State of the Arts 2015

Speakers

Nonny de la PeñaNonny de la Peña (Speaker)

Nonny de la Peña was selected by Wired Magazine as a #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change and has been called “The Godmother of Virtual Reality” by Engadget and The Guardian. Additionally, Fast Company named her “One of the People Who Made the World More Creative.” for her pioneering work in immersive storytelling. As CEO of Emblematic Group, she use game engine technologies to tell important stories—both fictional and news-based—that create intense, empathic engagement on the part of viewers. Recently named a Yale Poynter Media Fellow, she is a former correspondent for Newsweek, de la Peña has more than 20 years of award-winning experience in print, film and TV. Her virtual reality work has been featured by the BBC, Mashable, Vice, Wired and many others.  Showcases around the globe include the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals, The World Economic Forum in Davos, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and Games For Change.

“Humans have long been able to immerse themselves in other worlds, through oral story or novels, painting, photographs, television, cinema and pure imagination. The mind does not travel alone — the body most certainly comes along for the ride.”

– Nonny de la Peña, Co-Founder of Emblematic Group

 

Michael Licht (Speaker)

Michael Licht, Emblematic Group President, is a 15- year video game design and production veteran with experience developing titles for  Lucas Arts, Electronic Arts, Disney, and Fuzzy Door. He has shipped more than 10 AAA game titles over the course of his career, and also was an adjunct professor of video game design at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He began working on virtual reality projects with Nonny in 2013. Michael holds a BS in Architecture from Florida A&M University and an MS in Architecture from Virginia Tech.

Ed LantzEd Lantz (Moderator)

Ed Lantz is an entertainment technology engineer, entrepreneur, immersive experience designer and innovator in giant-screen digital cinema. He left aerospace engineering in 1990 to transform old-style planetariums into 360-degree immersive visualization environments, designing over a dozen dome theaters worldwide while at Spitz, Inc. including the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, National Space Center in Leicester, UK, the Glasgow Science Center in Glasgow, Scotland and Papalote Museo del Nino in Mexico City.  He also led the product development of the SciDome digital planetarium which has sold over 100 units worldwide.

Ed co-founded Vortex Immersion Media in 2007 to bring immersive and interactive experiences into mainstream arts and entertainment markets. Vortex produces immersive and interactive media experiences for themed entertainment, VR Cinemas and numerous Fortune 500 companies including Condé Nast, EMC2, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Nestle, NFL, Nike, Nokia, Sprint and Turner Broadcast. Vortex also operates the Vortex Dome, the first commercial immersive media production studio and events venue located in downtown Los Angeles. The Vortex Dome hosts a wide range of arts and entertainment co-productions including live stage shows (Pasión, BollyDoll), fine arts performances (Blue Apple ballet), live concerts (Ceremony with James Hood) in addition to immersive arts educational activities (classes for CalArts, USC and Relativity University).

Ed has published numerous articles in journals and trade publications on immersive media and virtual reality, is a public speaker on panels and keynote talks including at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is a regular contributor to ACM/SIGGRAPH. Ed’s personal focus is on the unique cognitive properties of next-generation multisensory “sentient” environments, the merging of virtual and real storytelling worlds, and the development of fulldome theaters as next-generation entertainment and performance venues. Ed holds two U.S. patents on immersive theater technologies, was awarded a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with minor in Quantum Physics and Electromagnetics from Tennessee Tech University, and is a founder of the trade association IMERSA. He co-authored DIGSS 1.1 (Digital Immersive Giant Screen Specifications) in cooperation with the Giant Screen Cinema Association, is a member of ACM/SIGGRAPH and IEEE, co-chaired the VR Village at SIGGRAPH 2015, and chairs the Boards of nonprofit organizations c3: Center for Conscious Creativity and Create Now.