The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Thursday, May 25th, 2017

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM,  - The VR-AR Immersive Track

Session II: Herscher Hall, 3rd Floor, 303-304, Live Webcast

VR/AR Production: Advances in Visualization & Experimentation in Cinematic - TV – Ads - Games

David Traub, Co-Founder, Epiphany Film Fund, Moderator

Edward Dawson-Taylor, co-founder, Edge Visual Studios (VFX, Jurassic World & Jungle Book)

Brett Leonard, Virtual Reality Expert/Creator - ‎VIRTUOSITY VR (Director - The Lawnmower Man)

Jacquie Barnbrook, Co-Founder/Executive Jester, VRiety Shows (The Martian VR Experience, Jungle Book, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)

Woody Schultz, Actor, Producer, Writer and President/Partner of Winning Swimmer Productions

Joseph A. Zaki, Founder and CEO, VRTUALITY

Thomas Polson, CEO, 3DPaint/FX


David Traub, Co-Founder, Epiphany Film Fund: David earned a Masters in Education in 1990 from Harvard University, while conducting simultaneous class-work in interactive cinema and AI-based narrative at the MIT Media Lab.  HIs master thesis: design of the world's first virtual reality simulation game modeling family therapy. In 1984 he earned his undergraduate degrees in rhetoric and film with honors from the University of California at Berkeley, concluding with an honor thesis focusing on the use of film and television as "educational propaganda."  His primary focus: the aggregation and delivery of "social and emotional" and other learning-centric applications/content via

feature films, TV, mobile phones, video games, thin clients/PCs and VR/AR.  In the real world, David has 20-years of experience as a digital media-oriented executive producer, entrepreneur, investor, venture catalyst, global business development executive, ind/or board member to over 40 startups/private equity companies. He has co-raised and deployed nearly $30 million dollars in support of these ventures. His most recent feature film as executive producer was JOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher;  with Bronx Bull his next movie to market (co-producer), and multiple others feature films and TV shows in  development.  David has created games, apps and other content as a co-founder,  executive and/or executive producer of digital products across a wide variety of clients such as EMI North America, MCA Records, Philips/Polydor, Microsoft/ MSN, Apple Computer and many others. He is also an author of nearly 50 articles and reports on the evolution of the digital domain for trade publications, professional books and institutional clients; and a speaker who has given nearly 50 forward-looking keynote and other speeches throughout the world for clients such as the EU, the Swedish and Canadian Governments, TV Globo (Brazil), the National Institute of Film in Denmark, Viacom, US West, Mercedes/Siebold, The Broadband Content Development Forum and numerous other economic development agencies and universities.


Joseph Zaki is the Founder and CEO of VRTUALITY, a leading Virtual Reality studio focused on evolving blockbuster visual effects technology into fully immersive VR experiences. VRTUALITY recently launched its newest VR "Platform as a Service" Mirage at VRLA to astounding acclaim. VRTUALITY's Mirage is the only VR multi-player/multi-experience platform of its kind, designed to cut projects' production time and cost by 75%. VRTUALITY has been an early pioneer of VR technology, paving the road with cutting edge solutions for some of the World's biggest brands such as: Verizon, Honda, Riot Games, Universal Music Group & LiveNation. Joseph's award winning trajectory comes from being a Visual Effects veteran with twenty years of Hollywood Blockbuster Visual Effects experience delivering ground-breaking VR and VFX for Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood Studios and AAA game studios. He has worked on over thirty films including the Oscar winning films “Interstellar”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” and “Spider-Man 2”. He has worked with Disney, Lucasfilm, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, Sony Imageworks, Double Negative, MPC, Method Studios, Digital Domain along with numerous commercial and advertising companies. Joseph is a member of the Producers Guild of America, The Academy of TV Arts & Sciences and the Visual Effects Society.


Brett Leonard is an award-winning Filmmaker/Futurist with over 25 years of Hollywood experience as a pioneer in both the development and use of new media technologies. He is widely recognized as a top thought- leader in Virtual Reality since introducing the concept and term to popular culture in his seminal hit film Lawnmower Man - Many pioneers and tech leaders of the emerging VR industry count Lawnmower Man as one of their key inspirations for creating the actual “reality” of this world-changing medium. Brett is a sought-after speaker for the rapidly growing VR/AR industry, giving keynotes at events around the globe as a leading expert on defining interactive storytelling, and on providing an ethical framework for these powerful new mediums - Innovative highlights of Brett’s directing career include pioneering modern 3D filmmaking with T-Rex: Back To The Cretaceous in IMAX 3D (the No.#1 hit 3D movie in history for over ten years) and directing Anthony Hopkins in the 3D IMAX spectacular The Magic Box, creating techniques which led to the innovations of 3D films such as James Cameron’s Avatar; directing Peter Gabriel's Kiss That Frog, the first HD all CGI music video/ride film that toured the world as a wildly popular theme park attraction, and won Brett an MTV Music Video Award; having a keen eye for talent both in front of and behind the camera, giving Russell Crowe his first lead in a Hollywood studio film,Virtuosity starring Denzel Washington (a film that further defined Virtual Reality for global audiences); starting dozens of creative careers, including production designer Alex McDowell (Minority Report, The Terminal, Watchmen, Man of Steel) who’s first feature was Lawnmower Man, and director of photography Russell Carpenter, who went on to win the Academy Award for Titanic; and producing the music documentaryTake Me To The River, which stars legendary Memphis musicians such as Mavis Staples and Bobby Blue Bland, and won the prestigious “24 Beats Per Second Audience Award” at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival.


Jacquie Barnbrook was the Producer of Sony Pictures Imageworks’ first in-house animated short film “The ChubbChubbs!”, winner of the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film. She wrote, produced and co-directed an award-winning live action short film entitled “Wear Something Nice”. She helped create and produce “Inspire: Chicago Spire” an artistic CG film about the Chicago Spire, intended to be the largest residential building in the western hemisphere and she produced the theatrically released animated short “Live Music” through the power of social networking. She is currently developing several  animated PSA’s for the web about the tragic state of plastic in our ocean. She has 20+ years of experience in film, primarily in visual effects and animation working with A level Producers and Directors both as a Producer and an Actor. Some of her credits include, “Contact”, “Shrek, 2, & 3”, “Haunted Mansion”, “Spider-Man”, “Stuart Little”, “Body of Lies”, “Sex and the City 2”, “A Christmas Carol”, “The Adventures of Tintin”, Ocean’s 13”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Ted”, “The Hunger Games”, “Cosmos: A Space Odyssey”, “The Little Prince”, “Jungle Book”, “Pirates of the Caribbean 5” and most recently she has been consulting with Disney as the bidding producer for “Beauty and the Beast”, “Dumbo”, “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Aladdin”. Her experience in leading edge technology has led her to producing two VR projects for The Virtual Reality Company; “The Bus to Canton” a VR documentary about Jerome Bettis and his rise to the Football Hall of Fame; “The Martian VR Experience” a narrative interactive experience which was the first of its kind as an immersive cinema experience. She is currently in pre-production on several live action and animated VR projects both narrative and interactive with her partners at VRiety Shows! They are also the creators of the VR face mask VRubbers!


Thomas Polson, CEO, 3DPaint/FX: Mr. Polson has over 30 years in the television and film business as a producer, director, digital artist and writer.  He oversees all worldwide strategic planning & business development for 3DPaint/FX and is responsible for technological advancement, development and implementation within the company.  As founder of 3DPaint/FX, Mr. Polson developed the 2D-3D conversion pipeline for 20th Century Fox Home Video and is currently developing premium virtual reality post-production services for clients including VR industry leader, WIthin, Here Be Dragons, Nokia and MilkVR. Mr. Polson was Executive Producer for Post Production on USA Network’s “Mr. Robot” VR Experience, The New York Times Magazine’s “Great Performers” 9-part noir piece and Cannes Lion Award winning "The Displaced", General Electric’s 5-plus-episode series, “The Possible,” Samsung VR’s “The Raid” Prequel to Fox’s “24: Legacy”, and United Nations films “The Ground Beneath Her”, “My Mother’s Wing” and "Clouds Over Sidra".


Edward Dawson-Taylor, co-founder, Edge Visual Studios: Edward is co-founder of Edge Visual Studios. He has been a Lead Software Architect for large multinational clients, and Senior CG artist in movies, TV, commercials and live events, having worked for ILM, Disney and Digital Domain on Blockbusters like Jurassic World and Jungle Book. Co-founder of successful world touring group The Sancho Plan, Edward loves to use cutting edge technology to create engaging and inspiring experiences.


Woody Schultz is an actor, producer, writer and President/Partner of Winning Swimmer Productions. He has been an actor for over 20 years and has worked extensively in the field of performance capture in films such as The Polar Express, Monster House, Beowulf, Avatar and The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn for such acclaimed directors as Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and James Cameron.  He is a member of the International Motion Capture Society and founded and currently serves as the National Chair of the SAG-AFTRA Performance Capture Committee. He has shared his knowledge of performance capture with audiences across the United States and Europe, creating and participating in panels for AFI, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Variety, BAFTA, The FMX Conference on Animation, Games and Transmedia, the SAG Conservatory, The Young Actors' Theatre Camp, and The Actors' Network. He proudly serves his fellow members of SAG-AFTRA as both a national and local board member and through his extensive work on numerous national and local committees. Additionally, Woody has been a producer of the SAG Awards since 2012 and with his company, Winning Swimmer Productions, has produced several short films and documentaries including the multiple award winning comedy DIRTY MARY, coming of age comedy SHABBATT DINNER and the meditation documentary INSIDE OUT which opened the 2008 Elevate Film Festival. During his nearly 25 years of entertainment production he has worked in film, network and cable television, commercials, music videos, and web series, as well as numerous live music and theatrical events for a variety of companies including Comedy Central, CBS, HBO, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., Fox, Turner and Universal.