Jess Engel is a new media storyteller focused on producing narrative-driven VR/AR experiences, films and digital content. As Founder at Crimes of Curiosity, Jess, alongside Darren Aronofsky’s company Protozoa and French-based VR studio AtlasV, produced Eliza McNitt’s SPHERES, an interactive three-part series that explores the songs of the cosmos in virtual reality. At the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, SPHERES made history as the world's first ever acquisition of a VR experience.
Prior to starting Crimes of Curiosity, Jess was the Director of Original Content at WITHIN, a technology and media company founded by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin. She executive produced Tyler Hurd’s Chorus, a social VR experience set to the music Justice; Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's Look But With Love; and produced Zach Richter’s Hallelujah, made using Lytro’s cutting-edge technology. Jess' work with VR goes back further, as before WITHIN she was the Executive Producer at Virtualize where she produced Eliza McNitt’s Fistful of Stars as well as Milica Zec and Winslow Porter's Giant.
Before launching into the virtual world, Jess served as the Creative Executive at Electric City Entertainment where she worked on critically acclaimed films such as Matt Ross’ Captain Fantastic and Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond The Pines.
Jess is a Sundance New Frontier fellow and mentor and a frequent ambassador for VR and new media storytelling. Her work has been showcased at premiere festivals all over the world, including: Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Cannes, Sonar+, Phi Centre, and NYFF, among others.
[Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.]