Award-winning Documentary Maker Anthony Geffen Hosts Virtual Session for Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
Anthony Geffen, one of the world’s leading documentary makers and a pioneer in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) productions, was the latest expert to feature in Abu Dhabi International Book Fair’s (ADIBF) Virtual Session series.
As the 30th edition of ADIBF has been postponed until next year, guests who were scheduled to appear at the fair have instead presented their talks remotely, allowing viewers to watch from the safety of their own homes.
Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the session on Tuesday evening featured Geffen, the CEO and Creative Director of Atlantic Productions, an award-winning documentary company which is now pioneering immersive storytelling through VR and AR.
Geffen detailed Atlantic Productions’ work with Image Nation, the Abu Dhabi media and entertainment company, to produce The History of the Emirates, which used technology to bring to life 125,000 years of human life in the region. Through VR, viewers could become part of this story, with features such as a history of the different eras of the Qasr Al Hosn complex or a recreation of the experience of pearl diving.
Geffen described how he has worked with the British broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough on 14 different projects, including ones portraying marine life in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and another allowing visitors to meet dinosaurs in the Natural History Museum in London. A soon-to-be released project features the late British scientist Stephen Hawking, allowing viewers to travel throughout the universe.
Geffen also talked of his work with New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) to teach the technology behind immersive storytelling, allowing students to have these skills as a toolkit in whatever career they choose.
The session concluded with Geffen describing how immersive storytelling will eventually benefit all areas of economy. He believed advances in technology means it will be commonplace in a few years’ time, so now is the time to invest and train in it. He also stated that the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting new opportunities in the field of immersive storytelling, giving viewers who are on lockdown in their homes new ways to experience the world.
Previous ADIBF Virtual Sessions included ones with Annabel Karmel, the renowned children’s cookbook author; Korky Paul, the illustrator behind the multi-million selling Winnie and Wilbur series; and Nick Arnold, the author of the Horrible Science children’s books.