Check the agenda with the full timetable here
The Challenges of VR Journalism & Storytelling
Head of VR / Visualise
Will McMaster is a Cannes award-winning documentary filmmaker and Head of VR at Visualise. Since joining Visualise, he has directed over 25 VR experiences, and oversaw the creation of dozens more. William became heavily involved in the VR scene in 2012, and began building software and hardware to facilitate 360 video creation and viewing in VR. In 2013, His experimental 360 film, Experience Japan, was the first 360 film available on the Oculus Rift. Since then, William has gone on to direct narrative VR experiences for The Economist, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the BBC, and has worked with brands such as HSBC, Ford, and Samsung.
Immersive Journalism - New tools, new production methods
Executive Director / The Guardian
Francesca Panetta is Executive editor, VR at the Guardian. She leads the Guardian’s virtual reality studio. 6x9: a virtual experience of solitary confinement was the Guardian’s first VR piece and won plaudits from sources as diverse as the Tribeca Film Festival, Robert De Niro and, most recently, The White House. The studio are now working on a slate of piece for release over the next year. Francesca’s work at the Guardian has focused on innovation and storytelling. She has commissioned and directed flagship pieces such as Firestorm, The Shirt on Your Back, the View from the Shard, The First World War.
Series Editor / The Economist & C4
Hugo Ward is currently the Series Editor of Channel 4’s multi-award winning foreign affairs strand ‘Unreported World’. A filmmaker, journalist and storyteller, last year he was Series Director at the newly created and pioneering film arm of The Economist – ‘Economist Films’. During that time he directed a VR film in Osaka, Japan and subsequently produced a panel at Sheffield Doc Fest: VR & Journalism. Hugo started his career as a BBC Trainee and has gone on to produce content and direct documentaries for the BBC, Sky News, Discovery (TLC), Channel five and, most notably, Channel 4 Dispatches and Unreported World.
Head of 360-degree content / RT
Eduard Chizhikov is the Head of RT's 360-degree content. Ed joined RT's team in 2008 and since then has been in charge of producing thousands of stories for the network's flagship global news channel. He has managed both the story-telling and the technical aspects of the news-making process from beginning to end; now he is applying the same skills and entrepreneurship to the revolutionary world of VR.RT was also one of the first channels to broadcast live in 360 on YouTube in April 2016 and launched a dedicated mobile app for optimal viewing of 360—degree videos last winter.
Volumetric VR: a new dimension to the future of storytelling
Director / Producer
Charlotte Mikkelborg first gained recognition as a BBC foreign correspondent but has more recently become known for her work directing social impact documentary and docudrama in both conventional formats, 360 degrees and VR. Charlotte operates under her own company umbrella, Picture This Productions, making films of global social relevance for clients including the United Nations and several of the world's leading NGOs, helping them influence governments, key decision makers and audiences around the globe. Charlotte's films also been broadcast by several of the world's leading broadcasters and have garnered awards at oscar-qualifying film festivals. Charlotte's latest project in development is 'War Child' - exploring the life of a child soldier using volumetric VR to further draw you into their world.
Let's not forget AR - another opportunity for newsrooms
CEO / Empathetic Media
Dan Archer is the founder of Empathetic Media, a multimedia agency that uses graphic journalism, virtual and augmented reality to tell news stories in an immersive new way. His work has been published by the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., American Public Media, Vice magazine, Fusion and the US State Department. Empathetic’s AR app, Arc Stories, was among the first 3D non-fiction sequential storytelling platforms and has published AR stories in conjunction with some leading organisations such as the Washington Post and the Red Cross. He's spoken at MIT Media Lab, Google News Impact Summit, Society of News Design, Magnum Foundation, Media Impact Funders, the Online News Association among others.
Multi-Sensory Experience - is it the future?
Researcher & Storyteller
Sarah is an immersive storyteller, using 360 degree technology and virtual reality to bring together new forms of narrative. Sarah focuses on technological embodiment, understanding an environment and culture through being someone else in a virtual world. Sarah is the co-founder of @VRGirlsUK and an active champion of women in technology. She is listed in the top 100 of global influencers in VR. She spent more than a decade working as a television reporter covering everything from the US elections 2008 to being in Sex and the City, Sarah moved into academia and works at Coventry University, happily spending her days immersed in a virtual world.
Immersive Journalism content for Social Impact
CEO / Unfold Stories
Marisol Grandon is CEO of Unfold Stories, a British startup specializing in digital storytelling for international development and purpose led brands. Marisol spent 10 years in UK government including 8 years at Department for International Development as Head of Creative Content where she pioneered innovative content, immersive films and engaging social media campaigns on global issues. She started her career in journalism and writes about virtual reality for Sight&Sound magazine. Marisol is also the founder of @VRWomen, a social media initiative to rally a generation of inspiring female VR directors.
Mary Matheson is a Producer/Director of charity and NGO films. She cut her teeth reporting on the drug cartels and guerrilla war in Colombia working for National Public Radio (USA) and the Guardian (UK). Since then she has made award-winning films for international charities such as Plan International, Christian Aid and Save the Children. Mamie's Dream is her first VR film, made with VR production specialists Surround Vision. She is now developing other VR films for good.
Sr. Engagement Manager / Greenpeace
Pete works with Greenpeace International’s forest campaign team developing global strategy for public mobilisation and digital innovation projects. His work, both inside and out of Greenpeace, has focussed on the intersection of technology, activism and storytelling, applying this to some of Greenpeace’s most high-profile projects. Pete is currently exploring how Greenpeace can use VR and immersive storytelling to tackle environmental crises such as deforestation, biodiversity loss and climate change.
The future of Immersive Technology and the impact on Journalism
AR/VR Lead / PWC
Jeremy leads PwC's VR/AR proposition, helping clients to understand how virtual reality and augmented reality technologies will affect their industry, the potential of these technologies, and how businesses can take advantage of them.
He believes VR & AR will play a significant role in how we live and work in the future and has given multiple talks on the subject globally from SXSW in Austin to the Battle of Ideas in London in an effort to spread the good word. Having come from a mixed British/Arab heritage, Jeremy was born in London but spent most of his life living in Dubai. He returned to the UK to study mathematics at the University of Southampton and met his Turkish wife while spending a semester abroad at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
He also happens to be a Chartered Accountant (but prefers not to advertise that too loudly!)
We should expect virtual reality to cause a moral panic. What might it be, and what can the fledgling VR industry do to demonstrate its long term value?
Immersive Media Specialist and Producer
Catherine is a BAFTA-winning, immersive media specialist. She has been responsible for a range of high profile digital entertainment products and has worked with major brands including Disney, Siemens and the BBC. Projects have been successful with audiences ranging from young families to history enthusiasts to millennial women. Catherine executive produced the BBC’s first VR talkshow, No Small Talk and produced one of the BBC's first VR documentaries, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, which has toured festivals globally, showed for six weeks at the National Theatre in London and was described by Broadcast Magazine as 'genre-defining'. Before this, Catherine was Head of Marketing and a producer at acclaimed educational app publisher, Touchpress; working on the BAFTA-winning Disney Animated app, with Disney Interactive.
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