Lance Weiler is a storyteller, entrepreneur, and thought leader. An alum of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Weiler is recognized as a pioneer because of the way he mixes storytelling and technology. WIRED magazine named him “One of twenty-five people helping to re-invent entertainment.” He has successfully self-distributed his films The Last Broadcast and Head Trauma to more than 20 countries while grossing over 5 million dollars in the process. The Last Broadcast, which he co-wrote and co-directed, became the first film to be distributed digitally to theaters in 1998.
Always interested in experimenting with new ways to tell stories and reach audiences, Weiler developed a cinema augmented reality game (ARG) around his second feature Head Trauma. Over 2.5 million people experienced the game via theaters, mobile drive-ins, phones, and online. In recognition of these cinematic gaming innovations, BUSINESSWEEK named him “One of the 18 Who Changed Hollywood.” Others on the list included Thomas Edison, George Lucas and Steve Jobs.
Weiler is the Director of Experiential Learning and Applied Creativity at Columbia University. The appointment is part of a campus wide initiative entitled Learn Do Share, an effort to R&D the future of learning and work by harnessing storytelling, game mechanics, design thinking, and technology. In addition, he is a founding member and director of the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab. The lab explores new forms and functions of storytelling. The lab’s first prototype, entitled Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things, was developed by Weiler and renowned game designer Nick Fortugno. The project reimagines the work of Arthur C. Doyle as it experiments with authorship and ownership of stories while at the same time examining the ethical and political issues surrounding the Internet of Things. Working with 1,200 collaborators from 60+ countries, Weiler lead the creative direction of the world’s largest connected crime scene, which kicked off with a special presentation at Lincoln Center during the New York Film Festival. Over 70 events were held around the globe, and in 2016, the project expanded to include artificial intelligence (AI) as a collaborative storytelling tool.
Currently, Weiler is developing a number of film, TV and gaming projects with his writing partner Chuck Wendig. Weiler’s project entitled HiM won the Arte France Cinema award and was selected by the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, marking the first time the lab has supported a feature film/immersive storytelling project. HiM was developed with Ted Hope (21 Grams) and Anne Carey (The American). HiM is currently being produced by Christine Vachon (Boys Don’t Cry, Carol). On the television front, Lance and Chuck are developing a TV series with Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. Of this dark episodic tale that is being developed for a major cable outlet, Lance is a creator, co-writer and executive producer.
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