The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM - The VR - AR - Immersive Track

Session I: The Guerin A, in Herscher Hall, Live Webcast

The Power of VR-AR: A New Language of Artistry - A Unique Moment of Commercial Possibility and Marketplace

Tanna Frederick, Producer/actor, Defrost (VR Narrative Film)

Jen Dennis, Head of VR, RSA Films

Peter Oberdorfer, President, Tactic

Jubin Dave, Corporate Strategy, Blackthorn Media

W. Joe DeMiero, Digital Management Director, Team One and President, TiltShift

Cathy Twigg, Co-Founder/Chief Content and Production Officer, The Rogue Initiative

Johannes Saam, Senior Creative Developer, Framestore

Anna Marie Piersimoni, Instructor, Department of Cinema and Television Arts, California State University, Northridge, Moderator


Tanna Frederick is a producer, director, actress, and activist. In her decade plus collaboration with indie film icon Henry Jaglom, she has starred in and helped produce six of his feature films, including the recently released, The “M” Word, the highly anticipated, Ovation, and three of his plays, including Train to Zakopane, which just completed a  run at the Edgemar Theatre in Santa Monica. Frederick — who got her start performing at the Steben’s Children’s Theatre

and then the University of Iowa — is also a mainstay of the Los Angeles theatre community.  She has starred in successful productions of A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia, Richard Nash’s The Rainmaker — which was a Los Angeles Times Critic’s Pick — and Claire Chafee’s Why Why Have a Body, which also marked Frederick’s directing debut. She and Jaglom also collaborated on the stage adaptation of his film, Always… But Not Forever and the yearlong run of his original play Just 45 from Broadway, which was later adapted to the 2012 film of the same name. An Iowan by birth and a Californian by choice, actress Frederick is passionate about both of her home states. She is also the cofounder of the Iowa Independent Film Festival and of Project Cornlight, an initiative aimed at bringing film productions to the Hawkeye State and through which she produced her upcoming film Garner, Iowa. Project Cornlight currently has two other films are currently in development. Frederick has been hard at work producing the series, DEFROST in collaboration with Randal Kleiser, a revolutionary virtual reality experience using the Oculus Rift. She has a great skill for seeking out talented and dedicated individuals for her team. In California, Frederick fell in love with surfing and in 2007, she founded Project Save Our Surf, which is dedicated to ocean conservation, the improved availability of freshwater to those in need and exposing a wide range of people to the joys of the ocean through surfing. Since 2012, Project Save Our Surf Camp has reached thousands of underserved children and teens in Southern California and Mexico, educating them on environmental issues and giving them hands-on instruction in yoga and surfing. She has been instrumental in coordinating fundraising events, camps, beach clean-ups, and carrying out the mission of Project Save Our Surf. For her work on an off stage, Frederick has received numerous awards, including Broadway World Best Actress Award for Rainmaker, Best Actress awards from the Wild Rose Film Festival, Worldfest Houston, the Fargo Film Festival and the Montana Independent Film Festival. She has been named “One to Watch” by MethodFest and received the CineCause Award, the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Alumni Award, Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s Maverick Award.


Jen Dennis is Head of RSA VR, RSA Films’ immersive media division. With RSA Films’ co-founder Ridley Scott, Jen recently executive produced ALIEN: COVENANT In Utero for Scott’s new sci-fi blockbuster, Alien: Covenant. In Utero, directed by David Karlak, is a 360-degree virtual reality journey into a living  nightmare that offers a terrifyingly close and personal encounter as an alien Neomorph at the time of its birth. This comes on the heels of the groundbreaking The Martian VR Experience, which Jen also executive produced with Scott. Winner of a Cannes Silver Lion and an AICP honor in VR, The Martian VR Experience is an unprecedented 25-minute immersive entertainment experience directed by Robert Stromberg that enables viewers to navigate the 360-degree landscape of Mars in the very capable spacesuit of stranded astronaut Mark Watney. Since joining RSA in 2014, Jen has executive produced highly praised branded content, as well—Nike’s first-ever scripted YouTube series, the viral blockbuster “Margot vs Lily,” via Wieden + Kennedy. Winner of a Cannes Gold Lion and a Webby, the eight-episode original series directed by Tricia Brock follows the adventures of two sisters who challenge each other to go beyond their comfort zones with some very creative New Year’s resolutions. Jen brings over 20 years global production experience to RSA. She began her career in her native New York as an agency producer at MVBMS (now RSCG) before moving to California. There she embarked upon a prolific 15-year freelance career that included many years in a fixed role with Wieden + Kennedy, producing all the Asia-Pac Nike business and eventually Nike Global work through the Portland office. The work took her around the world collaborating closely with celebrated athletes and icons such as LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rick Ross, Samuel L. Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Spike Lee and many others. And many of those commercials garnered the industry’s top honors at Cannes, D&AD, AICP and the One Show. In addition to her long relationship with W + K, Jen worked at other top shops such as Crispin Porter & Bogusky, 72andSunny, 180 and GSD&M, as well as on the production side as a line producer and executive producer. In 2013, Jen was tapped to partner with the ECD of Samsung’s global business to open a boutique division of Leo Burnett in Los Angeles where she acted as SVP, creative content production. In that role she culled together her expertise in traditional advertising to broker strategic partnerships with celebrities and brands and develop innovative campaigns utilizing emerging technologies. Jen lives in West Hollywood and when she’s not knee deep in projects as a creative producer, she spends her time walking Georgie Girl, her rescue dog, in Runyon Canyon.


Johannes Saam, Senior Creative Developer, Framestore: Senior Creative Developer, Johannes Saam had an early interest in 3D and began by teaching himself at home. While in studying at SAE Institute, Johannes began his career interning at Scanline VFX in Munich. Johannes continued his education at Bournemouth University where he earned his Masters in Computer Animation. Following his time at Scanline, Johannes moved to Rising Sun Pictures where he continued to work on a variety of feature films. His film credits include: Legend of the Guardians, Mad Max 4, Thor, Captain America - The First Avenger, Prometheus, 300 Rise of an Empire, Exodus: God and Kings. Among many achievements and honors, Johannes has a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his development, prototyping and promotion of technologies and workflows for Deep Compositing, six Siggraph showcases and three animago AWARDs. Since joining Framestore as Senior Creative Developer Johannes has continued to make advancements in the worlds of AR/VR, data point cloud workflows and procedural generation. He was lead developer on Facebook’s new x24 Surround 360 camera and the VR experiences LUMEN with Time Inc. and SAAM VR with Intel and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He’s also been leading the original Framestore experience CORAL, the first-ever real-time fractal explorer in VR. Johannes is constantly looking for opportunities to improve efficiency, better workflow and create solutions to creative problems.


Cathy Twigg began her career at MTV Films where she was responsible for discovering new talent and adding projects to the development slate. Over her industry tenure, Twigg has served at Dreamworks Television Animation, Sony Pictures Television, Bandeira Entertainment and Dreamworks Animation working on several live-action television series and notable projects including Toonsylvania, Invasion America, KUNG FU PANDA, MONSTERS VS ALIENS, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, SHREK THE HALLS, MADAGASCAR, MADAGASCAR 2, PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR, TIGERLAND, SLAP HER, SHE’S FRENCH and THE LOVE LETTER. Using her well-rounded film, animation, television and worldwide product distribution experience, she has produced, directed and written several short films and web series and is currently developing the company’s IP for VR, interactive, feature and television projects.


Peter Oberdorfer, President, Tactic: Peter is a 20 year veteran in digital entertainment and CGI. Peter has co-founded several well regarded digital post-production firms, including the interactive/UX firm Float Hybrid Entertainment, the Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning visual effects studio Giant Killer Robots, as well as Hollywood's original previsualization firm, Pixel Liberation Front. With Tactic, Peter has joined forces with several other seasoned digital artists, combining his past experience in as a visual effects artist and supervisor with interactive visualization and storytelling through involvement in interactive projects, interactive experiences and products centered around new digital formats: virtual Reality (both stereoscopic video capture and 3d CGI), gesture tech, mobile apps, augmented reality, visual effects, as well as real-time 3d environments and experiences made with game and visualization engines.


Jubin Dave, Corporate Strategy, Blackthorn Media: Jubin began his career in digital and visual effects at Rhythm & Hues Studios, before moving over to Walt Disney Animation Studios. Along the way he has garnered extensive experience working as a digital FX supervisor, lighting supervisor and a senior software engineer. At Blackthorn, he has concentrated on developing growth models and fostering relationships with industry stakeholders, VCs, and technology partners. His early work focused on core rendering technology implementations, followed by a decade long run as a lighting artist and then various supervisory roles. He has broad expertise on complex projects supervising large, multi-disciplinary teams of artists, technologists, and production staff spread over multiple locations. He was instrumental in setting up Rhythm's first overseas lighting team that set the stage for all remote work to follow. Jubin has worked on multiple films that have garnered both accolades and box office success including: “The Hunger Games,” “The Cabin in the Woods,” “Red Riding Hood,” “Night at the Museum,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Golden Compass,” “Zootopia,” “Cirque du Freak,” the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” franchise, “Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters,” “Garfield,” “Mystery Men,” and “Elektra.” His creative talents aren’t limited to those created in a computer, once in middle school he won 1st prize in a science fair for a solar powered cooler made of cardboard, aluminum foil and glass. Jubin got his undergrad degree from the University of Bombay and attended grad school at the University of New Hampshire.


W. Joe DeMiero, Digital Management Director, Team One and President, TiltShift: By day, Joe is head of digital at Team One (Saatchi & Saatchi/Publicis Groupe’s premium, luxury, and aspirational brand agency), where he leads a talented, multi-disciplinary team of strategists, creatives, and technologists, and works with clients like Lexus, The Ritz-Carlton, and Indian Motorcycle. By night, Joe is head of TiltShift, Publicis Groupe’s new VR/immersive reality consultancy and production studio. Before joining Team One, Joe opened and led the Razorfish Los Angeles office, where he managed the Honda and Acura digital agency of record account. He led the T-Mobile digital account, during its industry-revolutionizing “Un-carrier” brand re-launch, and has worked with companies like Visa, Amazon, and Qualcomm. Joe is recognized for implementing transformative ideas in complex organizations; one example is a global enterprise technology strategy that he led for Procter & Gamble, which Apple featured in a case study in their marketing. In addition to helping some of the world’s leading brands develop and implement their digital strategies, Joe has a passion for the arts. He founded the world’s largest non-profit educational jazz festival in honor of his father, Frank. And during his time at Seattle-based digital agency POP, his team developed and managed the websites, mobile apps, e-commerce, and email programs for organizations like Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Opera House, and the Metropolitan Opera. Joe also led the development of a mobile ticketing platform, a highly-scalable ticketing platform, and in partnership with his long-time hero Frank Gehry, he led the design of digital installations for New York City’s new Signature Theatre. Don’t tell anyone, but before working for agencies, Joe sang backup vocals for artists like the Steve Miller Band, Bonnie Raitt, and Kurt Elling.


Anna Marie Piersimoni specializes in the creation and marketing of media content across a broad range of digital platforms. She is currently instructor of the course, New Directions in Electronic (Digital) Media at California State University, Northridge. Previously, as Director of Internet Communications for the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles, she managed institutional web sites and blogs, as well as e-news and online marketing campaigns. At AFI, she was a founding Director of AFI’s Digital Content Lab, an acclaimed R&D program for the production of interactive digital media and also managed development of the Institute’s K-12 Screen Education program. A former producer with Los Angeles public television station, KCET, she supervised web content development and social media for a companion website to the Emmy award-winning KCETLink program, “Your Turn to Care” and for a PBS series on America's food rebels, "Food Forward," winner of a James Beard media award. A regular speaker at industry events, such as Digital Hollywood, she began her career as a film and video artist and later, as a writer/producer of video content and on-air promotions, working for ABC Entertainment, E! Entertainment, and KCET Television, among others. She holds a BFA from the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford in Connecticut and is a candidate for a Master’s degree in Media Psychology through Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA.