During the fourth and final workshop of the Documentary Campus Materschool 2016, we will be hosting a networking event for documentary directors and producers in Cologne. The event will include presentations from leading experts in the documentary industry with a focus on Virtual Reality.

The event is organised in collaboration with:

picture alt


We will explore how the VR revolution could change the way non-fiction content is approached and produced, examine the advantages and disadvantages of 360° video and VR, discuss the ins and outs of creating on VR platforms and examine the implications for the post-screen world.

Concept & Moderation: Mark Atkin, Crossover Labs, UK


Welcome & Introduction

16:15–17:15 (incl. Q&A)
Session 1: Going from Documentary Filmmaker to VR 360 Director
• Josepha Ivanka (Joshka) Wessels, PhD, Sapiens Productions, Sweden

During the past two years, Joshka has transformed herself from documentary film director to VR experience designer and director. Until now she has made several VR productions combining stereoscopic and monoscopic 360 video with game engines such as Unity 3D, using fiction, documentary and POV storytelling. She will share her experience of transforming from documentary filmmaker into VR experience designer and director. What were the challenges and common mistakes? Why would you make VR anyway? What does empathy and theatre have to do with it?

17:15–18:15 (incl. Q&A)
Session 2: What’s the Point of VR?
• Phil Harper, IMRGE, London, UK

We are right at the beginning of the industry / reality of Virtual Reality. But before we jump feet first into this exciting new medium, shouldn't we try to figure out what the sweet spot is? As with any medium, there are pitfalls and opportunities. Phil will share his experience of falling into those pitfalls, and discovering new opportunities whilst he's in there!

Short Break

18:30–19:30 (incl. Q&A)
Session 3: Working with Broadcasters in an Evolving Media Landscape
• Mark Atkin, Crossover Labs, London, UK

Mark has been curating VR at Sheffield Doc/Fest and other festivals for the past three years and produced the BBC’s first commissioned VR documentary: Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel. He will share some insights into producing VR for a broadcaster and look to a future to where screens will start to disappear from our lives.



VR and innovative storytelling expert Annika Gustafson is the executive director of BoostHbg, a ground breaking fund and incubator for transmedia and VR in Helsingborg, Sweden. Long based in Montreal, she spent many years developing her creative and business expertise in the international film industry. Returning to Sweden, she produced the Financing Forum for Kids Content before joining BoostHbg as the Nordic countries' first Transmedia Commissioner. With her passion for strong stories that can develop organically over several platforms, Annika draws on her years of experience as an award winning filmmaker and producer to help creators and producers increase reach, impact, and financing possibilities. She’s a well sought after speaker and consultant and has been a member of many international jurys.

Phil Harper is a digital producer, writer and director. He started his career at ITN, managing the growth of their YouTube news channel to half a million subscribers in twelve months. He then joined Atlantic Productions where he was instrumental in creating Alchemy VR, a company using Virtual Reality as a medium for storytelling. He wrote and produced three innovative VR films, two of which feature an original narration by Sir David Attenborough. Both are now on show at the Australian Museum of Natural History in Sydney. He is now entirely focused on his own production company IMRGE, which specialises in digital and immersive storytelling.

Mark Atkin, Crossover Labs, is an award-winning independent producer, having been commissioned by BBC, Channel 4 and international networks over the past six years. He is the producer of the BBC's first Virtual Reality documentary, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel. His most recent film Atomic, has just completed a World Tour with Mogwai performing the soundtrack live, culminating at The Edinburgh International Festival and The Barbican. Other recent productions include The Show of Shows, with music by Sigur Ros, which received a theatrical release and has been programmed at MOMA in New York, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Barbican and Latitude; and Love Is All, with music by Richard Hawley, which was released theatrically. He has been multiplatform commissioner for Channel 4, documentary commissioner for SBS Australia, Head of Studies, Documentary Campus Masterschool, and has curated the interactive strand at the Sheffield Doc/Fest, at other festivals around the world, for the past six years. His latest production, RIOT, which uses facial recognition technology as the navigation method through a branching film narrative to see how you fare when a riot breaks out around you, was recently invited to The Future of Storytelling Festival in New York.


Attendance is free, but numbers are limited so please register by sending an email to by Thursday, 10th November with your name, company and email address. If you register, please do come!


Talks will be held in English and seats are limited. At the get together following the presentations you will have the opportunity to meet international documentary experts as well as the participants from this year’s Masterschool programme.

Nov 17, 2016
DC Initiative
Masterschool 2016
Registration Deadline
Nov 10, 2016
Startplatz, Im Mediapark 5, Cologne, Germany