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World's First Immersive Storytelling Festival to Hit NYC This Fall

The Future of StoryTelling (FoST) today announced the debut of The Future of StoryTelling Festival (FoST FEST), taking place October 7-9 in New York City and featuring 75,000 square feet of exhibitions and other programming--including more than 50 hands-on technology demos, virtual-reality (VR) and augmented-reality (AR) exhibits, interactive installations, panel conversations, 360 films, games, live theater performances, and a multiperson VR theater.

FoST FEST is a first-of-its-kind exploration of the emerging technologies and methods transforming storytelling as we know it, and the revolution putting audiences at the center of the story. It will bring together leaders from around the world across media, technology, and communications with the best creators of immersive storytelling, both digital and analog, to explore how new technologies are shaping storytelling in the digital age.

"Audiences are hungry for unique, memorable experiences that make them active participants in their own stories, allow them to fully inhabit three-dimensional virtual worlds, and to have real agency over the role they play in them," says FoST Founder and Director Charles Melcher.

Open to the public, FoST FEST will draw on NYC's preeminence in theater, arts and culture, film and television, advertising, technology, gaming, publishing, and journalism. Participants will be among the first to experience many of the exhibits and programing, with more than 25 world and US premieres set to debut.

The main FoST FEST exhibition space--called the FoST Playground--will include the best and newest immersive storytelling experiences. This includes the world premiere of Holojam Flock, a 30-person VR dance experience created and directed by NYU's David Lobser, in which you join a flock of birds following a mother bird; Star Trek: Bridge Crew, a VR game that puts players in the heart of a starship as an officer of the Federation--where every decision determines the fate of their ship and crew; Alex in Wonderland, an animated short film by award-winning director Maya Sanbar that is enhanced by a scent track from Vapor Communications' handheld Cyrano "scent speaker." Other highlights include Be Boy Be Girl, a multisensory experiment that engages sight, hearing, touch, and smell so our bodies become vehicles to experience gender fluidity; Flippaper, which enables anyone to create their own pinball game with paint markers and a simple sheet of paper and play it on a game machine straight out of science fiction; and Magic Dance Mirror, which creates a graphically-stylized mirror image of the user and with animated visuals based on the user's movement, audio, and social interactions.

Attendees will hear from today's biggest names in entertainment, design, and technology who are helping to shape the storytelling landscape in informal conversation panels moderated by experts such as Linda Boff, CMO at GE; Frank Rose, best-selling author of The Art of Immersion; Felix Barrett, Artistic Director of Punchdrunk; Lance Weiler, Director of Experiential Learning & Applied Creativity at Columbia University; and editors from Vox Media, the New York Times, CNN, The Verge, and Polygon discussing new directions in gaming and VR. Featured participants will include Philip Rosedale, founder of High Fidelity and Second Life; Jessica Brillhart, principal filmmaker for VR at Google; Hugh Howey, best-selling author; Gabo Arora, creative director and senior advisor to the United Nations, and more.

FoST FEST is partnering with NYC-based organizations across the city to host dozens of satellite events that will showcase the best in city-wide storytelling from participatory theater performances, live action role-playing games, interactive art installations, and more. Featured partners and projects will include The Skin Deep's {THE AND} at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music; The Blind Spot's Hall Pass; the Broadway premiere of Complicite's The Encounter starring Simon McBurney; Punchdrunk's Sleep No More; Third Rail Projects' Then She Fell and The Grand Paradise; and Madame Tussauds/The VOID's Ghostbusters: Dimension.

Rounding out FoST FEST will be a free Community Day for families on October 9, taking place outdoors in the space surrounding the FoST Playground at The Africa Center--with kid-friendly games, pop-up performances by local artists, hands-on experiences, and a Family VR Cinema. The day will end with the US premiere of the VR music experience "LIGHT" by the music and art collective MAE (Multisensory Aesthetic Experience).

On the last day of the FoST FEST (October 9), FoST and Time Warner will be announcing the winner of the FoST Prize People's Choice Award. Twenty finalists have been chosen by a panel of judges, and their projects will be showcased at the FEST. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience the projects at the FEST and vote for their favorite, while anyone can also cast their vote on the FoST FEST website or app. The project that receives the most votes will win $10,000.

The winner of the third-annual FoST Prize Juried Award, which awards $10,000 to the most exceptional interactive story of the year, will also be announced at this year's invitation-only FoST Summit (October 5-6). The FoST Summit gathers top thinkers and practitioners from diverse fields to share ideas and experiences that further our understanding of the art, science, and business of communication in the twenty-first century and beyond. The preliminary lineup includes leaders and artists from the likes of Microsoft HoloLens, Spotify, Vox Media, Cartoon Network, Amazon Studios, Upworthy, and Punchdrunk, among many others. See the full lineup at:

"Storytelling is a key element in the media and entertainment we consume--and there is no better place for this innovative festival to launch than right here in New York City," says NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "We are thrilled that FoST FEST will bring so many of our city's influential cultural institutions together for this remarkable series of events and experiences for New Yorkers to enjoy."

Check out a FoST FEST preview video below!

To purchase tickets and to view the full FoST FEST lineup, visit Regular-Price Ticket, including access to the FoST Playground and VR Theater: $75. Conversation Panels/Special Sessions: $10/session.

The Future of StoryTelling (FoST)() is a passionate community of visionaries from the worlds of media, technology, and communications who are exploring how storytelling is evolving in the digital age. In addition to an annual invitation-only Summit (now entering its fifth year), FoST also produces a wide range of content and programming, such as curated exhibitions, including Sensory Stories, which showcased an array of new narrative experiences and attracted more than 45,000 visitors to New York's Museum of the Moving Image and Montreal's Phi Centre last year and this year; an annual series of short films, with upward of three million views to date, highlighting the people and big ideas shaping the storytelling landscape; regular influencer salons, Tech Tastings(TM), and storytelling workshops designed to strengthen and inspire content producers and distributors in marketing and communications; and a popular blog and other social media content aimed at FoST's network of over half a million enthusiastic followers.

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