covering the full marketing spectrum and specialises in enabling digital brand transformation. Using technology as an enabler, Karen will plan, shape and lead strategies that sit within a wider marketing mix to ensure the solution is one that seamlessly works in a world where the customer relationship is always on. Karen is a regular speaker at industry panel events and a winner at the 2016 Women of Tomorrow Awards.

Leila Martine
Director of New Device Experiences
Microsoft

Biography

Leila Martine is Microsoft’s Director of New Device Experiences and is responsible for introducing new products such as HoloLens to the UK market.    She has previously led incubation and established business portfolios for Microsoft across consumer and commercial sectors across US, Canada, Central and Eastern Europe and the United Kingdom.

Marvyn Harrison
Content and Services Manager
Samsung

Mike McGee
Chief Creative Officer
Framestore

Biography

Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Oscar-winning creative solutions partner, Framestore

Mike McGee is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Framestore: a company that prides itself on combining relentless creativity with tomorrow’s technology to make extraordinary experiences. From the Wired Innovation Awards to Ciclope, his multilayered experience as both a pioneering entrepreneur and a creative visionary has seen him spearhead some of the world’s most innovation-focused judging panels.

Having helmed several of the industry’s most notably inventive campaigns – like Lockheed Martin’s group VR experience, Field Trip to Mars (the most awarded campaign at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity) – McGee uses his hands-on knowledge of working at the bleeding edge of film and advertising creativity to evaluate craft and innovation credentials with utter precision. His eye for detail and ability to see ahead of the curve have earned him a reputation as a key industry thought leader, judge and speaker at global creative summits like Cannes Lions, Bloomberg Design Week and Contagious’ Now, Next, Why?

After leading the visual effects and direction of many award-winning and critically acclaimed film, TV and advertising projects, McGee is now experimenting with emerging platforms, such as virtual and augmented reality, to ensure the company he co-founded 30 years ago remains the flag-bearer for creativity and innovation.

Sol Rogers
Founder & CEO
Rewind

Biography

Sol Rogers founded REWIND, an immersive content agency, in 2011 after growing demands for his professional work pulled him away from 15 years as a University Senior Lecturer in Digital Animation, Visual Effects & Emerging Technology.

Sol has grown REWIND into an award winning tribe of vibrant creative technologists and digital artists. The team is focused on harnessing immersive technologies to deliver groundbreaking VR, AR, Animation, DOOH, VFX and 360 degree video projects for some of the world’s largest companies and brands including the BBC, NBC, Nike, Sony, Red Bull, Rolls-Royce and Björk.

Awarded by the UK government the inaugural ‘Immersive Reality and Innovation’ award in 2015 by Lord Marlon, and named as ‘BIMA 100’ most influential in 2016. Sol’s knowledge of VR production combined with his evangelical enthusiasm for this new industry has seen him invited to speak at conferences the world over, interviewed for TV and write for magazines and newspapers.

Zillah Watson
Editorial lead on future content and storytelling projects
BBC

Biography

Zillah Watson is Commissioning Editor for Virtual Reality at the BBC and heads up the BBC VR Hub. She is executive producer of a number of critically acclaimed VR experiences for the BBC including We Wait and The Turning Forest. She led the development of 360 VR for BBC News and is the author of VR for News: The New Reality, published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in 2017. A former TV and radio current affairs producer and head of editorial standards for BBC Radio 4, she recently worked in BBC Research & Development for four years to understand the future of content and online curation.  

Kim-Leigh Pontin
Creative Interaction Director
Sky

Mária Rakušanová
Director of VR and New Media
Raindance Film Festival

Adam Bracegirdle
Creative Director
Vice

Biography

With an international network of twelve digital channels, a television and feature film production studio, a magazine, a record label and a new TV channel called VICELAND, Vice is one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing media brands. Adam Bracegirdle heads up VICE’s creative department in London, overseeing all of its work with brand partners in the UK and Europe and working with various teams across the business to create campaigns aimed at its growing youth audience.

Before joining Vice, Adam worked at Critical Mass, Tomorrow, AKQA and Sid Lee, where he was creative director for Adidas and worked on the 2012 London Olympics, and ‘All In’ campaign.

Cory Key
VP of VR
Discovery

Biography

Cory Key is Vice President of Interactive for the Discovery Agency, Discovery Communications’ in-house creative agency. In this capacity, he oversees a team of designers and developers who work on immersive digital experiences to support Discovery’s wide-ranging programming and drives creative innovation across platforms. The team has won numerous awards in including an Interactive Emmy for work on Skywire Live and two Webby Awards.

Most recently, Key has helped launch Discovery VR, a new brand of experiences combining the immersive power of virtual reality with Discovery’s 30-year history of engaging and exceptional content. Key has spent the better half of the last 3 years on the road directing 360 video production for the Discovery VR platform.

Key has more than 20 years advertising and digital experience and is based at Discovery Communications’ world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Greg Ivanov
Business Development
Google Play and Android

Biography

Greg Ivanov leads rollout of Daydream across EMEA. Prior to this, Greg was a Strategic Partner Lead for Mobile Partnerships EMEA at Google.  Before joining Google, Greg was the Head of Digital for Project Syndicate where he worked on international content partnerships in regards to proprietary digital products.

Liam Walsh
Creative Technology Director of Interactive Arts
Nexus Studios

Biography

Liam Walsh is the Creative Technology Director of Interactive Arts, a specialist interactive storytelling division of Nexus Studios, that researches and adopts emerging technologies to craft engaging story experiences.

Previously Liam was head of Creative Technology at Wonderbly, a google ventures backed children’s entertainment startup; before that he was head of the prototyping department at w12 studios, a product and service design consultancy. Liam has been coding interactive experiences for brands and products for over 10 years and his work has spanned, motion graphics, videogames, toys, books, and even household appliances.

Launched in 2009 Interactive Arts has produced interactive work for Burberry, Google, The New Yorker, IBM, APPLE, and the White House, as well as collaborations with institutions like Science Museum, The V&A Museum, Tate Modern and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. In 2016, Interactive Arts premiered ‘Rain or Shine’ a unique 360º VR short film for Google Spotlight Stories and 1600, and AR experience of a year inside the White House for the Obama administration.
Since 2013 Interactive Arts has been Google’s partner on the Made with Code initiative to inspire young girls to explore a career in computer science. Interactive Arts has produced many interactive projects, including highlights like ‘Holiday Lights’ in front of the White House where girls were invited to code their own designs at the Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, or an interactive LED dress that has been worn for Zac Posen’s spring 2016 collection, Lupita Nyong’o on the Daily Show, and recently on Good Morning America.
Interactive Arts has been recognised with a D&AD Yellow and White Pencil, Lovie Golds and Silvers, Webby Winners and honorees, Adobo Golds, FWA’s, Clio’s, a Golden Nica, Creative Review Best in Book and many more.

Resh Sidhu
Digital Creative Director
Framestore

Biography

Resh is one of the most well-regarded names in Virtual Reality and one of only a handful of
women driving the medium forward with her fearless creativity and innovative approach.
Resh’s most recent work is the groundbreaking Fantastic Beasts VR experience launching on
Google’s Daydream Headset. Resh’s influential work is recognized worldwide for its
pioneering approach that continues to define and lead the Virtual industry. Since joining
Framestore’s VR Studio has become one of the most prolific and awarded virtual reality
studios. She continues pushes the boundaries of the medium with an imaginative application
of art and technology to create beautifully crafted VR experiences.
Resh has recently been awarded The Voice a Woman Award for her pioneering creative work
in Virtual reality, named as a leading female pioneer in VR by Marie Claire Magazine. Featured
in Campaign Top 30 Women creative trailblazers redefining adland.
Her role extends well beyond the scope of creative leadership, she lectures and talks
extensively all over the world on designing compelling experiences in VR. She is a
motivational speaker and leader, drawing from her years of experience in advertising and
marketing. More recently she spoke at TEDX on her fearless approach to new mediums and
the endless possibilities of Virtual Reality.
Resh joined Framestore from Award winning innovation agency AKQA in London where, as
Creative Director, she led a multi-disciplinary team across a wide client base. Resh has a
diverse skillset with specialties in Virtual Reality, creative direction, interaction design,
conceptual ideas, strategy and team leadership. She brings a fresh, original and authentic
approach to the workplace with her endless energy and enthusiasm. She truly is a one-woman
band who can come up with ideas, educate clients, drive immersive workshops and lead her
formidable team to seek terrain unexplored.
Resh has worked on a huge variety of award-winning projects for clients including Warner
Bros, PlayStation, HBO, Xbox, L’Oreal, Nickelodeon, Nissan, Infiniti Red Bull, Nivea and
Samsung. She’s a frequent contributing author to publications such as Advertising Age,
Campaign USA, The Drum, Financial Times, LLB Online, Marie Claire, and Digi Day, where she
has challenged the industry to stop cannibalising the medium and delivery content that
makes it truly indispensable.
She has worked on a huge variety of award winning projects for clients including J.K. Rowling,
Warner Bros, PlayStation, HBO, Xbox, L’Oreal, Nickelodeon, Nissan, Infiniti Red Bull, Nivea and
Samsung. She’s a frequent contributing author to publications such as Advertising Age,
Campaign USA, The Drum, Financial Times, LLB Online, Marie Claire, and Digi Day, where she
has challenged the industry to stop cannibalizing the medium and delivery content that
makes it truly indispensable.
She was recently named influential voice driving new technology in #VR alongside
@elonmusk by siliconrepublic and is winner of The Voice a Woman Award for her pioneering
creative work in Virtual reality.

Jed Ashforth
Co-Founder
Realised Realities

SectionBiography

Realised Realities  Jed Ashforth co-founded Realised Realities in 2017.  Their goal is to help clients to realise the true potential of their Virtual Reality products by sharing their decades of hands-on experience of creating and guiding interactive immersive content.

Jed was the Senior Game Designer and Immersive Experience Specialist for the PlayStation VR project, and was one of the founder members who proposed Virtual Reality as a new direction for PlayStation gaming in 2012. Sole author of Sony’s extensive VR Game Design Best Practices, he has provided consultation and guidance to more than 100 commercial VR projects of every size and shape.

David Wise
Parable VR

Biography

David is CEO and co-founder of Parable, which launched in March 2017 with the backing of C4’s Growth Fund, The Economist and Stephen Lambert. David launched Parable with co-founder, Nicholas Minter-Green, formerly President of Economist Films. The company specialises in creating narrative-led factual and entertainment content for broadcasters and brands using innovative tech, including 360 and VR. Prior to launching Parable, David was Director of Programmes at The Garden Productions (producers of C4’s 24 Hours in A&E and 24 Hours in Police Custody) and prior to The Garden, he was Creative Director of Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Productions.

Avril Furness
independent film maker

Biography

Avril Furness is an Independent Virtual Reality, 360 and Film Director, Writer, Producer based in London.  

Having a background as a Creative at London advertising agencies Fallon and Wieden + Kennedy, Avril is driven to tell compelling stories and ideas that grip the viewer.

Avril’s debut VR film ‘The Last Moments’ is an interactive Virtual Reality 360 docudrama that allows

the viewer to experience an assisted suicide and either end their life or carry on living, shot in a

replica of a room at Dignitas, Switzerland. The film was nominated for Best Director at the BAFTA-affiliated UnderWire Festival (2016), and is nominated for a ‘Most Immersive Award’ at Encounters Film Festival (2017).

 

Since graduating from London Film Academy in November 2015, Avril has had success in having films she has written, produced and directed screened at many festivals including:

Indiewire, UnderWire, London Short Film Festival, Hyperdrive Sci-Fi & Fantasy Film Festival, Comicpalooza Film Festival, SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival, Flicks International Student Short Film Festival, 

Encounters Film Festival, and at The British Film Institute as part of their Media and Education programme.

 

Avril is currently developing several Virtual Reality projects and art installation ideas.

Franki Goodwin
Creative Director
Saatchi & Saatchi

Biography

Franki leads a double life as a Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi London and as Exec Producer at Western Edge Pictures and the Gennaker Group – a group of independent Feature Film Production and Finance Companies.

Soon after graduating from Glasgow School of Art in Visual Communications she started her first company Franki&Jonny – a boutique digital agency specialising in Entertainment brands. They pioneered early integrated content and social media campaigns and won many awards, including a BAFTA interactive and a bunch of D&ADs. Franki was recently was named by the prestigious awards outfit the FWA as a ‘Digital Pioneer’ for her work in this period for Warner Bros, Disney, Skype and Film4

In 2013 she joined Saatchi & Saatchi London – bringing unique digital expertise and storytelling skills to an integrated advertising role working across clients such as Marie Curie, Asda, and Deutsche Telekom. In 2016 Franki won 9 Cannes Lions for “Sea Hero Quest” – the world’s first game to plug into Dementia research, which was named as one of the top 10 campaigns of 2016 by Creative Review and Campaign. In 2017 she was a Judge at the Cannes Lions, and also won 4 Lions, including one gold, for her latest work for DT “Magenta Unleashed”– a partnership with the band Gorillaz.

Adam Grint
Creative Director
The Mill

Biography

Adam Grint is a Creative Director in The Mill’s London studio.

In this role, Adam heads up the London immersive team, focusing on the creative development and growth of all interactive and immersive projects.

Adam originally hailed from the Mill’s London Studio, where he made his name as a lead Flame Artist and VFX supervisor, working on high profile campaigns for Audi, JCPenney and Samsung. He was also part of the award-winning teams that created the iconic Sony ‘Balls’ and Honda ‘Cog’.

He then moved to The Mill’s Chicago studio, where he took on the role of Creative Director, as well as lending his directorial talent to Mill+, leading projects for McDonald’s, ComEd, and Wrigleys.

Adam returned to the London studio at the end of 2015, where he has been a key motivator behind a new era for The Mill, growing the immersive team and displaying our full commitment to storytelling across all platforms. His recent projects have seen him work for clients on VR experiences with brands such as Nike, BBC, The Guardian and Google.

Most recently Adam creatively led the ground-breaking Corona ‘Paraiso Secreto’, the room-scale (18x18ft) experience which transports users to a virtual paradise using a seamless blend of theatre and multi-sensory VR, launched at a live event in Mexico City.

Richard Agnew
Global PR Director, Product
Jaguar Land Rover

Micke Hjorth
Starbreeze

Biography

Michael is one of the founder of the Swedish production company Tre Vänner , today part of SF studios.  He is a writer/producer and veteran in the Scandinavian media industry and  has created several television hits, produced over 400 commercials, and has executive produced over ten feature film movies and directed two himself.

He is also a  bestselling crime writer and have, together with Hans Rosenfeldt ( the creator of The bridge TV series) ,   written five bestselling books about Criminal Psychologist Sebastian Bergman.  To date, they have been sold on 32 markets including in the U.S.

Nick Rooke
Director, Developer Relations
Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe

Biography

Nick oversees end-to-end developer engagement for PlayStation platforms in the SIEE region, having commenced his Sony career at the company a decade ago as a part of the Developer Relations team. His remit now includes oversight for the Strategic Content team, Developer Technology Group as well as Developer Relations. Nick’s career in the games industry began 20 years ago working in development as a designer and then producer on a number of PC and console titles, before moving to work at platform holders almost exclusively for the latter half of those 20 years. In his downtime Nick follows Formula One and endurance racing.

Dave Black
Mixed Immersion

Biography

Dave has been pioneering the use of immersive technologies since his role in the launch and rapid growth of Augmented Reality giant, blippar. He then became a key figure in the early rise of award-winning Virtual Reality Studio, REWIND, promoting their amazing work and introducing the company to the US and the Far East. He is now the Co-Founder of Mixed Immersion, an Immersive Audio Production Company, where along with two of the film industry’s most respected and highly regarded sound experts, they are bringing ‘real world audio replication’, cinematic and theatrical sound solutions to VR audiences.

Paul Brown
General Manager
VIVE Europe

Biography

Paul Brown is the General Manager for Vive Europe. He oversees Vive’s growing European business across its virtual reality content, software and hardware ecosystem. Paul’s extensive experience at the forefront of new consumer media and content helps to solidify Vive’s position in the market as the VR industry continues to grow.

Prior to joining HTC Vive, Paul spent the previous six years at Disney as General Manager of Digital D2C and Disney Interactive for EMEA, running its digital content division and overseeing the development and launch, in the UK, of Disney’s first major direct to consumer video and music subscription service, DisneyLife. Prior to Disney, he was Spotify’s UK MD, overseeing its mobile launch in 2009/10. He has also held senior executive roles at Sony Music and US internet radio giant Pandora Media having begun his career as a city lawyer at law firm Hogan Lovells.

Abi Smith
Creative Director
Powster

Biography

Abi is Creative Director at Powster leading a team of designers and video editors in the pursuit of creative marketing solutions for the movie industry. Powster is a creative studio with offices in London and LA, which specialise in interactive video and innovative movie marketing tools. For the last two years, Abi has been working with all the major movie studios internationally to deliver custom creative solutions from interactive trailers and social activations to new techniques in VR.

Abi has been instrumental in bringing VR to Powster platforms including VR Showtimes, where cinema-goers can find showtimes and get tickets in an in-world experience, and new movie discovery site Trailered, where users can create trailer playlists and view 3D trailers in VR. Recently Abi spearheaded a collaboration with Disney and RealD to showcase Disney’s Black Panther in VR on Trailereda s part of this year’s MCM ComicCon London.

Prior to working at Powster, Abi held senior marketing roles at Universal Pictures Intl and event cinema distributor Arts Alliance.