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Welcome the New Pioneers: Introducing Dome Fest West's Newest Board Members

Updated: Jan 7

January 8, 2024

It's a new dawn for Dome Fest West as we usher in 2024 with exhilarating news! We are ecstatic to announce the addition of four distinguished industry veterans to our Board of Directors. Each of them brings a unique blend of experience and vision that is set to enhance our nonprofit fulldome film festival significantly. Let's delve into the histories of Lilly Vargas, Tracy Balsz, Eric Hanson, and Marc Rosenthal, and discover what makes them such impactful new members of our team.

Lilly Vargas

Lilly Vargas stands as a beacon of achievement in the media dome industry. With an impressive 11 years in the field, her experience is vast and varied. Lilly's contributions span over 500 dome events and the construction and installation of more than 200 domes across the globe. Her notable collaborations with major entities like Vortex Immersion Media, 360 Dome Pro, Absolute Hollywood, and Wisdome LA speak volumes of her proficiency and commitment to the industry.

Tracy Balsz

Tracy began her entertainment career as a marketing executive for Warner Bros. Studios. After a decade of promoting the studio’s backlot production and post production services to the film and TV community she hung her own shingle and became a strategic marketing and business development consultant. Privileged to work on a multitude of projects that intersect entertainment, technology, and themed entertainment, she has an expertise of launching new business verticals for existing businesses. Tracy settled into a niche providing her expert services to some of the most revered themed entertainment suppliers globally. As such, with 25-years’ experience in the themed entertainment industry, Tracy currently sits on the Board of Directors to the Themed Entertainment Association as President of the Western North America Division. She has also agreed to join the DomeFestWest Board of Directors for the 2024-2026 term, bringing her insight of the themed experiences world to the fulldome (and half dome) creative community.

Tracy shares her enthusiasm:

“I was honored to be invited to join the Dome Fest West Board of Directors and agreed that it is a wonderful opportunity to combine efforts to help grow the creative communities of both themed entertainment and fulldome filmmakers and suppliers. The industry is in a growth pattern with the popularity of theme park and museum dome experiences. It will be fun to be on the leading-edge of this growth trajectory.” – Tracy Balsz

Eric Hanson

Eric Hanson is a faculty member at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, and CEO of Blueplanet VR. With a background in design, architecture, photography, and feature film visual effects, Eric currently creates volumetric VR experiential content spanning landscape, natural history, and cultural heritage. His VFX work can be seen in “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Cast Away”, “Fantasia 2000”, and “The Fifth Element”, among others. Recent work has led to collaborations with The Dunhaung Foundation, Frontline/ PBS, Björk, Ai Weiwei, and the Onward Project. At USC he leads curriculum in Cinematic VR and Visual Effects, but mostly wishes he could sleep more.

Marc Rosenthal

Marc Rosenthal is an international award-winning Creative Producer-Designer and owner of Personal Creations, Inc., a muti-media design and production company specializing in bringing interesting and unusual concepts to life for over 35 years. PCI offers full design and production services, including technical consulting, schematic design-development, show control design and implementation

across all live and experiential venues and experiences- thriving in the unusual!

Mr. Rosenthal’s projects have ranged from Producing and Designing the first large

scale Western production built and opened in Beijing, P.R.C, at the Great Hall of the People, creating a one-act play using light and lighting instruments to tell the story, to dome projects, art installations at Burning Man and related events, to theme park and immersive art projects around the world.

Mr. Rosenthal was awarded Lighting Dimension International 2004 Projection Designer of the Year Award and was nominated for a 2009 Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Video/CGI. He was Vice President of the Themed Entertainment Association International Board of Directors; has been a frequent industry panel speaker and University guest lecturer; Contributing Editor and featured writer for Pro Lights and Staging News; writer for Lighting Dimensions and Stage Directions magazines.

A student of Permaculture for 20 years, he has also focused on personal growth and transformation, as masterful apprentice and co-facilitator. He brings all this training and experience into his work environments and has been recognized on numerous occasions for his authenticity, commitment, communication and leadership skills. He cares.

Mr. Rosenthal is a member of TEA, IAAPA and USA Local 829.

A Word from Ryan Moore, Executive Director of Dome Fest West

Dome Fest West's Executive Director, Ryan Moore, expressed his excitement about these new additions:

"We're stepping into an era of remarkable growth and innovation at Dome Fest West, and the inclusion of Lilly, Tracy, Eric, and Marc in our board marks a significant milestone in our journey. Their combined expertise and creative vision are precisely what we need as we explore the exciting opportunities that 2024 holds. Their contributions will not only enhance our festival's offerings but also redefine the possibilities in the realm of immersive cinema. We're eagerly looking forward to the dynamism they'll bring to Dome Fest West."

A Bright Future for Dome Fest West

The recent addition of esteemed industry leaders to our Dome Fest West team marks the beginning of an exhilarating new phase. The combined talents and forward-thinking approaches of Lilly, Tracy, Eric, and Marc, together with the dynamic guidance of our existing board members – Ed Lantz, Kate McCallum, Mikhaila Stettler, and Ryan Moore – promise to thrust us into pioneering frontiers within the fulldome film sector. Anticipate remarkable advancements that they are set to introduce not only to our festival but also to the expansive field of immersive media.

As a non-profit entity, Dome Fest West dedicates itself to the advancement and promotion of immersive experiences globally. Our mission involves showcasing exceptional content, cutting-edge technology, and innovative solutions in the industry. At Dome Fest West, we are committed to nurturing and educating immersive artists, storytellers, worldbuilders, and technologists.

We actively cultivate relationships with entrepreneurs, investors, and like-minded organizations, championing immersive media as a magnet for new audiences, enthusiasts, and creators. Our goal is to enlarge the thriving community of immersive media aficionados. In pursuit of this, Dome Fest West is dedicated to the evolution of fulldome content, venues, and technologies. By captivating and inspiring new generations of audiences and content creators, we leverage the transformative potential of immersive experiences to reshape perceptions and expand horizons.

We’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on the new additions to the Dome Fest West Board? How do you think their expertise will influence the future of immersive cinema? Share your perspectives in the comments below.

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