With nearly 20 years of marketing, event and entertainment experience, Behnam Karbassi has produced and directed innovative projects for top companies like Toyota, Fox and Google. His interest in all things interactive began back in 1997, when he worked with up-and-coming record companies to produce one of the world’s first weekly live DJ webcasting shows. He then led teams at top ad agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, developing interactive and brand teams, as well as spearheading several emerging technology industry firsts for multi-million dollar brands. His love of filmmaking drove him to establish a production company creating award-winning short films and content for major clients, even earning a No. 1 ranking on YouTube. As Vice President of Production at Emmy®-award winning Fourth Wall Studios, he developed ground-breaking projects on new storytelling platforms, overseeing producers and physical production. There he produced original content pieces, mobile apps, websites and digital media. This led to establishing his firm, No Mimes Media, which quickly became one of the leading multi-platform storytelling companies in the world developing original content and partnering with clients such as Cisco, Intel and Hyundai. Behnam has spoken at conferences around the world on producing next generation entertainment. He is an award-winning director of films, music videos, commercials and multi-platform pieces and a proud member of the Producer Guild of America New Media Council. At heart, Behnam has always been a storyteller, regardless of the medium.
Byron Laviolette is the Creative Director of The Mission Business, an experience design company. His work with TMB includes ZED.TO, an 8-month pervasive end-of-the-world trans-media story (winner of the Toshio Innovation Award at the 2012 Toronto Fringe and the 2012 Digi Award for Best in Cross Platform Fiction); Visitations, a interactive ghost story developed in partnership with the Drake Hotel; and ByoLogyc: Shadowfall, an immersive innovation simulation about the future of artificial intelligence and asteroid mining at the NASA Ames Research Centre. TMB works with a range of clients including Autodesk, Microsoft, PWC, Starbucks and OntarioLEARN. He is also the director and dramaturg for the Morro and Jasp clown series with U.N.I.T. Productions. Morro and Jasp have received numerous awards including a 2014 Canadian Comedy Award, a 2012 Dora Mavor Moore Awards as well as over 10 NOW Magazine Awards including Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Production and Outstanding Ensemble. Byron holds a PhD in Interactive Theatre and Pervasive Transmedia Fiction from the Theatre and Performance Studies Department at York University.
Christian Howard is a New York-based writer, creative strategist and game designer. Currently Narrative Design Lead and Director of Partnerships at the interactive studio, Hidden Level Games, he has helped launch their first title, Beta the Game, a digital platformer that teaches players the fundamentals of game design and code simultaneously via a tweet-sized programming language called, CodePop. Christian teaches courses on Interactive Narrative and media theory at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering in the Department of Technology, Culture & Society. He taught creative writing, hip hop, global food cultures and video games at Cornell University, and has guest lectured at Columbia University. Christian consults on narrative design projects for organizations in the US and abroad. A 2014 recipient of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s “Process Space” residency, his work has been exhibited as part of the inaugural DC-based art show, Call + Response, and has been awarded fellowships from the Voices of Our Nations Writing Foundation and Cornell University. Christian holds degrees from Cornell University and the University of Miami.
Heidi Boisvert is a new media artist, creative technologist, experience designer and writer. She founded and serves as the CEO and Creative Director of the futurePerfect lab, a boutique creative agency that works with non-profits to develop imaginative applications of integrated media and emerging technology. Heidi was formerly the Media Director at Breakthrough where she designed, developed and promoted a range of viral, new media and pop culture campaigns that helped raise awareness and instigate policy change on pressing social issues. She created the first 3D social change game, ICED I Can End Deportation, to shift the frame around unfair U.S. immigration policies. Heidi also designed America 2049, an alternative reality game on Facebook about pluralism, which was nominated for Games for Change and Katerva Awards. Most recently, she co-founded, XTH, an open-source creative biowearable start up, and was named a Harvestworks Creativity + Technology = Enterprise Fellow. She received her PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is currently a Media Impact Fellow at the Harmony Institute.
Grant Howitt is a games designer. He is primarily devoted to tabletop roleplaying games, but has also worked extensively in livegames (running them in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Reading, Nottingham, Bristol, Norwich and one time in New Jersey) and done some work in narrative and mechanical design in computer games. He used to be a games journalist (and before that, a chef, but that’s not really as relevant) and he has been writing and making games for the last fifteen years or so.
James Carter is a writer, experience designer and producer. He was a founding member of terraNOVA Collective and its associate artistic director for eight years. Recent multi-platform stage plays include FEEDER: A Love Story (terraNOVA/HERE, NYC) and NY_Hearts (One Muse Presents & The Brick Game Play Festival). As a strategist and copywriter, James is a consultant for social impact strategist Lina Srivastava. He served as marketing manager for terraNOVA Collective and EST, where he wrote direct marketing emails, website content, and social media copy. James is an editorial associate for The Civilians’ Extended Play and has written articles for The Creators Project, Culturadar.com, ArtsFwd, and Theatre Communications Group. He also teaches digital storytelling to youth and young adults with MIRA. James is available to create multi-platform narrative campaigns, copywriting, and story/experience design. Other stage plays include: Reaching Outpost (Kaneland High School) and Baby Steps (terraNOVA/The Lion, Theatre Row). Producer/Curator: terraNOVA – soloNOVA Arts Festival(featuring W. Kamau Bell, Nilaja Sun, Taylor Mac, Mike Daisey), Subterranean (a monthly cabaret party), Buck Fever; EST – Lucy (William Carden, dir.), On The Way To Timbuktu (written & performed by Petronia Paley, Talvin Wilks, dir.), Thicker Than Water 2008 (Youngblood),Marathon 2008 (playwrights – Auburn, LaBute, Mac, Rivera), and Close Ties (Pamela Berlin, dir.).
Jose Pablo Monge Chacon is a costarrican entrepreneur, founder and creative director at Headless Chicken Games (Game Development company based in Costa Rica). He loves creating something that allows others to live in a different world, to feel something they have never felt or hadn’t felt in a long time. That’s really what makes the difference between something entertaining and something great. Jose also founded in 2010 the International Game Developers Association chapter in Costa Rica to create a way for other aspiring game developers like himself to connect with resources and other developers, to better enhance their knowledge and create a stronger community. Right now, Jose is focused on creating new and outstanding experiences on different platforms, moving towards making his studio be the best game developer in all of latin america. He also teaches programming sometimes at Universidad de Costa Rica.
Karen Palmer’s work SYNCSELF 2 was exhibited at the iconic V&A Museum as part of their distinguished Digital Design Weekend 2014. This neurogaming parkour installation also went on to be a key exhibit at the prestigious Sheffield Film Festival 2015. Karen was a Speaker on Neuroscience in Gaming Panel. 2015 Karen was keynote speaker at DiGRA 2015 The World’s leading Academic Digital Games Conference in Germany. She has recently spoken on her unique form of Storytelling and Tech at various renowned institutions such as The Watershed Bristol, Uppsala University Sweden, Conducttr Transmedia Conference. 2009 Inspired by her passion for Parkour which encouraged her to “move through fear” she left the security of a successful career as a Creative Director in the music industry to pursue her passion to be a Visual Artist to develop her Voice as a Storyteller. 2011 she was commissioned as part of the Cultural Lead up to the London Olympics, to create ’Evolution’ installation. 2012 Karen was invited to present her work at Scamp She Says Media Conference. Then commissioned by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to create SYNCSELF 1. Which went on to become nominated for an HBO Award at Filmteractive Festival in Poland 2013 . 2015 Karen was in R&D for her next neurogame installation at the renowned DRIFT International Program. This project was also shortlisted for the Wired/ Space Fellowship Award in the Summer. Her latest project RIOT was shortlisted for The Space Arts Commission.
Lewis Argall has been telling stories and creating story worlds for as long as he can remember in any medium that he can get his hands and mind on. His work includes sculptures, zines, character designs, and writing. He had his first exhibition at the Piccolo Films Studio in 2011. He has directed and written short films and has grown up in a creative environment and has diverse skills in various art practices. He is what can be described as gifted/learning disabled: he has very high scores in verbal comprehension and perceptual reasoning. He is weird, doesn’t fit. He has “system in-compliance”. He makes clothing or helmets or sculptures and it goes from his brain to his hands to the physical world. He doesn’t draft anything — just makes it. His writing just happens and he has to ride the wave. He is passionate about stories. He wants to learn new things and explore story and narrative. He is passionate about the place of story in the world. He is worried about the position of story in society and how it is not functioning in the way it should.
Lissa Holloway-Attaway is a digital media practitioner and researcher with a strong interest in experimental narrative and storytelling across a range of media and genres. She has an academic background in theatre performance (BFA), literary studies and digital media (MA/PHD), and currently she is an Associate Professor in Media Arts, Aesthetics and Narration at the University of Skövde in Sweden. She teaches within the undergraduate Computer Games Development educations and in the graduate level “Digital Narration” programs. She is the leader for the Media, Technology, and Culture research group at her University working on interdisciplinary, experimental media projects ranging from AR, VR, mixed media performance, digital heritage, and immersive CAVE writing experiences. She was a research leader and story collector for a large EU-funded project called Telling the Baltic (Art Line, 2011-2014), a touring mixed media art exhibition based on stories collected from the southern Baltic region and exhibited in several Baltic countries. Her mixed media storytelling works have been exhibited/performed in Europe and the US, and her research on the field of digital media and culture is published in a number of academic venues. She is a curator and project leader for Remaking Moby-Dick (1.0 & 2.0), an international storytelling project focused on multimodal retellings and transmedial publications of Herman Melville’s 1851 text. Currently she is working within digital heritage and collaborating with a number of academic, museum and culture partners to research/design interactive media experiences that immerse and engage visitors in historical narratives through AR/VR and gaming technologies.
Lucinda Clutterbuck is an artist film maker animator. She has been an artist all her life. She grew up drawing before she could talk and has never deviated from the path although her practice is diverse. After studying lithography in France Lucinda started making animated films at 23 years of age when she made her first animated video clip for Sydney band: The Machinations. The music video called Pressure Sway was played on medium rotation on MTV and it was a stepping stone into more personal films. From 1983 to 2000 she made over 30 short films including an animated tv series for ABC Australia on endangered animal species called the Web. In 2005 Lucinda received a fellowship from The Australian Film Commission to explore digital media. Since then she has retrained in new media and is now a digital immigrant with a strong analogue accent. Lucinda has always oscillated between art practice and film practice as she also paints and makes installation works. Lucinda loves to write and is currently working on a project called One Day I Woke Up and I Was Angry which is a series of micro films made with small groups of people using Improvisations to facilitate abstract story telling through physical animation. She is constantly evolving her creative practice and her current work is exploring how to incorporate physical computing into her installation and story telling work. She and her husband Ray Argall have a studio and production company called Piccolo Films. They also work with their adult children Rachel and Lewis Argall.
Luis Morales-Navarro is passionate about using technology to tell stories that reflect oral traditions, and eating peanut butter cups. He’s graduating this May from New York University Abu Dhabi, majoring in Film and New Media with concentrations in Interactive Media and Creative Writing. He interned for Witness’s The Human Rights Channel on YouTube –currently The Witness Media Lab at Google News Lab– as assistant curator. Now, he’s working at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Interactive Media Lab and developing a project that reconstructs objects from Borges’s speculative Ficciones. His work investigates the relationships between people and fictional objects introduced in real spaces, and the materiality of text and language.
Mary Pilon is the author of “The Monopolists,” (Bloomsbury, Feb 2015), a New York Times bestseller that tells the true story of the board game, Monopoly. For years, the story was that the game had been invented by a man during the Great Depression. But it actually originated with a left-wing woman, Lizzie Magie, during the Progressive Era as a protest against the monopolists of her time. Largely lost to history, Magie’s story, as well as its unlikely exhumation have been the brunt of scandal for decades, culminating in a Supreme Court case and 40,000 board games which, as far as anyone can tell, are still buried somewhere in Minnesota. (A feature film of the story from the producers of “Adaptation” and “Little Miss Sunshine” is currently in the works.) Previously, Mary covered sports as a staff reporter at the New York Times and business at The Wall Street Journal, focused on narrative and investigative work at each publication. In addition to the Times and the Journal, as a freelance journalist, Mary regularly writes about sports, business and politics for the New Yorker, Esquire, Vice, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, MSNBC, among other publications. (She is currently working on her second book, “The Kevin Show,” forthcoming from Bloomsbury, and is developing with colleague Seth Porges “Prologue,” the first-ever multi-layered podcast series.) An honors graduate of New York University, Mary made the Forbes magazine’s first-ever 30 Under 30 list for media, but is more proud of being a native Oregonian, a fledgling marathoner and once landing an apartment in Brooklyn by writing a love letter invoking Virginia Woolf.
Matt Forbeck is an award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author and game designer. He has designed board games, collectible card games, roleplaying games, miniatures games, and interactive toys and has written comic books, video games, mobile games, alternate reality games, magazine articles, novels, nonfiction, screenplays, and short fiction. His work has been published in over 10 languages. He has thirty novels and countless games published to date. His latest work includes the novel Halo: New Blood, the Magic: The Gathering comics, The Avengers Encyclopedia, the 2014 edition of The Marvel Encyclopedia, the Monster Academy YA fantasy novels, and the upcoming Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game based on his novels. His projects have been nominated for 28 Origins Awards and won 17. They have also won five ENnies and a Scribe Award. He is a proud member of the Alliterates writers’ group, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, the International Thriller Writers, and the International Game Developers Association. He lives in Beloit, Wisconsin, with his wife Ann and their children: Marty, Pat, Nick, Ken, and Helen. Those last four are quadruplets, but that’s a whole ’nother story.
Michael Rau is an artist working at the intersection between live performance and digital technology. His most recent project was TEMPING, an immersive digital experience that used hacked office equipment (laser printer, phone system and Microsoft Excel) to create an interactive story about mortality and office culture, which premiered last fall at the 53 New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Other notable work includes, “Absent” an interactive walking tour of an abandoned subway tunnel in Cleveland Ohio, which was awarded “best-of-fest” at the Ingenuity Festival. These two storytelling experiences were for solo audience members and blurred the lines between art, theater and interactive game. As a professional director, he directs operas and plays in New York City, the UK, and Berlin. He has taught at NYU, Wesleyan University, and Columbia University, and has created developed new work with New York Theater Workshop, the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and The Kennedy Center. He most recently served as the associate director for David Bowie’s music-theater piece Lazarus.
Sarah Dahnke is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, multimedia artist, and arts educator. She creates performance experiences that often feature non-performers, highlighting and celebrating the nuances of natural, untrained human movement. She works with public school students to facilitate the creation of their own choreography and video projects, makes giant group dances to teach to the general public, and films instructional videos to disseminate dance sequences widely. Her video work has been curated nationally by Dance Films Association, DCTV, Tiny Dance Film Festival, Hyde Park Arts Center, Ruth Page Center for the Arts and Gowanus Ballroom as well as internationally across The Philippines. Her choreography has occurred on stages, in streets, on the Internet, in music videos, on roofs, in galleries and more. Some of these places include The Kitchen, CPR-Center for Performance Research, Grace Exhibition Space, The New York Transit Museum, Northside Festival and Lollapalooza.
Seth Porges is a journalist, filmmaker, television presenter, and Internet entrepreneur. He has contributed to dozens of publications, including InStyle, Forbes, Fast Company, Men’s Journal, Wired, Travel & Leisure, Mashable, and Rolling Stone; and currently writes a science/tech column for Bloomberg Business. Previously, he worked as senior editor at Maxim, and as a tech editor and columnist at Popular Mechanics. In addition to appearing as a regular guest on MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox News, he serves as a regular technology correspondent for Fox 5 in New York City, and can be seen on several different television series that currently air on History, Discovery, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Travel channels. He recently gave a TED presentation about treasure diving and the history of pinball, and holds the world record for giving the most unique Nerd Nite presentations. Seth is also is also the co-creator of the fashion app Cloth and produced a hit documentary about the most dangerous amusement park that ever existed. He is is currently working on an experimental audio series and building a platform for engaging scientists and researchers with technology companies. Seth has appeared as a contestant on Cash Cab and American Ninja Warrior. He received both an M.S. and B.S. from Northwestern University, and is a Kiplinger Fellow in Social Media at Ohio State University.
Stefan Grambart is an award-winning creative thinker who has built a career on creating visual storytelling and interactive narrative experiences. With twenty years of combined experience across film & television animation, computer gaming, and digital media, Stefanhas worked on projects for Warner Brothers, FOX, NBC, MTV, Family Channel, PBS, Canal+, HBO Family, Fisher-Price, Hasbro Interactive, Teletoon, History Channel Canada, YTV, and Shaw. He is currently a Creative Director at Secret Location, where he’s proven himself to be a highly capable and innovative concept developer, visual artist, and experience designer. Focusing his attention on virtual reality, Stefan is exploring how this new medium will evolve our traditional narrative structures. He was the artistic lead on Secret Location’s VR experience for the hit FOX series Sleepy Hollow, which was awarded the first ever Emmy for a VR project (Outstanding User Experience & Visual Design). Stefan has also been honoured with several Canadian Screen Awards, Marketing Awards, Digi Awards, FITC Awards and FWA Awards. He has also had his work featured on Fast Company, Engadget, Mashable, The Verge, A.V. Club, and in Marketing Magazine.
Trevor Haldenby is an imaginative futurist telling new kinds of stories about emerging technologies. He is a graduate of the CFC Media Lab (2004), and OCAD University’s master’s program in Strategic Foresight and Innovation (2013). As interactive producer he has worked on futuristic online projects including the virtual world Habbo Hotel, and Earth Rangers’ Bring Back the Wild crowdfunding platform. He has also collaborated with Autodesk, the National Film Board of Canada, Arup, and Synbiota to tell playful stories about the future. In 2012 Trevor founded The Mission Business, a design firm that brings scenarios about the future to life as interactive live experiences. Award-winning projects include Visitations – a 21st century ghost story set in Toronto’s Drake Hotel, ZED.TO: ByoLogyc – a 9-month simulation of the outbreak of a synthetic pandemic in Toronto; and Shadowfall – a multimedia adventure into the future of asteroid mining, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life that launched the 2013 IDEAS conference at NASA Research Park. Trevor’s artwork has won acclaim and redrawn borders in digital storytelling, including the installation Painting The Myth: The Mystery of Tom Thomson, the interactive documentary New Media // New Trends, concert visualizations with Spiral Beach, and work as official photographer for Canada’s most innovative organizations. He migrates regularly across his home range of Southern Ontario with his wife and son.
Christy Dena is a writer-designer-director who has worked on award-winning pervasive games, film, digital and theatre projects. Her clients include Nokia, Cisco, Weiden & Kennedy, and Bangarra Dance Theatre. Her comedy web audio adventure “AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS” won the “Digital Narrative” category at the 2-14 WA Premier’s Book Awards, won the “Interactive Media” category at the 2014 Australian Writer’s Guild Awards, and was Finalist for “Best Writing in a Game” Award at the 2012 Freeplay Independent Gaming Festival. She was commissioned to create an game installation for Experimenta’s 2015 International Biennial of Media Art: Recharge, and that was Shortlisted for the 2015 International New Media Writing Prize and is currently touring Australia and can be downloaded online. She was granted Australia’s first Digital Writing Residency at The Cube for her project “Robot University,” for the Australia Council for the Arts and QUT. Christy co-wrote “The Writers Guide to Making a Digital Living” for the Australian Literature Board, has a PhD in Transmedia Practice, presented and published worldwide, and is a Member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Christy is Chair and Department Coordinator of Games, SAE Creative Media Institute.
Lance Weiler is a storyteller and entrepreneur. An alumni of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, he is recognized as a pioneer because of the way he mixes storytelling and technology. WIRED magazine named him “one of 25 people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” Always interested in experimenting with new ways to tell stories and engage audiences, Lance has designed experiences that have reached millions of people via theaters, mobile devices and online. In recognition of these storytelling innovations, BUSINESSWEEK named Lance “One of the 18 Who Changed Hollywood.” Lance is recognized as a thought leader in the entertainment space. He sits on a World Economic Forum steering committee for the future of content creation, he is the Director of Experiential Learning & Applied Creativity at Columbia University and is a founding member and director of the Digital Storytelling Lab @Columbia. He also teaches a graduate course at Columbia on the art, craft and business of storytelling in the 21st Century. Lance is currently developing a slate of film, tv and gaming projects.
Louise Rosen ’99JRN is the Deputy Vice President of Alumni Relations at Columbia University. Working closely with the Vice President of Alumni Relations, she develops dynamic experiential engagement programming which provides a broad audience the opportunity to learn about the many and varied facets of the research being undertaken at the University. At her core is the spirit of showing not telling. Prior to joining Alumni Relations, she spent eleven years at Columbia’s Earth Institute; most recently as Director of the Office of Academic and Research Programs responsible for incubating new education and research programs. During this time she developed and launched seven new environmental and sustainable development degree programs, oversaw all areas of their marketing, communications and engagement. This included development of a global classroom, experiential programming and the new major in sustainable development, and the M.S. in sustainability management. Drawing on her background in journalism she worked alongside senior faculty to help advance the translation of research into practice and social and student movements to support the mission of the Earth Institute and the directorate. This included incubating new student groups and helping secure editorial columns for faculty leaders in the New York Observer and the Huffington Post. She continues to be a lecturer at SIPA in sustainability management. Ms. Rosen earned her B.S. in Economic and Political Geography from the London School of Economics, and her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Prior to moving to New York she had been instrumental in developing and launching magazines in London and had been a faculty advisor toConsilience, the online Journal of Sustainable Development. She has written for several publications including Newsweek.com, Forbes Magazine, Upside Today, Fortune Small Business, Vogue, and the New York Times, and has been a ghost writer for thought leaders across multiple industries from fashion to advertising.