Power of Story: Evolution of Storytelling

Monday, January 25, 2:30 p.m.
Egyptian Theatre, Park City
Ticket required
Available via LIVE STREAM at sundance.org
Visit Festival Base Camp Presented by Canada Goose to view the stream.

Story offers a way of understanding ourselves and the world around us. But story doesn't exist until it’s shared through the mediums we use to communicate—our communication architecture. Today that architecture stands on the verge of a massive paradigm shift that will impact storytelling at a breathtaking scale.

Join a group of remarkable storytellers and creative technologists for a workshop that explores imagination, innovation, and the deeply intertwined worlds of technology and storytelling. Led by John Underkoffler (Minority Report, Iron Man, CEO, Oblong Industries), guests Nancy Bennett (CCO and head of virtual reality, Two Bit Circus), John Gaeta (The Matrix Trilogy, executive creative director, ILMxLAB), Kevin Slavin (MIT Media Lab), Lynette Wallworth (Collisions), and Reggie Watts (Waves) give us a glimpse into the mind-blowing future of story.

John Underkoffler is co-founder and CEO of Oblong Industries, a Los Angeles–based company leading the evolution of the human/machine interface. Previous foundational work at MIT included innovations in holography, large-scale interactive visualization techniques, and the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room systems. He has been a science advisor to films including Minority Report, The Hulk, Aeon Flux, and Iron Man. Underkoffler serves on the boards of the Sequoyah School and the E14 Fund, as well as on the National Advisory Council of Cranbrook Academy.

Nancy Bennett lives at the nexus of groundbreaking technologies and lucid cinematic storytelling. Throughout her career she has pioneered the application of new technologies to film, TV, music, and advertising. As chief content officer of Two Bit Circus, Bennett has secured the company a leadership position in virtual reality by developing highly engaging, live-action, stereoscopic 360-degree video capture and compelling haptic-enabled playback for major properties including NFL, NBA, Indycar, and more.

John Gaeta is the creative director for new media and experiences at Lucasfilm Ltd. and ILMxLAB. He is an Academy Award–winning designer best known for his work on The Matrix trilogy, where he advanced form-breaking innovations such as "bullet time" and "volumetric cinematography" (a.k.a UCAP). He is focused on creative development and innovation for Star Wars and other premium universes, platforms, and partners.

Kevin Slavin is an assistant professor and the founder of the Playful Systems Group at the MIT Media Lab. The group's research focuses on how invisible systems come to life in the world as culture, rather than strictly as utility. Prior to the Media Lab, he co-founded Area/Code, which pioneered large-scale, real-world games using mobile, pervasive, and location-aware technologies. The studio worked with Disney, Nokia, Nike, MTV, and the Knight Foundation before being acquired by Zynga in 2011. Slavin’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art and the Design Museum of London, and it has been covered in most major journals; his 2011 speech, “How Algorithms Shape Our World,” is a popular TED talk. Slavin is the vice-chair of the board of trustees of Cooper Union.

Lynette Wallworth is an acclaimed Australian artist and director whose immersive installations and films both reflect connections between people and the natural world and explore fragile human states of grace. Often engaged with emerging technologies, Wallworth has previously exhibited her works at the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier section, including interactive installation Evolution of Fearlessness, a moving portrait of women survivors of trauma, and the fulldome feature Coral, which has an accompanying augmented reality poster collection.

Reggie Watts is an internationally renowned musician/comedian/writer/actor who currently stars as the bandleader on CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Corden. Using his formidable voice, looping pedals, and his vast imagination, Watts blends and blurs the lines between music and comedy, wowing audiences with performances that are 100 percent improvised. Reggie Watts was born in Germany, was raised in Montana, and currently resides in Los Angeles.


John Underkoffler
Nancy Bennett
John Gaeta
Kevin Slavin
Lynette Wallworth
Reggie Watts
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