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Building Narrative Worlds: Digital Design for Cinema | World Building Institute
USC Cinematic Arts

As concrete and systematic the world we live in seems to be, it is the product of centuries of visionary designs, inventions, and creations by imaginative thinkers who have envisioned a world beyond the one they lived in. Production designers who are tasked with creating entirely new worlds and alternate universes must be able to think freely and outside of the box in order to imagine and render these narrative worlds. In this session, various production designers will explain how screenwriters, filmmakers, and producers can create entirely new worlds where their films will be set. Discussing methods, and showing digital tools available to manifest these ideas will be the main focus of this interactive panel with production designers Alex McDowell (MINORITY REPORT), Uli Hanisch (THE INTERNATIONAL), Habib Zargarpour (THE BOURNE IDENTITY), and acclaimed visual artist and photographer Thomas Demand.

A video of the full event is available on the Berlinale Talent Campus website: 
http://www.berlinale-talentcampus.de/campus/program/telelecture/1126 (90 mins).


  • Moderator:
    Andrew Shoben
    Artist and Educator, Founder of Greyworld

    Founder of Greyworld, which has created works in hugely coveted locations across the world and has permanent installations in twelve countries. Notable works include “The Source“ for the London Stock Exchange, “Paint“ for Nokia, and “Sun“ for Trafalgar Square, London. He is professor of public art at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has recently been nominated as president of the Royal Society of Sculptors.

  • Panelist:
    Thomas Demand

    German conceptual artist, photographer and filmmaker, famous for his pictures of three-dimensional models based on real locations and his experimental animation films. He had exhibitions in all major cities, including the Tate Gallery in London, the MoMA in New York and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.

  • Panelist:
    Uli Hanisch
    Production Designer

    Production designer and art director for films such as Tom Tykwer‘s THREE, THE INTERNATIONAL and HEAVEN as well as for films by Enki Bilal, Peter Greenaway, Christoph Schlingensief and Leander Haußmann. He won a German Film Award for his production design of Oliver Hirschbiegel‘s THE EXPERIMENT and the German and European Film Award for Tykwer‘s PERFUME.

  • Panelist:
    Alex McDowell RDI
    Creative Director, experimental.design; Professor, USC SCA; Director, World Building Media Lab, World Building Institute

    Production designer and film producer, he has worked with Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg and David Fincher. His filmography includes FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, FIGHT CLUB, MINORITY REPORT and the upcoming SUPERMAN reboot. He is also founder and director of “5D Institute”, an interdisciplinary network focusing on the impact of technologies in design fields.

  • Panelist:
    Habib Zargarpour
    Creative Director, Microsoft Game Studios

    Iranian-born visual art director and effects specialist. He has done digital effects for films like STAR WARS EPISODE I, STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT and THE BOURNE IDENTITY. He was nominated for the Oscar for his effects work on TWISTER and THE PERFECT STORM. Since 2003 he has been senior art director and creative director at Electronic Arts and the Microsoft Game Studio.