Immersive Storytelling: Women Taking the Lead


Immersive storytelling is poised to be a billion dollar industry that offers a unique opportunity for women to create gender parity and to establish an even playing field as it evolves from it’s infancy into a new era of storytelling. NYWIFT is working to create a supportive community and build a robust network for women transitioning into or broadening their careers in the immersive experience industry.

Immersive Storytelling – Women Taking the Lead offers a practical overview for getting started in Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) production along with best practices, financing, distribution options and challenges ahead. Attendees will receive an invaluable primer for development and production along with inspiring experiences from women taking the lead in this emerging industry. Program features demos and a panel discussion.


9:00am – 10:30am

Panel Discussion


Debra Anderson is a VR producer, director and entrepreneur. She made her Cinematic VR debut in 2015 with In\Formation, a documentary made in VR and about VR featuring pioneers in the medium. Anderson is Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Datavized Technologies, a NYC-based software start-up building a 3D publishing platform for collaborative creation and distribution of immersive content on the web. She founded and organizes the Women in VR Meetup in New York, designed and instructs the first Digital Development: WebVR course at Parsons School of Design, and has produced WebVR works for The National Film Board of Canada and Mozilla Corporation. Anderson has presented groundbreaking interactive documentary and VR experiences with the NFB at Sundance New Frontier (Bear 71) and Tribeca Storyscapes (A Journal of Insomnia, Circa 1948, Do Not Track, Seances), including the recent world premiere of Draw Me Close, created by Jordan Tannahill and co-produced by National Theatre and the NFB.

Christine Cattano leads Framestore’s VR Studio as Global Head of VR and Executive Producer. As a co-founder of the VR Studio, she has actively grown the department from an interactive arm of the company, into a dedicated studio focused on virtual reality, building an infrastructure to support this exciting new creative technology while still in its infancy. Notable projects have included the highly-awarded Game of Thrones‘Ascend the Wall’ experience, Avengers ‘Escape from Avengers Tower’ and Merrell’s ‘Trailscape.’ In 2016 Framestore won the Grand Prix in Mobile at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity for their innovative VR content with General Electric as part of The New York Times first foray into the medium, ‘#nytvr.’ Cattano has recently shared her VR expertise with publications including Contagious, Wired, AdAge and Shots, and made Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People in Advertising list for 2015. She has also given talks on Virtual Reality at the Web Summit in Dublin, SXSW and the Most Contagious event in London.

Alissa Crevier is a marketing and brand partnerships executive with a background in streaming music, artist management, music and entertainment, and original content development. Her industry experience comes from a career at The Bowery Presents, PledgeMusic, and Spotify, where she served as both the Global Head of Original Content & Artist Marketing and the Director of Brand Partnerships in North America. Crevier sits on the Advisory Boards at both Trinity College in Hartford, CT and The Pablove Foundation in Los Angeles, CA. She is the Global Head of Brand Partnerships at Littlstar, a premium distribution platform dedicated to showcasing the most immersive VR and 360 content around the globe.


Dessy Levinson is a venture investor and creative director who is obsessed with the power of narrative. As the Vice President & Head of Story at 645 Ventures, she leads investments in Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR), machine learning, and computer vision, hoping to bring the future a little closer. Levinson spent fifteen years as a creative director, acquiring a deep understanding of the digital consumer mindset while leading marketing initiatives for Colgate Palmolive, Gerber, Century 21, Mall of America, and A&E, as well as for grass-roots viral campaigns in entertainment. She now deploys her storytelling experience to assist portfolio companies by creating strategic narratives that empower fundraising, customer acquisition, and hiring. Levinson currently serves on the advisory board of Storyverse and is actively gathering, connecting, and enabling storytelling in the VR space.

Adi Robertson is a New York-based senior reporter at The Verge. Her first stint in journalism was at the Cornell Daily Sun after completing a BA in China and Asia specific studies at Cornell. Her unique writing style caught the attention of Vox Media where she’s been covering leading issues in policy, technology, and interactive media for The Verge since 2011.


Veda Shastri
is a documentary filmmaker and immersive journalist. She is currently a producer of The Daily 360 at The New York Times where she handles international coverage in 360 video. She recently produced the series Genocide’s Legacyas well as an interactive from inside Fukushima, Japan. She co-wrote, produced & directed a Virtual Reality documentary, Return to Chernobyl for PBS’ Frontline, which was released in April 2016. Shastri has also reported on women’s rights and global security, immigration and identity politics, LGBT reform and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Johanna Salazar (Moderator) is Chief Media Disrupter and Partner at Two Goats VR. With over 17 years of experience in TV production, content strategy and format development, she has a history of launching linear and digital networks for US and global audiences. Salazar has managed over $20M budgets, integrated new and emerging technologies into creative storytelling, and loves making sense of data. She is formerly the Vice President of Production Planning & Operations for the Content Management & Production Technologies Group at Viacom, for the following brands: MTV, VH1, Logo, Comedy Central, Spike, CMT, TV Land and Paramount Network. Salazar has also worked with Youtube, Cirque Du Soleil, Food Network, launched the Miami Chapter of Young Women Social Entrepreneurs and in 2010 received an MBA from Florida International University.

Produced by
Tracy Daniels, Rosalind Murphy and Casper Wong

June 9 @ 9:00am
9:00 am — 1:00 pm (4h)

641 6th Avenue, 8th Floor (Between 19th & 20th Streets) Armstrong Event & Conference Room

Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.