Award-winning documentary maker Anthony Geffen hosts virtual session for Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Photo: WAM

Anthony Geffen, one of the world’s leading documentary filmmakers and a pioneer in Virtual Reality, VR, and Augmented Reality, AR, productions, was the latest expert to be featured in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair’s, ADIBF, Virtual Session series.

As the 30th edition of the ADIBF has been postponed until next year, guests who were scheduled to appear at the fair have presented their talks remotely, allowing viewers to watch from their own homes.

Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, the session on Tuesday evening featured Geffen, CEO and Creative Director of Atlantic Productions, an award-winning documentary company which is now pioneering immersive storytelling through VR and AR.

Geffen detailed the work of Atlantic Productions 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 British broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough, on 14 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 through the universe.

Geffen also talked of his work with New York University Abu Dhabi to teach the technology behind immersive storytelling.

The session concluded with Geffen describing how immersive storytelling will eventually benefit all areas of the economy. He believes advances in technology means that it will be commonplace in a few years, and 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 under lockdown in their homes new ways to experience the world.

The previous ADIBF Virtual Sessions included presentations by Annabel Karmel, renowned children’s cookbook author; Korky Paul, illustrator behind the multi-million selling "Winnie and Wilbur" series, and Nick Arnold, author of the "Horrible Science" children’s books.

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