Film Independent President Josh Welsh, LMU School of Film and Television Dean Peggy Rajski, and LMU President Timothy Law Snyder standing
Film Independent President Josh Welsh, LMU School of Film and Television Dean Peggy Rajski, and LMU President Timothy Law Snyder

For the first time outside of the LA Film Festival –and the second time ever –Film Independent partnered with LMU School of Film and Television (SFTV) to present The Portal, a Virtual Reality(VR) and Immersive Storytelling showcase featuring the most exhilarating new animated, documentary and fictional storytelling in 360, virtual, augmented and mixed reality from exhibitions around the world at LMU's Playa Vista Campus.

"We're delighted to be partnering for a second year with Film Independent on The Portal, at our tech-forward Playa Vista Campus," said Peggy Rajski, dean of LMU SFTV. "The AR/VR/immersive space is expanding the field of media and entertainment, and we're committed to making sure our students are learning both the art and the craft of storytelling using these cutting-edge technologies."

"Immersive storytelling is evolving at an extraordinary pace and this year we're seeing some of the most innovative and exciting collaborations between filmmakers, writers and visionary XR creators yet,"said Jacqueline Lyanga, Film Independent's Artistic Director. "The storytellers in The Portal are visionary interdisciplinary artists. They are creating VR work that is pushing the boundaries and creating new ways to experience fiction, documentary and animated stories. In addition, augmented reality visual art and theater are bringing these traditional art forms into the future."

VR experiences were presented in various formats from room-scale pieces to short subjectsat a "VR Bar." These platforms provided cutting-edge content creators an ever-expanding space to work at the intersection of imagery, audio and interactivity.

The weekend-long eventalso featured panels addressing the intersection of gaming, theater and VR as well as an interview with musician Reggie Watts about his VR music video Runnin'.

LMU SFTV'sImmersive Advisory Council teamed with Film Independent to host a panel discussion on Immersive and Interactive Media in Education. The conversation addressed how LMU is approaching immersiveand interactive technology to enhance the educational experience, while also preparing students to work in a constantly changing medium that demands both innovation and originality.

Panelists included John Bashyam (SFTV Alum, Co-Founder of Warm & Fuzzy);Josh Morgan (SFTV Senior Lecturer of Animation and Computer Science); Justin Denton (SFTVImmersive Council Member, Director at Blur Studio) and Shane Acker (SFTV Assistant Professor of Animation, Academy Award Nominee). The panel was moderated by CharlesHoward (SFTV Lecturer, National Board Member of the Producers Guild of America).

The weekend-long event was presented September 20-22, 2019 throughout the entire LMU Playa Vista Campus, utilizing event spaces, classrooms, and production stages producing an unprecedented footprint at LMU's signature venue in Los Angeles' Silicon Beach.

Portal Panel 2019
John Bashyam (SFTV Alum, Co-Founder of Warm & Fuzzy); Josh Morgan (SFV Senior Lecturer of Animation and Computer Science); Justin Denton (SFTV Immersive Council Member,Director at Blur Studio),Peggy Rajski (SFTV Dean); Don Zirpola (SFTV Professor of Production); Shane Acker (SFTV Assistant Professor of Animation, Academy Award Nominee), Charles Howard (SFTV Lecturer, National Board Member of the Producers Guild of America)