The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

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

Session I: Herscher Hall, Guerin A, Live Webcast from this Room

The VR-AR-Immersive - Innovators & Disruptors - Entertainment, Technology & Brand Vision

Christina Heller, CEO & Co-founder, VR Playhouse

Peter Akemann, President, Skydance Interactive

Peter Martin, founder & CEO, V.A.L.I.S Studios

Patrick Meegan, Creative Director, Jaunt Studios

David Levitt, CEO and President, Pantomime Corporation

Jeff Nicholas, Director of VR Creative + Production, Live Nation Studios

Kymber Lim, CCO + Head of Studio, Holor

Carolyn Giardina, Tech Editor, The Hollywood Reporter, Moderator


Christina Heller is the CEO and Co-Founder of VR Playhouse, a creative studio and full service virtual reality production company.  VRP's interactive 360/CGI narrative, "The Surrogate," was nominated for the Innovation Award at SXSW 2016, and was one of 15 projects produced by the company in 2015. She is on the board of Directors for SH//FT, a VR non-profit devoted to promoting diversity in virtual reality. Christina started at 88.9FM Boston, producing and hosting a weekly politics show which won Associated Press Awards for the two

years under her leadership. She moved to television by producing, shooting, and hosting "My Voice"​, another politics program broadcast into 9 million homes. She covered the 2008 presidential election for both MyTV New England and Al Gore's Current TV, and was featured on Good Morning America as a commentator on the Millennial impact on politics. She directed and produced two feature documentaries, Libertopia and Reversing the Mississippi. Libertopia was featured on FOX Business, Huffington Post, and NHPR. Reversing The Mississippi premiered PBS's "America Reframed" in April 2016. VR Playhouse was founded in July 2014.


Peter Akemann, President of Skydance Interactive: As President of Skydance Interactive, a dedicated subsidiary of Skydance Media that creates and publishes original virtual reality experiences and video games, Peter Akemann oversees and executes the strategic vision for the group. Skydance Interactive was formed in April of 2016 when Skydance acquired leading game developer The Workshop Entertainment, of which Akemann was President and Co-Founder. Akemann launched The Workshop in 2008 alongside the other original members of Treyarch, which sold to Activision in 2001 and now leads the Call of Duty franchise. He co-founded Treyarch in 1995, where he oversaw the development of the company’s cross-platform graphics engine. Akemann has shipped over 20 titles across first, second and next-generation platforms and built the Treyarch team from three to over 200 employees. He has over 20 years of experience in gaming and his experience span a wide breadth of acclaimed franchise games, including The Evil Within, Armored Warfare, Free Realms, Medal of Honor, Spiderman, Spiderman II and Die By The Sword, among others. He holds a PhD from University of California Berkeley and BA in mathematics from the University of California San Diego.


Peter Martin, Head of Studio, V.A.L.I.S.: Peter Martin is an Academy Award nominated Producer. He is a Creative Futurist and a recognized thought leader in next generation entertainment. In 2000 Peter was hired by Lord David Puttnam as the Creative Director of CREATEC, where he pioneered new virtual technologies, making a CGI animated film starring a virtual Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, and a virtual fashion show with Nick Knight, Peter Saville and Alexander McQueen for ShowStudio. Peter became Creative Director at Ealing Film Studios in 2001. He formed the cross-platform content company Zeppotron ("Black Mirror') which was sold to Endemol. Set up the film division of Done & Dusted and Produced the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Co-created and wrote the TV show ‘Phoo Action’ with Jamie Hewlett (‘Tank Girl’, ‘Gorillaz’), for the BBC, winning a BAFTA for best drama in 2009. In 2010 Peter created and Produced 'Waste Land', the feature length documentary which won over 35 Festival awards including Sundance, Berlin, and a nomination for Best Documentary at the 2011 Academy Awards. 2014 he creatively directed the world’s first holographic duet between M.I.A. and Janelle Monae for the launch of the new Audi A3, where both artists simultaneously appeared in New York and Los Angeles in a specially constructed immersive environment.  Peter then joined SFX entertainment as Head of SFX Studios, where he specialized in Virtual, Experiential and Immersive content. Since 2015 Peter has specialized in VR, Directing a number of high-profile projects, including Run the Jewels "Crown" music video with WEVR, released on Transport and NYTVR, Ray Lamontagne's "Hey, No Pressure" for Jaunt VR, and the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue which was released by Time Inc on a bespoke Swim VR app sponsored by Lexus. Most recently Peter created his first room scale VR project virtualizing the museum experience for the Smithsonian, with Intel, Framestore, XRez and 8i.


Patrick Meegan, Creative Director, Jaunt Studios: Patrick Meegan built his career as a filmmaker and game designer with a passion for telling compelling virtual reality stories that resonate with the world.  As a collaborator with researchers from Microsoft Research, Intel Labs, and USC’s World Building Media Lab on interactive cinema, augmented and virtual reality projects, Patrick is a translator between creative and engineering teams making experiences that connect with consumers. For the past two years Patrick has been producing cinematic virtual reality content serving as Jaunt Studios’ Creative Director. His vision creates consistency across the Jaunt brand as well as all of their projects.  Beyond the technical challenges of 3D-spherical video production, Patrick works passionately to discover and define the grammar and mechanics of virtual reality storytelling and expression. Creating works for influential brands including the NFL, Disney, FX, and ESPN his notable films have screened at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals, the World Economic Forum, and MoMA.  He has also been the creative director on a number of virtual reality experiences for Jaunt including the Emmy® nominated experience Collisions, Under the Canopy produced in the Amazon rainforest, and Project Badass in collaboration with the hit FX series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Patrick lives in Santa Monica and is an MFA graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.


Jeff Nicholas, Director of VR Creative & Production, Live Nation Studios: Jeff Nicholas is an award winning Creative Producer and Director with a passion for creating compelling and engaging VR content. Since the new cycle of high-end VR and 360° content creation emerged in 2014, Jeff’s focus has been primarily on creating these experiences and pushing the boundaries of cinematic VR/360° production through original and branded content experiences. In addition to directing and executive producing the ON STAGE series for Hulu and Live Nation, Jeff is overseeing the development and execution of all of Live Nation’s live and episodic VR content initiatives. Prior to his work with Live Nation, he has been at the helm of a variety of VR experiences with partners and collaborators such as CBS, WEVR, Oculus, Ford, Mike Shinoda, Budweiser, Kenan Thompson, Hoonigan Racing, RAIN Agency, A World At School, and many others. Outside of VR content creation, Jeff is most well-known for his work producing, directing and collaborating on a wide array of creative experiences - from music videos, commercials and original content to design, digital and experiential campaigns - for top-level agencies, brands, studios, promoters, labels and artists such as Rihanna, Dreamworks, Justin Timberlake, Bud Light Platinum, Shakira, Apple Music, Jason Mraz, Beats By Dr Dre, Linkin Park, AKQA, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sony, Foo Fighters, Nixon Watches, Beastie Boys, and many more.


Kymber Lim, CCO + Head of Studio, Holor: As an award-winning VFX producer and consultant, Kymber Lim has been developing relationships with content creators and brands in entertainment for the past two decades. Along with having run two successful visual effects facilities at Psyop and Digital Domain as an expert in 70mm stereoscopic IMAX 3D, Lim is also an accomplished consultant to the Korean media community and served as lead VFX consultant on renowned director Bong Joon-ho’s The Host. She co-founded Holor (pka Cryworks) in 2015, where she contributes expertise in business development, Hollywood/Asia relations and VR production as CCO and Head of Studio. In addition to creating content for global brands, Holor is helping to shape the way people interact and share 360/VR experiences. Recently, Holor Studios gained unprecedented behind-the-scenes access on the set of Transformers 5 with director Michael Bay to capture world-first VR footage.


Dr. David Levitt is the CEO and president of Pantomime Corporation, makers of the WovenAR™ Developer Kit and the Pantomime Platform™ for interactive virtual and augmented reality. Dr. Levitt’s first startup was acquired by VPL Research, the firm that invented and coined the term Virtual Reality, where he helped pioneer multi-user VR.  Pantomime has launched some of the earliest interactive networked AR and VR apps, has been granted a patent for using mobile devices to reach realistically into virtual world, and won the Launch Silicon Valley Tech Challenge World Cup in the Digital Media / Mobile category. Levitt was previously the founder and CEO of Hip Software and ConnectedMedia. ConnectedMedia’s ConnectedTV app, one of the first “touch” apps designed to tap and stroke with your fingers, turned a Palm PDA into a web powered, personalized TV guide and remote control. Dr. Levitt has been a research scientist and software developer at the MIT Media Lab, Atari, Viacom, Interval Research, and VPL. Dr. Levitt has developed “kits” that let non-programmers create software by connecting on-screen parts, and artificial intelligence software that creates musical arrangements. He received doctoral and master’s degrees from MIT, and his B.S. from Yale.


Carolyn Giardina, Tech Editor, The Hollywood Reporter: Journalist and author Carolyn Giardina is tech editor at The Hollywood Reporter and writes its Behind the Screen blog. Her work as an editor, reporter or columnist has also appeared in titles such as CinemaEditor, SHOOT, TVBEurope and SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. She’s co-author of Exploring 3D: The New Grammar of Stereoscopic Filmmaking (Focal Press, 2012). In 2015, Carolyn was presented American Cinema Editors’ Robert Wise Award, which recognizes a journalist for contributions to film editing. She was the 2011 recipient of the International Cinematographers Guild’s Technicolor William A. Fraker Award for journalistic contributions to cinematography.