IMERSA Day Speakers
We've very excited to announce our IMERSA Days speaker lineup! Check back again often for updated names that will be joining the lineup. Come meet experts in the fulldome and immersive fields.
For over 25 years, Brett Leonard has been at the forefront of the digital media revolution - whether it be as Director/ Writer of the groundbreaking cult-classic film Lawnmower Man, which introduced the concept of Virtual Reality to popular culture - or being the first to pioneer modern stereoscopic techniques and photo-realistic CGI in his hit IMAX 3D film “T-Rex” - or introducing American audiences to Russell Crowe and many other talents both in front of and behind the camera - Brett’s work as a visionary Director/Producer/Futurist has always pushed the edge of innovation in the entertainment industry, and continues to do so with a project slate at his company Studio Lightship, focused on creation of VX (Virtual eXperience) executed in a hybrid approach with Film and Television. Studio Lightship is dedicated to defining a process and platform for truly interactive narrative VX StoryWorlds for the emerging era of Immersive Entertainment.
Ed Lantz is an entrepreneur, entertainment technology engineer, producer and immersive experience designer. Ed left aerospace engineering in 1990 to transform old-style planetariums into immersive visualization environments, designing over a dozen dome theaters worldwide including the Library of Alexandria’s Planetarium in Egypt, Domodigital at Papalote Museo del Niño in Mexico City, and the National Space Centre planetarium in Leicester, UK. His company Vortex Immersion Media produces immersive and interactive experiences for Fortune 500 brands, top artists and audiences worldwide and is developing a network of branded immersive venues.
Michael Daut (principal, Michael Daut Productions) is an award-winning immersive media specialist and independent writer/producer/director in Los Angeles, CA. Michael brings a wealth of experience within the giant screen cinema, theatrical, 4D immersive, and digital fulldome industries. Prior to establishing his own production company, he served at Mousetrappe, an experience design and production studio. For over 20 years at Evans & Sutherland, he was instrumental in developing a library of digital fulldome shows. Michael’s current clients include K2 Studios, a giant screen film production and distribution company, Sotto Studios, an experiential solutions agency, and Moodswings, LLC, creators of the visual music show Mesmerica, currently playing in digital dome theaters across North America.
Kate McCallum, is a forward-thinking award-winning multi-media and arts producer, writer, and media strategist with an emphasis in IP development, transmedia and new media technology platforms. She is a member of the TV Academy and the PGA: Producers Guild of America where she served as a Board Delegate for two three-year terms on the PGA New Media Council, three years on the PGA National Board, was awarded the 2019 Marc A. Levey Award for exceptional service to the PGA, and as Co-Chair helped spearhead the launch of the PGA Social Impact Entertainment Task Force.
Jeb Terry, Jr.
Jeb Terry is an experienced leader and executive who has worked across the entire Sports and Entertaiment industry as a professional athlete, tech entrepreneur, and media executive. After his NFL career, Jeb sold a mobile video company to FOX Sports where he led cross platform & emerging tech efforts for events like the World Series, Super Bowl, US Open and World Cup. He is currently the President and CEO of Cosm, an experiential technology company redefining the way the world experiences content. Jeb graduated from UNC and resides in CA with his wife, Robin, and three children.
Carolyn Collins Petersen
Carolyn Collins Petersen is panel chair for "The Potential of Immersive Storytelling in a Transmedia Age" at DomeFest West. She is CEO of Loch Ness Productions, a unique multimedia production and distribution company, specializing in cosmically creative content for fulldome theaters. She has also written a number of science-related books and articles, and has expanded her work to development of exhibitions for such facilities as the Griffith Observatory, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Shanghai Astronomical Museum. Carolyn serves on the IMERSA board of directors, and has presented a number of talks and panels at IMERSA events.
William Nix has extensive experience in the entertainment, media, sports, and intellectual property fields, and is also a Partner in the social and environmental impact investment firm, LOHAS Advisors and Capital. He is a member of the Producer’s Council of the PGA, and a founding member of the PGA Social Impact Entertainment Task Force. William is also the Co-Executive Director and a founding member of the SIE Society, the leading alliance in Social Impact Entertainment whose mission is to connect, equip and amplify SIE organizations and creative producers around the globe.
Eric Hanson is CEO of Blueplanet VR, and a faculty member at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. With a background in design, architecture, photography, and feature film visual effects, Eric currently creates volumetric VR content for the Oculus Quest 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. At USC he leads curriculum in Cinematic VR and Visual Effects, but mostly wishes he could sleep more.
Michael McConville is the director of customer outreach for Evans & Sutherland and Spitz, Inc. He is instrumental in setting the conference and professional development strategies for the companies and continuing to build and strengthen a worldwide community of more than 600 planetariums. A skilled researcher and an expert storyteller, Michael brings nearly twenty years of planetarium and teaching experience to his role. During his tenure, Michael presented more than 3,000 live shows and hosted hundreds of outreach events and star parties – including more than 15,000 visitors for Florida’s largest solar eclipse event in 2017.
Dayna Thompson, Planetarium Director, has provided support and guidance for all planetarium activities at Ball State University since 2012. She holds a MS in Physics and has over 10 years’ experience in STEM outreach. Ms. Thompson has created various live planetarium programs and has worked on over 8 full-length fulldome planetarium programs in various roles such as: script writer, director, program manager, 3D content programmer, sound recorder and editor. Two of her programs, “Saturn & Beyond” and “Halloween: Celestial Origins,” are available for planetariums world-wide.
Ben Gondrez is a creative technologist who is always looking for unique and innovative ways to utilize technology to enhance educational, artistic, and professional purposes. Ben is currently a member of the Interative Technology team at Denver Museum of Nature & Science where he utilizes his skillset to create and maintain unique interactive museum exhibit experiences. Formerly, Ben was the Digital Dome Manager at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. In this position, he facilitated bi-monthly DomeLab meetings where local artists were able to learn fulldome production techniques and experiment in the dome.
Diana Reichenbach is an award-winning multimedia artist specializing in immersive and architectural media. She uses time-based, interactive, and immersive platforms to explore digital technology and its relationship to memory and perception. Navigating between animation and anthropology, she seeks to present narratives that ask how we have come to understand culture through our dependencies on digital media. Her work has notably been exhibited at the Virgin Airways clubhouse at LAX, Light City Baltimore Festival of Lights, HUBweek: A Festival for the Future, the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles, Burning Man Festival, Bonnaroo: Pageant of the Cosmos presented by Adult Swim, RiverRun Film Festival, DTLA Film Festival, Punta Y Raya Festival, Anima Mundi, Animafest Zagreb, and the Ottawa International Animation Festival.
Hugh Hou is a Co-Founder and Creative Director for CreatorUp, a digital media education company, and production studio. He heads up immersive media content creation and has produced VR content for numerous companies and organizations such as Samsung, Google, Oculus, the Special Olympics, MasterCard, Twitter, TikTok, RedBull Music, LACOSTE, Huawei, and the Los Angeles Police Department. He also directs and produces Mixed Reality music videos. He worked with musical artists such as I Prevail, Joyner Lucas, Cypress Hill, and SHAED. When not producing original VR videos & films, Hugh dedicates his time to sharing his vast expertise in immersive technologies and VR filmmaking on the CreatorUp YouTube channel.
Mike Smail is the Director of Theaters & Digital Experience for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Mike leads a small but mighty team of science communicators, visualizers, and technical experts who connect people to the universe and each other in the Adler’s two dome theaters, flat-screen theater and myriad other digital exhibit spaces. Whether for the visiting public, schools, or private rentals, Mike delights in creating unique immersive environments that satisfy the needs and exceed the expectations of audiences.
MICHAEL STRAUSS is an independent director, live visual artist and event producer from Southern California. He has been crafting audio/visual experiences and immersive environments for over 15 years. Michael's stunning psychedelic animation, projection mapping, and VJ performances have brought life to the performances of countless artists. Michael is the true embodiment of a modern-day wizard, using technology and creativity to transform reality. His work is designed to open hearts, lift spirits, and blow minds. Michael is now expanding his vision into 360 degree dome projections and virtual reality experiences. As a founder of the Visual Reality immersive art collective and the VR/AR/XR media company ALTERNITY, he continues to explore new forms of expression.
Mani Srinivasan serves as Chief Business Officer for leading global XR Wellness and Digital Psychedelics platform, TRIPP, Inc. Mani oversees core business functions including go-to-market strategy, business development, sales, partnerships and content licensing for TRIPP. He has over 23 years of domain experience – primarily, with top media and tech organizations – during which time he's helped launch and grow innovative product offerings and driven hundreds of millions of dollars in deal flow. Mani's held key roles at Comcast NBCUniversal, Qualcomm Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, and 2 privately held firms. He began his career in investment banking and holds an MBA from Harvard and BA in political economy from Williams College. Mani is an avid bio-and-consciousness hacker, yoga and meditation practitioner and tennis player. He founded BreatheFreeNow.org to help diverse communities improve daily living through simple, but powerful breathing techniques.
Tobias Chen is a multidisciplinary media technologist from the University of Toronto, born and raised in Vancouver. He has been an immersive media consultant for various Fortune 500 companies such as a Netflix, National Geographic, Intel, IBM, Discovery Channel, Nike, Fox Sports, Currently Tobias and his team at Volumetric Camera Systems Inc are developing the highest quality volumetric capture systems in the world, using machine learning, over 250 synchronized 4K Sony sensor cameras and Leica laser scanners. The company is funded by Epic Games and supported by Nvidia, HP, and Maingear. Their past clients include Canon, National Geographic, US Embassy, and Neill Blomkamp.
Jahna Perricone, creator and producer of ‘The Journey’, an official selection for DomeFestWest, creates music, sound and vocal immersive experiences that offer inspiration, deep peace and wellbeing to her audiences. A UCLA certified mindfulness coach and vocalist/musician, Jahna’s eclectic span of work includes her ‘In The Balance’, ‘Into The Mindful Wild, ‘DivAria’, ‘Toning’ and ‘Spring into Mindfulness- A Beginners Guide’ albums. She also partners with her husband, Michael Perricone, a Master Tibetan Singing Bowl artist and re-recording mixer to share their transformative blend of ancient Tibetan singing bowls (300-600 yrs. old), mindfulness, and etherial toning as a frequency vehicle for healing.
Born into a family of filmmakers, he has produced and directed several high-impact documentaries, most recently, for the United Nations Geneva Summit for Human Rights. His documentaries help raise awareness of human and animal rights violations around the world to provide a voice for the voiceless. Always interested in the overlap between film and technology, Michael co-founded Radiant Images in 2005. His work and innovations in film led to his acceptance as an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers, an invite-only membership group limited to less than 400 experts with distinguished credits in motion picture industry.
Edward is an Unreal Authorized Instructor and CG Supervisor in movies, TV, commercials and live events, having worked for ILM, Disney and Digital Domain on Blockbusters like Jurassic World, The Lion King and Jungle Book. Co-founder of successful world touring group The Sancho Plan, Edward loves to use cutting edge technology to create engaging and inspiring experiences, as well as beautiful world class imagery. He was formerly a Software Developer / Architect, leading teams of developers and holds a Masters in Computer Science.
Jenni is an award-winning creative producer and entrepreneur with three decades of experience in the entertainment industry. Jenni has worked extensively in the music industry, themed entertainment, live theatre, immersive and interactive experiences, volumetric capture, and virtual live concerts. Her work encompasses storytelling and experiences across formats and platforms, and immersive design in all forms, from location-based entertainment to VR, and new and emerging formats and technologies in entertainment.
Hilary McVicker is Communicatrix at The Elumenati – a title that translates to VP of Sales and Marketing at most companies. An early background in new media led to several years in the game industry, notably as part of the teams that produce GDC, the industry’s largest event, and international extensions of the brand and its networks in China, Europe and the UK. With a perspective gained from working with industry innovators and groundbreakers, she joined The Elumenati in 2008 as the next step in a career focused on the business of interactive technologies and their meaningful application.