State of the Arts 2013



KA_headshotKarim Ahmad, Senior Digital Content Strategist, ITVS
Karim Ahmad is the Senior Digital Content Strategist at ITVS, where he oversees digital content funding initiatives, portfolio development, and alignment to company objectives. He is the creator and Series Producer of the acclaimed web series FUTURESTATES, and develops both non-fiction and fiction digital content for ITVS from concept through distribution. Mr. Ahmad is also an independent cross-platform writer and producer, currently developing a portfolio of feature films, comic books and interactive media. He previously served as Feature Development Director at San Francisco production company Momentum Cinema, where he wrote and produced the award-winning narrative feature film Harrison Montgomery, starring Oscar-winner Martin Landau. Mr. Ahmad has served as a panelist/juror for numerous film funders and festivals, worked extensively as an independent story consultant, and received his BA from Pomona College.
American society is in the midst of some of the most profound and fastest-moving change in its relatively short history. We face a paradox of great challenges and great opportunities. In response to this rapidly shifting landscape, the Independent Television Service (ITVS) asked both renowned and emerging filmmakers to make their voices heard – to take the current state of affairs in the United States, and extrapolate them into stories of the nation in the not-so-distant future. The result is FUTURESTATES, a series of groundbreaking digital shorts and interactive media projects. Each episode presents a different filmmaker’s vision of American society projected forward, fusing an exploration of social issues with elements of speculative and science fiction.  We invite the public to join the discussion about what the future holds: Will you let it happen, or will you make it happen? Nothing is inevitable but the future…
Greg Downing, 3D & Computational Photographer, xRez StudioScreen Shot 2013-11-26 at 7.28.41 PM
Greg Downing specializes in image-based 3D technologies and computational photography techniques. His photographic work has been displayed in some of the nations most prestigiousmuseums including the American Museum of Natural History, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Tech Museum. He has worked on the development of  photogrammetry and stitching software at Realviz and in film production as a technical director at Rhythm & Hues and Sony Pictures Imageworks on “Narnia”, “Spiderman 3″ and “I am Legend”. He teaches at Gnomon School for Visual Effects and has published professional training DVDs on  photogrammetry and panoramic stitching. He has presented at professional conferences for both photographers and visual effects artists.
Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 7.26.38 PMEric Hanson, Visual FX Designer, xRez Studio
Eric Hanson is a visual effects designer specializing in the creation of digital environments. Having worked with leading visual effects houses such as Digital Domain, Sony Imageworks, Dream Quest Images, and Walt Disney Feature Animation, his work can be seen in “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Cast Away”, “Mission to Mars”, “Fantasia 2000”, and “The Fifth Element”, among others. He has authored four educational DVDs on digital environment creation for The Gnomon Workshop, as well as having published two books on Maya technique.  He is also an Associate Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, leading their curriculum in visual effects. Eric is a member of the VESIVRPA, PMA,ACM/Siggraph and attended the University of Texas at Austin. He wishes he could sleep more.
Valerie Johnson-Redrow, Producer, Board Delegate PGA New Media CouncilScreen Shot 2013-12-04 at 10.03.21 AM
Valerie Johnson-Redrow is one of the pioneering special venue members of the PGA New Media Council. She was a successful producer in the theme park industry when interactivity invaded the business and carried her along with it.

Her early career focus was animal behavior. She began by writing shows and training animals in theme parks, including Six Flags and the Bronx Zoo. After traveling to Europe to work on film projects, she moved back to California in 1987 to pitch her brand of productions to Hollywood. She’s been there ever since.

Her first traditional production job was with Ralph Andrews at his game show production company. Johnson-Redrow supplemented her on-the-job training with UCLA courses, which led to a production coordinator position for Columbia Pictures. “I have 2 mentors: Producer David Brown taught me volumes about film production. He referred me to Irwin Winkler- who I worked with in Paris and New York on ‘Round Midnight’, for which Dexter Gordon was nominated for an Oscar.”

Shortly after arriving in LA, she took a job at Disney. “I was at Disney when the personal computer took over. I soon heard about Imagineers and how much fun they had. I applied and was hired on the team for the Disney/MGM studios in Florida. They needed interactive media producers that knew about traditional media. I was hired as a Show Producer.”

For her first project there, she developed an interactive show called ‘Superstar Television’. The venue married a live feed of guests on stage being videotaped with playback from a laser disk for the canned part of the show. The live action was composited with the feed. For example, they incorporated guests appearing in ‘I Love Lucy’. Johnson-Redrow had fun at this new career, that’s for sure, even altering existing show footage and shooting new footage for ‘Golden Girls’ for one of the experiences.

Her last film compositing project for Disney was ‘Body Wars’, a simulator ride where the guest was shrunk to participate – similar to the environment in ‘Fantastic Voyage’. For this project, she produced content with ILM.

She left Disney in 1995 to be a media producer for Metreon, where she produced location-based entertainment for Sony Development. “I seem to prefer the science projects. I produced a 3D film with David McCauley about his hugely successful ‘The Way Things Work” combining film, cell animation and CG – 3 screens with 3-D in the middle! I was thrilled to work with Maurice Sendak to re-envision ‘Where The Wild Things Are’. I also produced the pre-show for an interactive game called ‘Quaternia’.”

Johnson-Redrow went back to Disney in 2005 and produced a prototype that used handheld devices at the theme parks.

“Since then, I’ve worked with WETA Digital to produce Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong 360 3D’ experience for Universal Studios. It opened 2 years ago and was my last theme park project. It was supposed to be a redo of the original animatronic attraction, but at Universal’s suggestion, Peter loved the idea of making it an all media experience. He was in agreement that digital media was ahead of animatronics. We created a 3D attraction made entirely from WETA digital media. My favorite experience was smuggling vials of scent to New Zealand for a review with Peter. Jennifer Sauer (the Creative Director) and I met with Peter so that he could make a decision on what the jungle and the dinosaur breath should smell like!”


Ed Lantz, Immersive Experience Designer, CEO Vortex Immersion Media,  Founding Director, IMERSA

Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 11.36.38 AM

Ed Lantz has over 20 years of management and executive level experience in media and entertainment technology, art, science and business. He has demonstrated consistent success in envisioning and leading high-risk technical and entrepreneurial operations with excellent strategic planning, management, marketing, P&L, and negotiation skills.

Ed is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leading authority in large-format digital cinema and immersive experiences and has presented numerous talks on the fulldome and immersive experiences, including a presentation at The Motion Picture Academy addressing “The Future of Cinema.”

Other areas of expertise include cable television, themed entertainment, photonics, virtual reality, events production, 3D animation and special effects for large-format film and video. Mr. Lantz is President & CEO of Harmony Channel (a national cable television network launched on Comcast), operates Visual Bandwidth, Inc., an immersive cinema and fulldome video advisory network, and co-founded Vortex Immersion Media as President and CTO.


0Audri Phillips, Visual Artist/3D Animator, c3: CreateLAB Creative Director

Audri Phillips is a visual poet/3d animator based out of Los Angeles. Starting out as a painter she was quickly drawn to time based art. Always interested in using new tools she has been a pioneer of using computer animation/art in experimental film work including immersive performances. She enjoys creating animations and paintings for single screen, multi screen, domes, immersive environments, dance performances, performance spoken word (VJ Style), stereo projection and print.

Most recently she performed an immersive show of her visuals with the well known composer/musician Steve Roach at a concert in the Vortex dome produced by Vortex Immersion and The Art of Sound. Other recent immersive dome shows include “Migrations” in which she collaborated with composer No’a Winter Lazerus and Blue Apple in which she collaborated with Stefan Wenta, choreographer.

Her work has been shown at such places as; The Young Projects Gallery, The Los Angeles Film Forum at the Egyptian Theater, Imersa Summit,Siggraph Animation Festival, Full Dome Festival, Siggraph Video Review, Not Still Art Film Festival, with the Louise Reichlin Dance company and others. Besides numerous galleries her paintings have been shown in Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” video, The Beastie Boys, “Shadrach”(which she also art directed) and “Whatsupwitu” an Eddie Murphy, Michael Jackson animated video(which she also art directed), and Konchalosky’s “Shy People”.

Audri has worked for over 20 years as an artist/digital artist in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. Besides giving her credits on numerous feature films working in the entertainment industry has given her a knowledge of computer animation/visual effects that she has been able to use to advantage in her visual poetry work. She has worked at such major studios as Disney Feature Animation, Sony Imageworks, DreamWorks Feature Animation, Rhythm and Hues, Digital Domain, and Electronic Arts as well as a number of small design boutiques. Her production experience includes cgi art direction/art direction/design/visual development /storyboards/color and lighting/efx/layout/modeling/compositing.

Currently, as well as her visual poetry work, she writes online content and a blog for Intel. Audri is an Adjunct professor at Woodbury University, a founding member of the Los Angeles Abstract Film Group, a board member of the Iota Center and she is also an exhibiting member of the LA Art Lab. In 2011 Audri became a resident artist of Vortex Immersion Media and the c3: CreateLAB.




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