The Digital Hollywood Experience
The Digital Hollywood Experience
David Alpert is CEO of Skybound Entertainment, the multiplatform entertainment company founded alongside longtime collaborator and creator of “The Walking Dead” Robert Kirkman. As CEO, David oversees operations and strategic business development for the company. Alpert is also a key contributor to the company’s success and growth in the new/digital media space having overseen development on cross-platform properties including Samsung Milk VR’s “Gone,” the first ever narrative virtual reality series, and YouTube Red’s “Scare PewDiePie.” David is also a prolific television and film producer. Just a few of David’s credits include “The Walking Dead” and its companion series, “Fear The Walking Dead,” the Robert Kirkman–created “Outcast,” “Five Year,” BBC America’s “Dirk Gently,” the comic docu-series “Heroes and Villains: The History of Comic Books” and features including “Air,” starring Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou, the Jessie Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart film “American Ultra,” and the George Lopez film “Spare Parts.” David is an honors graduate of Harvard University and New York University Law School.
Jamie Wong, Creative Director/Executive Producer, "Project Empathy": Jamie is a producer, writer and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Vayable.com, a digital platform for unique experiences. Jamie was a producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where she helped the show win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Series two years in a row and an institutional Peabody Award. She also researched and produced for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, PBS Frontline's The Persuaders, American Experience's Kinsey, ABC News and Sundance Channel digital.. Jamie began her career working in civil rights litigation and policy as paralegal at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF). She holds a Master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.
Jen Dennis is Executive Producer of Branded Content and VR at RSA Films. Since joining the industry leading commercial production company in 2014, Jen has led groundbreaking VR projects such as The Martian VR Experience, which won a Cannes Digital Craft Silver Lion and an AICP honor in VR. It’s based on Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed hit film The Martian, which was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Motion Picture of the Year. 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. Jen also executive produced Nike’s first-ever YouTube series, the viral blockbuster “Margot vs Lily,” via Wieden + Kennedy. Winner of a Cannes Gold Entertainment Lion, 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 Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetter (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, AICP and the One Show awards. In addition to her long relationship with Wieden + Kennedy, 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, brokering strategic partnerships with celebrities and brands, and developing 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.
Aruna Inversin, VR Supervisor, Digital Domain: Aruna Inversin has been with Digital Domain for 9 years, and has been working in the visual effects industry for the past 18+ years. Working all over world from Northern California, British Columbia, Australia and back to Los Angeles, his experience and expertise has contributed to his many accolades, including 2 Emmy nominations for past projects. Most currently he has been supervising cinematic storytelling experiences through virtual reality on multiple formats. Using his extensive skill set and years of experience in the visual effects world he is able venture out into the evolving world of virtual reality. Recent projects include the VR Bjork Stonemilker experience, which debuted at the MOMA in NY, and NIKE’s Neymar Jr. Experience where ‘you’ can score a goal as Neymar Jr. in a virtual world. A revolution is coming, and Aruna is leading the way!
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.
Benjamin Arfmann is a director specializing in emerging mediums. He recently received his MFA from UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. His thesis film, Random Stop, premiered at SxSW, was a Vimeo Staff Pick, and was nominated for a BAFTA Student Award. His all-POV half-hour pilot, Dead or Alive: Stranded in the Alaskan Wilderness, premiered on the HistoryChannel in the Fall of 2015. Halcyon, a first-of-its-kind TV/VR hybrid, will be released by SyFy in over 80 territories this Fall for streaming and download. His work has been written up by Fast Company, IndieWire, American Cinematographer, and HuffPo, among others. He teaches film directing at UCLA, and in his spare time he enjoys backpacking trips, comic books, and sleep.
Seth Shapiro, Governor, Interactive Media, The Television Academy: Two-time Emmy® Award winner Seth Shapiro is a leading advisor in business innovation, media and technology worldwide. He has worked with clients including The Walt Disney Company, Comcast, DIRECTV, Intel, IPG, NBC, Showtime, RTL, Telstra, Universal, Slamdance Studios, Goldman Sachs, government bodies, NGOs and a wide range of new ventures. Shapiro is an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is a Governor of the Television Academy, and sits on its Executive Committee. Shapiro has served as a frequent Expert Witness, including before the FCC, and has been quoted in publications including The Economist, The New York Times. The LA Times, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg, The Associated Press, PBS and The Daily Mail UK. As Head of Production at DIRECTV Advanced Services, he launched over 25 services, including TiVo by DIRECTV, the world’s first major DVR platform. His book “Television: Innovation, Disruption, and the World’s Most Powerful Medium” will be released in June of 2016. Shapiro sits on the Annenberg Research Council and the Producer Guild's New Media Council. He is a Magna cum Laude graduate of New York University and was Adelbert Alumni Scholar at Case Western Reserve University.
Jamie Wong, Creative Director/Executive Producer, "Project Empathy"
Jen Dennis, EP of Branded Content and VR, RSA Films, (Ridley Scott & Associates Films)
Benjamin Arfmann, Director, Secret Location for “Halcyon”
Elijah Allan-Blitz, Director, VR Experiences
Christina Heller, CEO and Co-Founder, VR Playhouse
Aruna Inversin, VR Supervisor, Digital Domain
David Alpert, CEO, Skybound Entertainment,
Seth Shapiro, Governor, Interactive Media, The Television Academy
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
Evening Event - Open to All Attendees
6:15 PM – 8:00 PM, Ahmanson Hall
Co-Sponsored by the TV Academy, Interactive Peer Group
Keynote Event and Evening Host
Seth Shapiro, Governor, Interactive Media, The Television Academy
A Celebration of the "Best of" in Virtual - Augmented - Immersive Realities
The Evening Honorees
1. “The Martian VR Experience”, 20th Century Fox and RSA Films, Jen Dennis, EP of Branded Content and VR, RSA Films, (Ridley Scott & Associates Films)
2. Samsung’s GONE VR experience, David Alpert, CEO, Skybound Entertainment; Executive Producer, The Walking Dead franchise, Oucast
3. “Project Empathy"” Jamie Wong, Creative Director/Executive Producer, co-creator, Van Jones, Political Analyst, CNN
4. “Incorporated” - Executive Producers by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Aruna Inversin, VR Supervisor, Digital Domain, SyFy Networks
5. “Halcyon” VR/TV Hybrid for Syfy Network and Oculus, Benjamin Arfmann, Director, Secret Location for “Halcyon”
6. Ken Burns and TIME Present “Defying the Nazis VR” for PBS, Producer, Christina Heller, CEO & Co-founder, VR Playhouse; Director, Elijah Allan-Blitz
Additional Honorees to be Announced