Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Richard Branson to Speak in Tribeca Storytellers Series

Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Richard Branson to Speak in Tribeca Storytellers Series

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Tribeca Photo
Tribeca Photo

Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Sir Richard Branson, Google ATAP’s Regina Dugan, High Fidelity founder Philip Rosedale, and STRIVR’s Derek Belch among the first featured speakers announced

The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by AT&T, which will host its 15th edition April 13-24, 2016 in New York City, has announced a new platform, Tribeca Talks: Storytellers, a series of in-depth conversations with leading creators taking place at the Tribeca Festival Hub and other venues. Tina Fey and Tom Hanks are among the first of the featured actors, artists, musicians, and writers to be announced.

 In addition, TFF announced that the Tribeca Festival Hub will return to Spring Studios, which will serve as the Festival’s creative center. A gathering place for artists, thinkers, and storytellers, the Hub will host ten days of immersive storytelling experiences, musical performances, panel discussions and special guests. Among the events will be Imagination Day, powered by the Hatchery, which brings together some of the most influential, provocative and creative minds for an all-day summit that takes place on April 19.  The day focuses on: “What happens when our wildest dreams become reality and what will that reality be in our not-so-distant future?” The first round of participants includes entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, and business leader and product innovator Regina Dugan, of Google ATAP. Joining them are esteemed VR creatives and tech entrepreneurs: Second Life and High Fidelity founder Philip Rosedale, VR directors Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël of Felix & Paul Studios, and STRIVR founder and CEO Derek Belch.

Part of the Hub’s immersive programming for the 15th Festival will be the world festival premiere of Invasion!, the first VR, interactive, animated film from Baobab Studios, co-founded by Maureen Fan (former VP of Games for Zynga) and Eric Darnell (director Antz and the Madagascar series). The project follows menacing aliens with vastly superior technology who come to claim the Earth and destroy anyone in their way. Despite incredible odds, Earth’s citizens rise up and defeat the evil aliens.  Surprisingly, these Earthly citizens are not humans but a pair of the cutest, meekest and cuddliest creatures of our planet — two fluffy white bunnies.

Felix & Paul Studios will be the Tribeca Festival Hub “Featured Creator” for 2016. At the forefront of cinematic virtual reality, Félix and Paul combine artistic and technological innovation using Felix & Paul Studios’ proprietary VR technology platform to create original live-action virtual reality content. The VR filmmakers will appear as part of Imagination Day on April 19 and a selection of their work, including Inside Impact: East Africa with President Bill Clinton, Cirque du Soleil’s Inside the Box of Kurios, and Nomads: Maasai will be featured throughout the space.

The Hub will also showcase Storyscapes, a juried section that showcases groundbreaking exhibits in technology and interactive storytelling, which returns to TFF for the fourth year. The fifth annual TFI Interactive will again assemble the brightest thinkers from the worlds of media, gaming and technology for an all-day forum. The day will also include the “interactive playground,” which gives the audience an opportunity to play and explore a range of works from VR, to games, to the future of AR.  Additional programming and details will be announced in 2016.

“When we started the Festival 15 years ago, we did so with the belief that film and culture had the power to unite a community,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder, TFF. “That has continued to drive our mission, but as Tribeca has grown, so has our definition of storytelling. We are looking forward to hosting some of the most exciting creative minds in the world at our Hub this year and helping bring their experiences and views to life for our audiences.”

For the past five years, Tribeca has been a destination for experimentation with programs and conversations that explore the intersection of storytelling, entertainment and technology.  Last year Tribeca’s inaugural Featured Creator was VR entrepreneur and immersive artist Chris Milk. The 2015 Festival also premiered Penrose’s Limited Release Developer’s Cut of the VR film The Rose And I, and the Festival hosted DEF CON’s renowned hacking conference, Oculus Story Studio’s virtual reality experience, and a range of groundbreaking discussions as part of Imagination Day, including talks with Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, and Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots, who oversees Google[x] moonshot factory.

Past Storyscapes projects include “Door Into the Dark,” created by Anagram; “Karen,” created by Blast Theory; “Star Wars Uncut,” created by Casey Pugh;” “This Exquisite Forest,” created by  Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk; and “Robots in Residence,” created by Brent Hoff and Alexander Reben. Past TFI Interactive participants include Ryan Germick, Team Lead, Google Doodles; Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards; Director and Body Architect Lucy McRae; and author Baratunde Thurston.

“We are in a new age of storytelling experiences and experimentation with tech. Technology that was once available only for a select few creators has now moved into the mainstream.  For the last five years, Tribeca has been an accelerator and platform that gives experiential storytelling visibility,” said Genna Terranova, Festival Director. “Our responsibility now, along with the talented Felix & Paul Studios and Baobab Studios, is to fuel this new community’s collective imagination, create a place where ideas can be exchanged to make the stories even better, and push these new mediums forward.”

Festival Hub Passes are available now to the general public and provide an all-access experience to TFF’s creative center, including talks, special screenings, interactive installations, live music, open bars, and an invitation to a Tribeca Film Festival Filmmaker party. Passes are on sale now with special early discount pricing for $399.00 (regular price: $550.00) through December 31 and are available at tribecafilm.com.

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