Christopher Sibley is a multi-hyphenate creative entrepreneur who founded Papalote Productions for creating commercials, documentaries, music videos, and indie shorts, while simultaneously launching SkyFrame Studios – an aerial cinematography company. As a producer and director, he has successfully crowdfunded a variety of both long and short-form live action projects, screened short films at Cannes, and was the lead creator behind VRVC: Future Stories conference in partnership with Leap Motion and Violet Crown Cinemas. He has consulted both Michael Shamberg and Casey Affleck in conceptualizing VR and New Media. Recently, he has worked with Patron, USA Today, and Angari.
Eddie is the founder and CEO of Sandman Studios, a VR content studios based in Beijing that produces premium VR experiences. Sandman Studios’s recent work “Free Whale” is selected by 74th Venice Film Festival VR Competition.
Eddie is also an active industry advisor and community organizer for the VR industry in China. Eddie created China’s first independent VR festival Sandbox and worked with AR/VR research and consulting company Greenlight Insight for industry research.
Eddie held degrees from Imperial College London, University of the Arts London and London Business School. Prior to joining VR industry, Eddie has been working as business strategist and consultant for APEC China Business Council, JD.com, iResearch and Accenture.
Andrew Van Wyk
DreamWorks Studios / Amblin Partners
Anrdew Van Wyk is a writer and producer from California, with a MFA from the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. After graduating with honors from UCLA with degrees in English Literature and Screenwriting, he traveled the globe working alongside Chopard Award winning actor Kevin Zegers, and Academy Award-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou. Shortly thereafter, Van Wyk co-founded Somnium Entertainment with Mr. Hounsou and spearheaded the development of a slate of feature projects, the first of which was the international documentary – FREEDOM PEAK (2014).
Van Wyk has produced multiple short films, music videos and commercials including projects with The Mental Health Association, St. Luke’s Hospital, Chesapeake Energy, iProspect and performing artist Sky Ferreira. As a writer he contributed to articles published in major online media (Huffington Post, CNN, The Hill), had speeches delivered before both the US Congress and the United Nations, wrote copy for start-ups and Fortune 500 companies alike (Oxfam, MHA, Chesapeake Energy, I Am Vibes), and had multiple feature scripts optioned. More recently, Van Wyk co-founded ANML Pictures – a creative collective with offices in Los Angeles and Austin, that develops and produces visual content in a variety of forms.
At his core, Van Wyk is a storyteller. He is an avid world traveler and explorer found in America’s National Parks and various mountain tops on any available weekend. Combining a passion for cinema and literature with a love of storytelling, Van Wyk consistently contributes a unique perspective and way at telling compelling narratives in a variety of mediums.
Born in Moscow. Studied and worked in New York and Tel Aviv. Based in Berlin.
Ioulia Isserlis is the Co-Founder and CEO of AnotherWorld VR, a content and VR production studio that focuses on creating cinematic and narrative-driven VR experiences. Before founding AnotherWorld (pun intended), Ioulia worked in the fields of content creation, film production/post-production, radio broadcasting, and print and online media management. Since going full-time into creative VR production, she has overseen a variety of projects from historical drama to horror and worked with clients such as Microsoft.
Max Sacker is a filmmaker, Co-Founder and creative director at Anotherworld VR. Before going full time into virtual reality, he wrote and directed a number of award-winning fantasy and horror short films including The Secret Adventures of the Projectionist and worked as a story consultant and VFX supervisor on the social media horror film Unfriend (Warner Bros.)
He is currently working on KOBOLD: a horror film and VR experience that blurs the line between cinema and VR gaming.
Sarah Kinga Smith
Reverse Engineering Studios (RES)
Sarah Kinga Smith is the founder of Reverse Engineering Studios ( “RES” ), a talent management and production company for digital and traditional media.
Prior to her engagement at RES, she was managing director of London then later US based film funds, overseeing projects from companies like Universal Pictures, Lionsgate and Europacorp. She executive produced commercially successful pictures (“Lone Survivor”, “2 Guns”, “November Man”) and worked with critically acclaimed directors & producers of companies, like Sony, Annapurna, Riddley Scott Associates and Digital Domain.
In 2014 taking a break from film finance, she returned to creative development and joined a talent management company as Head of the International Literary Talent Department. She worked with clients at HBO, Vuguru, Amazon and MakerStudios. Digital companies brought new formats and access to new platforms, pushing creators to adopt new ways of story telling by merging traditional business models of Film & TV with fast paced digital environment. To discover new media formats, in 2015 with her producing partner Micke Hjorth (Chairman of the Board at Starbreeze Studios) she produced a live action immersive VR experience (“Cockatoo Spritz”), which was premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2016. Since she had showcased immersive and interactive content at International and US festivals, including TIFF, Dubai Film Festival, Brussel Media Summit, Beijing Film Festival and EFM in Berlin.
With a global perspective, as a cross collateralised content creator, Reverse Engineering Studios (RES) was founded to support creatives, to manage IP development across platforms and to utilise technology in suitable media formats including VR & AR. In 2017 RES in collaboration with Eddie Lou (CEO of Sandbox VR & Sandman Studios ) co-founded Pitch Virtual, an online content studio to support great stories and storytellers in creation, communication and collaboration.
Gabo Arora is Creative Director & Senior Advisor at the United Nations; Founder & President of Lightshed, a virtual reality and social impact start-up; and an award-winning filmmaker represented by Vrse.works. His current focus is on new technologies that promote social causes and make decision-making processes more inclusive. Among these projects, he has developed a viral video campaign for the climate change summit, and worked with internet influencers to promote accountability on global humanitarian aid assistance. His most recent work was as a co-creator, director and producer of the UN’s first-ever virtual reality film series focusing on vulnerable populations. His work has screened at Sundance and other major film festivals. He is a World Economic Forum 2016 Arts and Cultural leader at Davos and a Term-Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Gayatri Parameswaran is co-founder at NowHere Media – an immersive storytelling studio based in Berlin. She is a VR/360° creator, documentary maker and journalist from India. Her areas of focus are human rights and the environment. As a journalist and filmmaker, she has documented under-reported issues in over 25 countries. Her work has appeared in international media outlets such as Al Jazeera English, Deutsche Welle, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Weekendavisen and more.
She is part of Oculus VR for Good’s Creator’s Lab 2017. She co-directed India’s first VR experience about intimate partner violence (IPV) for Love Matters India, which was exhibited at 10 Delhi metro stations in June 2017, and has been screened at the USNC-UN Women Global Voices Film Festival in San Francisco. She is an alumni of the German Chancellor Fellowship (Bundeskanzler Stipendium) and was awarded the Youth Champions Initiative grant by the David and Packard Lucile Foundation for innovation in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2014-15).
She is an Erasmus Mundus Scholar with an MA in Journalism (2009-11), as well as a gold medallist as a Bachelor of Mass Media (Journalism) at the University of Mumbai (2005-08).
Thomas Bedenk is freelance Virtual Reality Consultant. From 2009 until 2015 he was Creative Director, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Brightside Games. He studied Media Design in Nuremberg and Human Factors in Berlin. He is teaching various game related subjects at game schools and universities. Before focusing on the games industry he was freelance interactive designer and developer for about 10 years and worked on special effects in the movie industry for a while. He started his love for games, playing Pac-Man against his twin brother on the Atari 800XL and developed his first own games 1996.
VRARA China Chapter
Niu Yiming has been involved in the AR industry since 2010. He is now working as the director of China Augmented Reality Alliance (ARA) Secretariat and CTO of GallantAR. ARA was established on October 17, 2015 in Xi’an at the first Augmented World Expo Asia (AWE Asia ) which is the largest AR and VR conference in Asia. Yiming has established successful cooperative relations with overseas VR/AR companies and is the core partner of Super Ventures and AugmentedReality.org in the Greater China Region. As an expert in VR/AR industry, he has presented talks at major conferences such as AWE Asia, TFC, TEDx . He is dedicated to promote the communication between Chinese VR/AR industry with the international VR/AR industry.
A background in cognitive science, Daniel started his forays into VR over 4 years ago as a researcher studying human navigation behaviour. In the wake of the latest VR renaissance Daniel joined RE’FLEKT as UX Researcher and Designer, working on a wide range of VR & AR projects: data visualization, interactive 360 video and as VR UX lead for the Audi showroom experience. A member of the team behind Closse he won gold at the Oculus Mobile VR Jam Gold Winner Colosse. In December 2015 Daniel co-founded realities.io with the goal of making amazing real world places explorable for everyone in VR. After spending half a year at the Boost VC accelerator in Silicon Valley, realities.io is now working out of Berlin. Daniels design process is rapid prototyping guided by his scientific background in embodiment, perceptional psychology and neurophysiology.
Maria Courtial, industrial designer by trade, is co-founder of one of Germany’s leading CGI studios, Faber Courtial, and producer of the 1st VR production on German TV, the award-winning ZDF documentary “Volcanos in 360 and VR”.
When starting their business back in 1998, the objective was to bring more emotion and fascination to the hithertho down-to-earth world of 3D animation. High-profile projects for TV documentaries and exhibitions paved the way to their actual passion: to fabricate impressive digital realms, from bygone ages to stunning new worlds and breathtaking vistas.
VR and its opportunity to immerse into different times and unreachable places has been a logical step. Since 2014, Faber Courtial has been creating high-quality VR content, again with the declared goal to set high standards in the way of storytelling and the implementation of new VR techniques. Their VR productions won several prizes, such as the Grimme Online Award 2017, the Gold Panda Award 2016 and the 60th Cine Golden Eagle Award.
Classically trained Photographer and Artist with an MA in Fine Art and Moving Image Storytelling from London University of the Arts. Lina is a skilled creative director and highly competent in visual communication, with a broad background within illustration and commercial photography. As an International award winning photographer and painter, Lina has had a long range of exhibitions in US and Europe, and worked as Creative Director at R&M Advertising in NY.
Lina ́ s fascination for Visual Storytelling, animation and film has given her specialist expertise within Matte Painting, Photoshop, digital compositing and creating stories.
Studied painting at HdK Berlin between 1979 – 1985.
Became interested in 360° film because of dancing and the relationship between motion, space and the human body.
Produced and directed the 360° feature film CARROUSEL in 2014 and built a specially designed projection space for it.
The next project BALLAVITA, a narrative stereoscopic VR film is in postproduction now.
Christian Glessner is co-founder and CEO of hololux, a leading agency for virtual and mixed reality. He accompanies and leads some of the largest German enterprises on their journey into new and emerging virtual realities.
Christian’s parents were entrepreneurs and he grew up between computer technology and economics.
As a kid, he was deeply inspired by an amber sparkling screen and it’s blinking and promising cursor of an AS/400 in his parent’s office. The “Tabula Rasa” or in other words the chance of creating something completely new from scratch is still driving his passion for information technologies, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Recently he was honored again (8th time in a row) for receiving the ‘Microsoft MVP Award’ for Technology leaders, an Oscar-like accolade conferred by Microsoft.
Yes I’m a lucky guy! As a real tech enthusiast I have the great opportunity, to identify but also realize fascinating new technologies for Audi since more than 10 years.
In my current role I’m focused on new immersive technologies, which have the potential to revolutionize the marketing, sales and development process but also the complete customer experience. “Vorsprung durch Technik” by using innovative immersive technologies – that’s my mission now!
As an important first step in that direction, Audi has introduced the “Audi VR experience”. This application is a very powerful VR sales tool, that will use new generation HMDs and is able to visualize the complete product range in VR. The Audi VR experience will be also enriched by additional functionalities and exclusive brand experiences, to emotionalize the sales process and turn it to something unique, to buy an Audi.
And the best thing: Because immersive technologies have a fascinating potential to intensify and optimize sales, development or training processes – this will become only the beginning!
I’m looking for motivated innovative partners, which are willing to pursue that way with us and bring fascinating technologies as VR / AR / MR to their final breakthrough.
Pieter Van Leugenhagen
Pieter Van Leugenhagen is an all-round entrepreneur and marketer with a penchant for immersive experiences. As co-founder and Int. Growth Director at yondr, he spearheads virtual reality marketing in both Europe (Antwerp – Amsterdam – Ibiza) and the US (New York – Los Angeles). Yondr produces high-end 360° videos and virtual reality experiences across the globe, nurturing a growing community of VR creators worldwide.
Pieter is a true immersive marketing evangelist, and a visionary strategist at that. He’s been at the helm of virtual reality entrepreneurship since 2014, successfully venturing beyond the gimmick by pushing boundaries and forging strategic partnerships.
Prior to his VR endeavors, Pieter began his career at MTV and earned his stripes in PR and digital media. Before founding yondr in 2014, he had already built his successful digital agency commefort from scratch. His co-workers describe him as tenacious and empathic, with a great nose for solid business opportunities.
In recent years, he has helped the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Barco, L’Or Espresso, New Balance, Nike, Decathlon and countless others to turn virtual reality into a tangible and valuable business asset.
Pieter spends his his free time enjoying football, music and living the good life.
Manager and Evangelist at Carbon Studio, who’s worked on several VR projects, in which he has been involved in both creative and production aspects of the development. Devoted to developing VR best practices and taking the most of VR technology.
Kristian Costa-Zahn is Head of Creation and Executive Producer of the UFA digital studio “UFA LAB”. UFA is Germany’s leading TV production company and part of Fremantle, RTL Group and Bertelsmann.
Kristian Costa-Zahn works since 2001 on digital film projects and was one of the co-founders of UFA LAB. He worked as a leading creative on the following online video and transmedia projects among others: the interactive crime project “Wer rettet Dina Foxx”, the award-winning motion comic “Ewig Mein”, the urban culture YouTube Original Channel “eNtR berlin”, the food channel “Munchies”, a joint venture with VICE, the webseries “Der Wedding kommt” and currently on the journalistic Facebook channel “Jäger & Sammler” for funk.
On „Dina Foxx – Deadly Contact“ he pioneered in producing fictional 360-videos in 2013. After that he set a focus on VR with projects like the location-based experience “Virtual Testdrive” for smart and K-MB. He is a founding member of VRBB and part of RTL Group’s VR SyCo. Currently he is producing a volumetric film experience for the UFA 100 year anniversary.
His projects won various national and international awards, among others “New York Festivals Gold World Medal“ (2x), “Best Cross-Platform Fiction” und “Best Interactive Project” at Banff World Media Festival, “Best German Series” at Webfest and two “Telly Awards”. His most renowned success so far was winning an “International Digital Emmy” for „Dina Foxx – Deadly Contact“.
Studied Film at the SAE Vienna and VFS Vancouver until 2008. Working as cameraman on feature and documentary films since 2008 .
Worked as DoP on CARROUSEL a 360° feature film for a projection space in 2014. In 2017 worked as DoP on the feature length VR Film BALLAVITA.
Max Salomon is one of the founding partners of Black Dot Films VR – a leading VR & 360 film production company. As the launch content and production partner for National Geographic, over the last 2 years BDF has produced a pipeline of some 30 films for NG’s VR production partnerships with Facebook and HULU and racked up some of the most virally successful VR films across both platforms. Their VR films have been seen by over 150 million viewers.
With a background as seasoned nonfiction television producers and executives – with over 20 national Emmy wins and nominations between them – the team at BDF is now at the forefront of transforming VR from just a “cool new tech” into a rich non-fiction storytelling platform that puts the audience at the heart of larger than life stories they capture. Unlike VR tech companies whose upfront hardware investments define the stories they are able to tell, BDF puts the story and content first … and then finds or custom builds the technology the stories require.
From climbing into the spires of giant sequoia trees with scientists studying the impacts of global warming, to getting inside the head of a woman who walks on the wings of an aerobatic biplane, to the intimate experiences of orphaned baby orangutans who’ve never seen a tree and are learning to climb – BDF goes beyond merely “wowing” the audience and creating “presence”. They’ve pushed at the limits of the medium to create films that deeply engage their audiences in emotional and nuanced narratives with a beginning, middle and an end.
In addition to their award-winning work for National Geographic, BDF is also producing and developing VR content for a variety of other outlets – for major consumer brands, museums and NGO s.
Prior to Black Dot Films, Max piloted National Geographic’s flagship documentary strand, EXPLORER, overseeing over 70 hours of programming. He also created the pilot for NGC’s long-running hit series BORDER WARS and has directed, written and produced high-end “global event” specials for NGC and Discovery.
Sara Lisa Vogl
Creative squirrel, chaos kid & in love with the idea of new worlds, I´m on a mission to explore what the heck VR is.
Especially fascinated by UX & art in VR I´m working on the VR game Lucid Trips, teach VR at Design Factory International Hamburg and guide longtime VR Trips in collaboration with academic researchers as the worlds first VR Shaman. A passionate advocate of sharing & caring I´m an active member of the international and local VR community. After exploring the early days of VR setting up the hamburg based VR Nerds collective I´m now notworking at VR Base Berlin.