LOS ANGELES – In response to the scarcity of narrative storytelling in the emerging virtual reality (VR) space, previsualization pioneer Daniel Gregoire and seasoned producer Steve Holtzman announce the formation of MatterVR, a new content company dedicated to creating the next generation of enhanced entertainment experiences.
MatterVR is currently developing original and licensed story-based VR content, with a growing stable of leading directors and writers.
Gregoire and Holtzman met on the FOX production Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey. Holtzman served as Producer, and Gregoire as Animatic Director, on the multiple Emmy-award winning television series. Shortly after Cosmos wrapped, Gregoire was asked to create several VR projects and contacted Holtzman to produce. Forming MatterVR became an obvious decision for the two.
“We realized that while there were a lot of VR experiences, the kind of narrative storytelling that we are both passionate about was missing. We are creating powerful, emotional stories for the viewer which will draw them even further into the experience,” said Holtzman.
Holtzman has been a Producer and Production Executive for over 20 years, including serving as Vice President of Production for Atlas Media, and Director of Business Development for Banyan Productions.
Gregoire, one of the pioneers of previsualization and owner of HALON Entertainment, began his career in 1996 creating immersive adventure games at Presto Studios. This experience led to previsualization of live-action scenes for George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode II & III in large digital environments. He has since created complex 3D worlds on over two-dozen films including War of the Worlds, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, and 2015 Best Picture Academy-Award Winner Birdman.
"Great VR content requires careful planning. It is essential to use previs so the viewer has a positive immersive experience,” said Gregoire. “I know because I began my career creating 360 degree nodes that had to tell a story in all directions. It’s a skill I’ve refined when working with my favorite directors. VR feels like I’m coming home.”
MATTERvr’s initial slate of projects includes:
Two Moons - Created & Directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House, Poltergeist)
Untitled Jason Clark Project - Created and Produced by Jason Clark (42, Ted, Ted 2)
Aesop & Friends with Terry Jones - Created & Directed by Steven Holtzman
Soul Transfer - Created & Directed by Daniel Gregoire
Untitled Historic Recreation - Produced with Jonah Hirsch and James Knight (Zypre)
Untitled Iain McCaig Project - Created and Directed by Iain McCaig (Star Wars I/II/III/VII, Avengers, Jungle Book, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Untitled Dan Povenmire Project - Created & Directed by Dan Povenmire (Phineas and Ferb)
MatterVR also announces gaming and technology industry veterans Farshid Almassizadeh and Richard Kerris as Advisory Board Members.
Almassizadeh has nearly 25 years of experience in the computer, video and mobile gaming industries. He was recently COO at GlobalWide Media, where he was responsible for all technologies, daily operations and overall growth of the company. Prior to that, Almassizadeh was the VP and COO of Electronic Arts Interactive, a $1.2 billion division that included EA Mobile, Pogo, Playfish and PopCap Studios. He joined EA and Maxis in 2003 to establish the Sims Console Division. Almassizadeh’s initial foray into the gaming industry was co-founding one of the premiere independent development studios, known as Presto Studios, Inc. in 1991.
Kerris’ most recent company, Kinetic Minds, was acquired in 2014 by GET.IT Mobile, where he now serves as their CMO. Kerris brings over 25 years’ experience in the technology sector, including executive positions at Apple, CTO of Lucasfilm, and VP roles at HP & Nokia. Kerris has a hands-on approach with emerging technologies and has been directly involved with bands such as the Rolling Stones ’50 & Counting’ tour, and most recently The Backstreet Boys documentary, Show Em What You’re Made Of. He also has a deep understanding of the VR space having worked as a advisor on multiple VR Capture devices and productions.
Daniel Gregoire will act as Director for, and Steve Holtzman as Executive Producer for MatterVR.