Immersive Stories: We Are Go

By ADIFF Immersive Stories Curator, Eoghan Cunneen 

And we’re off. Last week we released our Early bird tickets for Immersive Stories at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival and I wanted to take this opportunity to further introduce you the speakers in our initial line up.

First up, Screen Training Ireland and ADIFF’s Immersive Content Creation Hackathon winnersNiamh Doyle, Aoife Herrity of Pink Kong Studios together with writer Denis James Ryan, will give us a pitch-to-ship account of their inaugural virtual reality production, Aurora. This promises to be a fascinating and candid account of how the team went from their initial public pitch to delivering their touching immersive experience. If you are a creator or studio considering developing your first virtual reality experience, this isn’t to be missed.

In August, Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB and Utah based The VOID announced their collaboration on a Star Wars themed interactive narrative that would be released in December and January. Just this past week, we saw the first reviews released for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, and it does not disappoint.

As such, on our fictional story-worlds stream, we’re excited to announce that Curtis Hickman, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of “hyper-reality” entertainment startup The Void, will be at Immersive Stories to showcase their idea of what the future of location based entertainment looks like. The Void fuses virtual reality with multi-sensory stimulus in their platform to heighten the participants’ experience allowing them to literally touch and feel their virtual surroundings. I can’t wait for people to learn about the genius of Curtis’ infinite hallway concept.

Lucasfilm Ltd’s creative executive and content strategist, Diana Williams, will discuss her role in developing canonical and coherent stories in the Star Wars franchise across virtual reality and games and also her experience developing Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. What’s fascinating about immersive entertainment is the task of making the participant feel like they have a purpose and a unique role in the experience and they can make their own little bit of history in the fictional world.

Diana’s format will be a fireside conversation, and who better to host that conversation than Oculus’ Head of Experiences, Colum Slevin. Colum was Vice President and Head of Operations at Lucasfilm Ltd and studio general manager at interactive mobile storytellers Telltale Games before joining Oculus VR. Colum’s experience across film, television, mobile and virtual reality make him the perfect commentator on the current state of immersive entertainment and its ultimate promise.

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Rewind’s co-founder and CEO Solomon Rogers and I were introduced a couple of years ago before he spoke at the Irish VFX + Animation Summit. At that stage Rewind was only two years old yet still had accomplished an impressive body of work. In the past year, Rewind’s work has been on the receiving end of a vast quantity of awards with Home — VR Spacewalk, a collaboration with the BBC, picking up seven awards including a Cannes Lion and a Jury Award at The Future of Storytelling.

Further to his work at Rewind, Sol is the Chairman at Immerse UK and a BAFTA VR Advisory Group Executive. I consider Sol as one of immersive entertainments great spokespeople and champions. He enthralled the audience in Dublin in 2015 and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say in 2018.

RTÉ’s head of RTE.ie Neil Leyden will speak to us about our national broadcaster’s strategies in the space of immersive entertainment and 360 video. Neil’s career spans not only digital and broadcast, Neil has also been a scriptwriter for the BBC, Jam Media and Brown Bag Films making him uniquely positioned to discuss digital strategy that emphasizes exceptional storytelling.

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This is just our initial lineup. We’ll soon announce more speakers and also give you more information as to what exhibits will be joining Pink Kong’s Aurora at Immersive Stories at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2018. Tickets are on sale now with early bird tickets for industry professionals at €80 and early bird tickets for students at €40, so and grab them before we bump the prices in December. I think it’s a pretty nice Christmas gift.