UCLA Anderson’s Center for Media, Entertainment, & Sports (MEMES), in partnership with HTC Vive, Present:

Levrage VR & AR

October 6, 2017

8:00 AM - 6:30 PM Pacific

251 Charles E Young Drive West
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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Have you already produced exciting VR experiences? Entered in partnerships to widen user access to VR? How about licensing technology that has since been displaced?

The LEVRAGE conference and expo at UCLA brings together the technical players with the storytellers to look at the newest, most practical ways forward to monetize new VR and AR experiences. With some of the most experienced tech leaders and producers speaking in keynotes and panels, and with many top exhibitors showing wares and networking, we’ll focus on how the next few years in VR and AR experiences will play out as business models.



8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Exhibits & Coffee
Special Master Classes & Workshops (Master Classes will be focused on key issues for practitioners: making the business case/pitch; shifts in the (post) production process; finding investors/partners, etc. 
10:00 a.m. Welcome (Jay Tucker, Executive Director, Center for Media, Entertainment & Sports, UCLA Anderson School of Management)
10:05 a.m. OPENING KEYNOTE: “LeVRage: The Heart of ShowBUSINESS” [SPEAKER TBD] 
10:45 a.m. Innovation Spotlight – Building the VR Business - Vinay Narayan, Executive Director, VR @HTC VIVE, VR Strategist and Advisor
11:10 a.m. Virtual Hollywood: VR, AR and the future of Media:

In this session, we will delve into the future of VR from the studio’s perspective: fan experience, monetization, adoption and impact on filmed entertainment. Ted Schilowitz, Futurist in Residence, Paramount Pictures; Jake Zim, Senior Vice President, Virtual Reality, Sony Pictures Entertainment.

12:00 p.m. LUNCH / Exhibit

Massive Mentoring (Attendees pitch idea for two minutes and get instant feedback from a panel of industry experts, VR creatives and tech managers. By invitation only)

1:10 p.m. Fireside Chat with co-founder of Reality One and former Legendary Entertainment executive, Clint Kisker.
1:45 p.m. PANEL: “Betting on the Future: Investment and Startups in Virtual and Augmented Reality”: 

Panelists discuss their startup initiatives, the business opportunities they see in the space and how they are pursuing them. Invited presenters include Mariana Acuña, Product Manager, VR & Virtual Production, Opaque Studios;  William Hsu, Managing Partner @ Mucker Capital; Marco DeMiroz, Co-founder & General Partner, The Venture Reality Fund

2:30 p.m. Innovation Spotlight:
2:55 p.m. “The Business of Storytelling: Opportunities & Challenges for VR Content Creators”:

Panelists discuss the key creative challenges with VR experiences, the economics of the VR value chain, innovation in development and production, fundraising and more. Travis Wu, Co-founder & Storyteller, LumiereVR; Chuck Tsung-Han Lee, VP/Co-Founder, Construct Studio; Peggy Chung, Creator/Co-Founder, Gadget-Bot; Pete Blumel, CEO, The Rogue Initiative

3:40 p.m. “Other People’s Money: Partnerships, Marketing & Sponsorship”:

Panelists will discuss sources of revenue from brand integration, marketing activations, partnerships and more. Ian Forester, CEO, VR Playhouse; Lea Kozin, VP Marketing & Partner Outreach, Holor; Angela Haddad, Virtual Reality Creative Director, OneThirdBlue

4:30 p.m. “The Business of Technology: Hardware, Tools & the User Experience”

Panelists will talk about the device landscape and consumer adoption, innovation that will make these experiences more compelling and what the future looks like for the development of new VR experiences. Aaron Luber, VR Partnerships, Google; Jennifer Rundell, Co-Founder & COO, Positron; Sally-Anne Kellaway, Creative Director, OSSIC

5:15 p.m. Closing Remarks/Massive Mentoring, Part 2 [EXHIBITS OPEN]
6:30 p.m. EVENT CLOSES

*Schedule Subject to Change


Featured Speakers

Vinay Narayan

Executive Director of VR, Strategist & Advisor @HTC VIVE

Vinay Narayan is the Executive Director of VR for HTC VIVE overseeing the commercialization and market growth strategies of VR. He’s also Board Member and Adviser to a host of VR and AR focused companies, associations, and institutions. As a frequent speaker and sounding board for the community, he’s always on the look out how to expand the ecosystem and equally as important, how to create a path of profitability for the industry.

Vinay’s advice for VR startups: It still takes good business fundamentals and a deep understanding of what good VR is to create something meaningful. Know the history and ecosystem of VR, but most importantly really define what your customer needs.

Twitter @Vinay_Narayan

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Lynne Cheng

Product, HTC Vive

Before joining the VIVE team, Lynne worked with various education nonprofits including AmeriCorps, KIPP Public Charter Schools and Girls Who Code. She has passion for technology where it meets education, learning, and diversity initiatives. She has made it her mission to forward diversity and inclusion in the VR industry by encouraging conversation from diverse backgrounds in the shaping and development of virtual reality. Lynne currently leads community efforts


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William Hsu

Managing Partner @ Mucker Capital

William has spent his career as both an entrepreneur as well as an executive of a Fortune 100 company.

Prior to forming Mucker Capital, William was the SVP and Chief Product Officer of AT&T Interactive where he owned P/L, Product Management, Product Marketing, and UX responsibilities for all digital advertising initiatives for greater AT&T. In 3 years at AT&T Interactive, he doubled revenue to over $1B and helped established AT&T Interactive as the 9th largest digital media company (ahead of Facebook), the largest digital local advertising company (ahead of Groupon), and the 2nd largest mobile advertising company (behind Google) in the U.S.

Almost 13 years ago, as a 23-year old, he was the founder and EVP of Product Development for BuildPoint – the leader in providing bidding management & marketplace services to the commercial construction industry. William helped the company grow to over 250 employees and raised over $50M in venture capital. The company was acquired in 2004. In between, William has led product teams at eBay, Green Dot (GDOT), and Spot Runner.

William has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Terman School of Engineering at Stanford University and a MBA from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania. William can be reached at william at muckercapital dot com.

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Travis Wu

Co-founder & Storyteller, LumiereVR

About the Company:
LumiereVR is a cinematic VR company focusing on the production and distribution of 360/VR content. Our production house currently work with science writers and researchers to create education focused, mission driven stories, while our distribution team partner with venues with high foot traffic around the country to bring VR content directly to users in form of VR Theaters.

Travis co-founded LumiereVR with the determination to bring empathetic cinema to life through Virtual Reality. He uses his background in computer science to build tools and softwares that empower and challenge filmmakers to explore new depths with this new medium. Now LumiereVR not only employs a suite of production tools and workflow, but are also partnering with artists and corporations setting up VR theaters across the United States to make VR content available to the general public.


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Sally Kellaway

Creative Director at OSSIC

About OSSIC:
Founded in 2014, The mission at OSSIC is to develop fully-immersive audio experiences that push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our founding team is comprised of industry leaders in audio production, development, and engineering who have proven track records in developing world-class technology. OSSIC’s first product is the OSSIC X. OSSIC X is the world’s first 3D audio headphone that instantly calibrates to the listener. By pairing advanced 3D audio algorithms with head-tracking and individual anatomy calibration we deliver incredibly accurate 3D sound to your ears — no custom laboratory or setup needed.

Sally-anne Kellaway is the Creative Director at OSSIC, and is the biggest VR audio nerd you’ll ever meet. This brings together some of Sal’s favourite things - daydreaming, evangelising cool things, organising things and Audio Design for VR. Sal is still riding the VR hype train because she believes VR is the future of entertainment, or the world in general. Sal is enabling this future by founding the Virtual Reality Content Creators network for Australia (VRCC_AUS) and communicating about the power of Audio in VR.

Sally presents at conferences worldwide about VR, the role of Audio in Virtual Reality, and research conducted from her Masters course in Audio and Acoustics and Diversity in STEAM fields. Sal has been named as one of MCV Pacific’s Most Influential Women in Games, and in the MCV Pacific and the Develop 30 Under 30, as well as one of Variety’s 10 VR Innovators to Watch.


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Chuck Tsung-Han Lee

VP/Co-Founder, Construct Studio

Construct Studio is a team of veteran VR developers, best known for the critically acclaimed VR experiences “The Price of Freedom” and “Imago”. They're using their expertise and in-house toolkit "Vera" to empower other artists and developers to build an interactive VR/AR world within a day.

Chuck is an entrepreneur and a VR/AR evangelist. He worked at Microsoft XBOX RSM team and the pioneer VR content company Wevr. He was also the project lead for Narrative VR Film Imago and Mixed Reality game Garden. Chuck is now the VP and Head of Business Development at Construct Studio.


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Jennifer Rundell

Co-Founder & COO, Positron

Jennifer is the COO and Co-Founder of Positron, a company that is focused on delivering Premium Cinematic VR solutions. She is a veteran in building cross-discipline teams for companies of all sizes and loves bridging technical, creative and business minds to launch products that customers love. She brings a passion for building beautiful functional VR products and is obsessed with creating the most joyful and comfortable way to experience VR.

Jennifer has been a leading champion of the location-based VR movement and created the world’s first motion VR Theater at SXSW 2017. Positron integrates motion and haptics into the VR experience through their comfortable fully integrated VR chair, Voyager. She is currently working to bring the renowned Voyager experience to worldwide audiences.

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Aaron Luber

VR Partnerships, Google

Aaron leads content partnerships for Google’s AR and VR efforts — Daydream and Tango. Aaron’s journey began with launching YouTube360 first as a 20% project and then to a live product in March 2015. During that time, Aaron transitioned from YouTube to the Cardboard team and has been working to bring VR, and now AR, to the masses. Probably the most impressive surprise has been the incredible brand engagement and eagerness for companies (such as the NFL, EA, Mattel, IMAX, Disney and The New York Times) to work with Cardboard, Daydream and Tango. Aaron has been core in leading each of these partnerships for Google and many more. These partnerships have been able to deliver on great content, while building towards the mission of delivering innovative AR/VR experiences to the masses.

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Angela Haddad

Virtual Reality Creative Director, OneThirdBlue

Angela Haddad is a VR Creative Director and artist based in Los Angeles. She is the creator of One Third Blue – a VR art studio creating marketing campaigns and fan-facing stories, serving brands in lifestyle, fashion, and beauty. One Third Blue productions begin with watercolor and brushes and are animated for 360* VR. The concept was born out of the desire to maintain an authentic hand-painted artistic visual within a medium heavily saturated with 3D renders, while enhancing analog, 2D watercolor art &animation with an unexpected technology.

Prior to One Third Blue, Angela worked across the spectrum of VR on animation and stereoscopic live action, leading projects in production, post-production, direction and UI/UX design.

Angela’s portfolio includes Marie Clair, Lionsgate, LiveNation, AlJazeera, and more. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley, is a Microsoft Creator Council artist, an Oculus Launchpad fellow and has co-authored an IEEE op-ed. She has been featured as SXSW, in BuzzFeed, VRScout and UploadVR, and has spoken at SAG-AFTRA, UCLA Anderson, VRLA, NAB and more.

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Marco DeMiroz

Co-founder and a general partner of The Venture Reality Fund

Marco is the co-founder and a general partner of The Venture Reality Fund (The VR Fund), where he oversees the company’s investments in early-stage virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) startups. He has extensive experience in executive roles with leading technology companies and in global investments. For more than ten years Marco has focused on strategic investments across media, entertainment, lifestyle, sports and technology with firms most recently with Evolution Media Capital (Evolution), where he led its investment in JauntVR. In addition to his role at The VR Fund, Marco actively advises numerous media and technology companies in the VR and AR sectors and has been collaborating in the formation of the Women in XR/WXR Fund.

Prior to joining Evolution, he served as president and chief executive officer of the leading mobile game studio, PlayFirst, which he sold to Glu Mobile (NASDAQ: GLUU) in 2014. Marco’s previous exec roles included president and chief executive officer of Racktivity, and chief financial officer of General Magic, where he managed its Initial Public Offering raising over $100 million, and worked alongside some of the most talented engineers and visionaries in Silicon Valley’s history developing intelligent communications devices and technologies that were essential to today’s smartphones, online communication and commerce.

Marco holds a Master of Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University; a postgraduate Engineer degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University; a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from San Jose State University; and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Postgraduate School. His postgraduate studies and research at NASA focused on mathematical modeling and digital control of helicopters, drones, and robotics.

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Mariana Acuna

Technologist, Connector and Entrepreneur

Mariana is a technologist, connector and entrepreneur. During her years at The Foundry she focused on virtual reality post-production workflows, as well as being the Head of Product Specialists in the Americas. She was instrumental in the launches of ExploreVR (a hub for sharing industry insight in VR content production) and Cara VR, the 360 video plug-in for Nuke. Mariana was a pioneer in her home town Mexico City, where she founded the first VR and 360 video production and branding agency - JoltVR.

Most recently she co-founded Opaque Studios, where she leads the roadmap for new and existing technology developing tools for Virtual Production using Virtual Reality, transforming the way film making is done today. She was recently named one of the 10 Virtual Reality Innovators to watch by Variety.

Mariana has also enjoyed multiple speaking engagements either as a panelist or moderator. Prior to her switch into tech, she worked as an on-set VFX supervisor & senior digital artist, and has over 13 years’ experience in the motion picture industry working at such studios as Sony Imageworks, CIS Hollywood, Digital Domain, HBO, Columbia Pictures and Fuse FX.

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Ted Schilowitz

Futurist in Residence, Paramount Pictures

Ted spends his time in a couple of unique roles in the motion picture industry.

As the futurist at Paramount pictures, Ted works with studio leadership and technology teams at Paramount / Viacom, exploring forms of new and emerging technologies, with an emphasis on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. In his role as Chief Creative Officer at Barco Escape, Ted is spearheading a project that is focused on the future of next generation immersive cinema experiences. Initial tent pole movie successes in partnership with 20th Century Fox and Paramount / Bad Robot, have resulted in successful runs in the Escape 3 screen cinema format on the Maze Runner movies and Star Trek Beyond.

Prior to joining Paramount, Ted was the Futurist at 20th Century Fox, where he worked on the evolving art, science and technology of advanced interactive visual storytelling. He was part of the creation team for the Martian VR and Wild VR experiences, which premiered at CES and Sundance as groundbreaking projects that pushed the envelope of Virtual Reality.

Ted was an integral part of the product development team at RED Digital Cinema as a founding member and the company’s first employee. The Red One and Epic cameras have made a significant impact on the Motion Picture Industry, with many of the world’s biggest movies now being shot with these ultra high resolution digital movie cameras.

Ted is one of the founders and creators of G-Tech product line of advanced hard drive storage products. As one of the most recognized brands in that industry, they are implemented worldwide at the highest levels on cinema, episodic television, sports and news production.

Before being part of the founding teams at RED Digital and Cinema and G-Tech, Ted was on the team that developed and launched the Macintosh desktop video division of AJA Video Systems, creating professional video products in tandem with Apple. These products are used on a massive scale worldwide for video production and post at the highest levels, on many of the world’s biggest movies, TV series and sporting events.

Ted has presented worldwide at numerous conferences on the advancements in next generation visual experiences for the movie, television and interactive entertainment industries. He’s been featured in Wired, Variety, NY Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, NBC, CNET, Studio Daily, Videography, Film and Video, DV Magazine, TV Technology, HD Video Pro, Engadget, Gizmodo, Millimeter, American Cinematographer, MacWorld, Post Magazine, Popular Science and countless other publications discussing his areas of passion and exploration.


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Clint Kisker

Co-founder, Madison Wells Media, MWM Immersive (Formerly Reality One)

MWM was founded by Gigi Pritzker in partnership with Clint Kisker in 2015 and was named one of Fast Company’s Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Hollywood for 2017.

The company empowers talent to create bespoke storytelling across film, TV, immersive VR/AR content and in live theater, including 2016’s Golden Globe and Academy Award Best Picture nominated Hell or High Water, Tony award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet, Ron Howard directed television drama Genius (Fox21, NatGeo April 2017), as well as Jon Favreau’s magical Gnomes & Goblins VR universe, winner of Best Overall Experience at Cinequest 2017, which the company created in partnership with WEVR. MWM currently consists of three individually branded operating divisions: OddLot Entertainment (film/TV), Relevant Theatricals (live theater) and Reality One (immersive media). MWM is also a strategic investor, with a portfolio of holdings in companies including STX Entertainment, Wevr, Fandor, Atom Tickets and The Void.

Mr. Kisker has been a leader in media and entertainment finance for more than 10 years and was recognized by Daily Variety as a “New Leader of Hollywood” in 2011 and a “Global Impact Financier” in 2013.

Previously, Mr. Kisker served as Executive Vice President, Business Development at Legendary Entertainment where he lead the company’s acquisition and corporate development activities aimed at building out interests in digital media, virtual and augmented reality content, and sports. During his time at Legendary, Mr. Kisker established the company’s mixed reality content division including launching virtual and augmented reality content with Magic Leap, Microsoft, Google, Samsung and others as well as investments in companies such as Chris Milk’s VRSE. He also oversaw investments in early stage digital content and technology companies such as Fahlo (now BKSTG), a social media and fan engagement platform developed out of a need for innovation within the fan club model, and The Players Tribune, a digital sports content platform which Legendary founded in partnership with Derek Jeter.

Prior to his role at Legendary, Mr. Kisker served as a Director of Screen Capital International (SCI) from 2009 to 2014, where he oversaw new business development, debt capital markets, and portfolio investments. Mr. Kisker was responsible for SCI’s expansion into sports where in 2010 he advised Chip Rosenbloom, the owner of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, on his sale of the team. In addition, he helped launch SCI affiliate RSN Partners, a company capitalized in partnership with ABRY Partners to acquire and exploit live sports media rights. Mr. Kisker also led RSN Partners bid, in partnership with the Disney family, to acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Prior to joining SCI, Mr. Kisker served as Chief Financial Officer for Element Films, a subsidiary of Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group, where he oversaw day to day operational and financial management of all aspects of the film production business. Prior to joining Element, Mr. Kisker served from 2004 to 2007 as Director of Finance for Summit Entertainment, where he was responsible for helping to structure individual picture financing for Summit's in-house productions, co-productions, and acquisitions. While at Summit, helped structure more than US$800mm in debt and equity capital for Summit in a sale/recapitalization transaction lead by Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Kisker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian Studies from Cornell University and also attended Beijing University in China.

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Timaj Sukker

Director of Content Partnerships Jaunt Studios

Born in Ethiopia, raised in Rome and London, Timaj considers herself a global nomad who can jam with just about anybody.

Impassioned about music at an early age, she tracked down P. Diddy and the Notorious B.I.G. on their first trip to London and was able to convince them to offer her an internship at Bad Boy Entertainment. After DJ'ing for many years in the New York spotlight, she went onto set up a music consulting company advising clients that included Gucci, Gap Inc., Cover Girl, Travel & Leisure and Nobu.

Timaj spent 8 years at Viacom handling music strategy & licensing. Currently, she is at Jaunt, the leading immersive cinematic experience company, handling content partnerships within the Business Development team.

She speaks 6 languages, holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from University College London and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, but unfortunately, none of this helps when waiting in line at Starbucks for her morning latte.

Timaj resides in Venice with her husband and vivacious 6-year old daughter. When she is not working, DJ’ing or solving inequality, she is secretly communicating with aliens to figure out what is next.

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Pete Blumel

CEO and Creative Director

Blumel is an award winning veteran producer with over 22 years of experience in feature film, animation, VR and AAA interactive production contributing to some of the biggest entertainment properties in the world.

As CEO and Creative Director, he oversees all stages of development and production of the studio’s slate of film, tv, interactive and VR & AR projects. He has developed and sold television shows to major studios and before founding The Rogue Initiative served in a key producer role at Activision’s Infinity Ward game development studio where he became intimately involved in the creation and production of the CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE series and GHOSTS video games for over 8 years.

Prior, he spent nearly 11 years at Dreamworks SKG, first on animated features PRINCE OF EGYPT and SHREK then later at Amblin Entertainment where he was involved with blockbuster films such as THE ISLAND and TRANSFORMERS.

Blumel is an active guest speaker most recently at Casual Connect, Digital Hollywood, Game Feté, Tech Open Air and Red Stick International Festival, and has been interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, Bloomberg, VR Focus and other video and print news channels. Pete’s also very involved in the academic community applying his expertise and industry relationships to the advancement of art, technology and science in high school and college curriculums in collaboration with USC, LSU and Stanford, among others.

He’s currently an advisor to the State of Louisiana’s Economic Development Division, LSU’s Digital Media Arts program and two Asia-based tech & entertainment startups.

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Dr. Mali Heled Kinberg

Visiting Assistant Professor, UCLA

Dr. Mali Heled Kinberg has expertise in foreign film sales and distribution with more than 10 years of experience in the foreign side of the film business. After obtaining her M.A and B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Kinberg attended Cambridge University (St. John’s College) on a Thouron Fellowship where she completed a Ph.D. in English Literature with a dissertation on James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. She ran the international division at Mandate Pictures for six years, overseeing the sales, financing, delivery and foreign distribution of approximately 10-12 films per years, including box-office successes such as Juno and The Grudge. For the past five years, Kinberg has been EVP, head of international at Media Rights Capital (MRC) in Century City and has worked on such films as Seth McFarlane’s summer blockbuster TED, starring Mark Whalberg; Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno; George Nolfi’s The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt; and Neill Blomkamp's Elysium, starring Damon and Jodie Foster.

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