About Riggs

Stephanie Riggs

Sunchaser Entertainment

Going on 20 years now, I have been constantly reading, evaluating, and dreaming immersive content. This blog is a collection of thoughts, experiments, and experiences contributing to this constantly evolving landscape. From virtual reality to augmented reality to immersive entertainment, this is an open conversation with other people who dream immersively.

More about me:
I began developing interactive virtual worlds in the 1990s under the visionary Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture), right around the time when the promise of virtual reality began to fizzle. So I continued working with storytellers – from emerging playwrights in San Francisco to massive media conglomerates in Los Angeles. After building an Intel Capital Company that was a bit too far ahead of the curve to survive, I founded the short-lived but robust Business Arts Marketing non-profit to connect artists with corporate executives that could help them make a living through their work.

I continued to direct and produce traditional narrative productions that I found compelling, while still pushing the boundaries of storytelling and technology.  My documentary feature “The Standbys” is a a New York Times Critic’s Pick and continues to play in theaters across the country. I also produced the award-winning feature thriller “Banshee Chapter” with Zachary Quinto, which pushed the boundaries of stereoscopic 3D filmmaking. As a Disney Imagineer, I was part of the production team that brought to life Hong Kong Disneyland. Other collaborations have included: Walt Disney Productions, HBO, Carmike Cinemas, AMC

With the recent advent of consumer-viable VR technology,  my disparate loves of technology and entertainment are back in harmony. I produced “Banshee Chapter: Oculus Rift Edition”, the first feature film ever released on the Oculus Rift. In 2015, I was invited to film Barack Obama historic speech in Nairobi, Kenya in 360, making him the first US President recorded in virtual reality. My  VR documentary “Kanju” premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and was released on JauntVR in 2017. Other projects include “Monet in Giverny” for InceptionVR, “Angst: the Panic Attack” for IndieFlixVR, and “Holojam in Wonderland” with Ken Perlin’s Future Realities Lab at NYU (Future of Storytelling 2017). And I continue to develop VR interfaces that support digital societies and build experiences strongly founded in HCI principles to tell great stories. I have collaborated with companies such as GoogleVR, InceptionVR, JauntVR, and Total Cinema 360. Currently, I developed, directed and produced immersive content through Sunchaser Entertainment, a company I founded to produce story-driven virtual and live immersive experiences and software. Currently, I am the Creative Director of Experiential at Refinery29, evolving our immersive cultural funhouse, 29Rooms, and working with clients such as Facebook, Reebok, Netflix, Intuit, and Bonobos.

I love sharing information on immersive content, speaking across the world at conferences such as SIGGRAPH, Tribeca Film Festival, IEEE, Digital Media Summit, World Immersion Forum (Brussels), and the Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival on the future of narrative, immersive experiences, and technology. Intent on increasing diversity in the immersive entertainment space, I am a mentor of Facebook/Oculus’ VR For Good initiative, and organizer of AR/VR Academy in NYC, and co-organizer of New York Women in VR.

I have a couple of degrees in Directing (Drama) and Human-Computer Interaction (Computer Science) from Carnegie Mellon University, and was invited to be in the inaugural class of the CMU’s Masters of Entertainment Technology program. I’m a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an Andrew Carnegie Society Scholar, and I co-led a very exciting group of graduate and undergraduate students in the Blended Reality research group at Yale University.