Lance Weiler

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Lance Weiler
Born United States
Nationality American
Occupation Film director, writer, experience designer, educator

Lance Weiler is an American filmmaker and writer from Pennsylvania. Initially working as an assistant cameraman and camera operator on large commercial shoots, in Pennsylvania and later New York City,[1] he then co-directed, co-wrote, co-produced, and co-starred in The Last Broadcast in 1998. The Last Broadcast made cinematic history on October 23, 1998 by becoming the first all digital release of motion picture to be store and forward via geosynchronous satellite.[2]

In 2005 he wrote, directed, and co-produced his second film, Head Trauma, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2006.

He sits on two World Economic Forum steering committees, one on the future of content creation and another on digital policy. He is part of the Cinema Research Institute think tank on the future of film at NYU[3] and teaches at Columbia University[4] on the art, craft and business of storytelling in the 21st century.

He founded the content creator resource The Workbook Project and network, the discovery and distribution film festival From Here to Awesome, and a complementary conference series, DIY Days.[5]

Weiler wrote a column on digital media-related topics at the Blog Herald[6] from 2006 to 2007.[7] He is also a regular columnist for Filmmaker Magazine. His column entitled "Culture Hacker" [8] deals with the intersection of tech and entertainment.

His work has been featured in Time, Forbes,[9] and Wired,[10] and on television programs such as Entertainment Tonight and CNN[citation needed]. His first feature, The Last Broadcast, is currently[when?] distributed in over 20 countries. It has the honor of being the first all-digital release of a motion picture to theaters nationwide, and has enjoyed runs on HBO and IFC. To date, The Last Broadcast, a self-distributed effort, has grossed over 4.5 million dollars worldwide.

Head Trauma had its world premiere at the LA Film Festival in 2006 and had a 17-city DIY digital theatrical run before hitting stores and retail outlets nationwide on DVD. Weiler developed a cinema ARG (alternate reality game) around 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 Lance "One of the 18 Who Changed Hollywood".[11]

Lance and his writing partner Chuck Wendig's Collapsus - an energy risk conspiracy received an International Emmy nomination for best Digital Fiction in 2011.[12]

In 2010, Lance and Chuck Wendig attended the Sundance Screenwriters Lab with their script for HiM.[13]

At Sundance 2011, Weiler released Pandemic,[14] a transmedia experience playing out across film, mobile, web and a live experience.[10]

In the fall of 2013, Lance created, an immersive storytelling / play experience entitled Body/Mind/Change, which launched at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto.[15] The project was a collaboration with David Cronenberg, the Toronto International Film Festival and Canadian Film Center media lab. Body/Mind/Change was scheduled to travel to museums around world over the following four years. Designed to capture players' and viewers' data within the experience, the project is the first of its kind. Fast Company interviewed Weiler, and he explained, "It plays into the whole data movement and our obsession with it and the narcissistic qualities of it. As you’re playing the experience, we're collecting certain data points, and in the museum space we're 3-D printing PODs based on your emotional intelligence. Data is being generated about our lives all the time, so I thought it would be fun to play with that idea of quantified self but have it manifest in something real".[16]

From 2014 to present Weiler has co-created immersive adaptions of Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein. These works combine the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence in an effort to augment creativity and encourage collaborative storytelling. Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things has over 2,500 collaborators from 60 countries and to date more than 150 self-organized events have been staged around the world.[17] Most recently, Lance and collaborator Nicholas Fortugno have started prototyping a new immersive storytelling experience that mixes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with AI and Machine Learning.[18] In 2018, Frankenstein AI premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the New Frontier Section becoming one of the first Artificial Intelligence projects[19] to ever show at the festival.

In addition to making feature films, Weiler directs commercials and music videos.[citation needed] He often lectures at universities and film societies about the changing landscape of content creation and distribution. He has spoken at the Cannes, Berlin and Sundance Film Festivals and has consulted for large ad agencies, entertainment companies and corporations.

Weiler is also a founding member of the Digital Storytelling Lab [20] at Columbia University. Designed to explore the current and future landscape of storytelling, the Digital Storytelling Lab launched in the fall of 2013.

Selected films, series, games and interactive projects[edit]

  • The Last Broadcast (1998, producer, co-writer, actor, co-director)
  • Head Trauma (2006, producer, co-writer, director)
  • RADAR - 42 episodes (2009 to 2011, co-creator, producer)
  • Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy (2010 co-writer and narrative designer)
  • Pandemic 1.0 (2011, co-creator, co-writer, director and experience designer)
  • Robot Heart Stories (2011, 2012 - creator and experience designer)
  • Bear 71 (2012 - co-created installation and social narrative designer)
  • Wish for the Future (2012 - creator and experience designer)
  • Body Mind Change (2013–present - creative director and experience designer)
  • My Sky is Falling (2013–present - executive producer)
  • Lyka's Adventure (2013–present - creator and experience designer)
  • Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things (2014–present - co-creator, creative director and experience designer)
  • Frankenstein AI (2017–present co-creator, creative director and experience designer)
  • (de)escalation room (2017–present co-creator, creative director and experience designer)


  1. ^ "Lance Weiler". IMDb. 
  2. ^ "The First Broadcast". WIRED. 30 July 1998. 
  4. ^ Tim Appelo. "Ira Deutchman New Chair of Columbia's Film School (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  5. ^ "Learn Do Share". Learn Do Share. 
  6. ^ Blog Herald
  7. ^ Introducing Lance Weiler! (2006), retrieved April 5, 2007
  8. ^ "Dawning of the Story Hack". Filmmaker Magazine. 
  9. ^ "How To Tell Better Mobile Stories From The Man Creating Them One Pandemic And Smart Object At A Time". FORBES. 3 October 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Sundance Film Festival is Ground Zero for Lance Weiler's Pandemic 1.0". WIRED. 18 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "The 18 People Who Changed Hollywood". 
  12. ^ "Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy - The Creators Project". The Creators Project. 
  13. ^ "Sundance Institute Announces Twelve Feature Film Projects For January Screenwriters Lab". Sundance Screenwriters Lab. 14 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "Pandemic". IMDb. 24 January 2011. 
  15. ^ "Toronto Film Fest Asks Fans to Plug in to Cronenberg Films". WIRED. 7 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "When The Quantified Self Gets Creepy: Turning David Cronenberg's Science Fiction Into Reality". Co.Create. 
  17. ^ "Story Thinking How Sherlock Holmes Can Help Us Understand & Embrace Emergent Technologies". 
  18. ^ "Frankenstein AI: a monster made by many". Columbia DSL medium. 
  19. ^ Rafsky, Sara (2018-02-05). "A.I. as Auteur: Interactive 'Frankenstein' Experience Shows How Artificial Intelligence Could Be Storytelling's Future". IndieWire. Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  20. ^ "digital storytelling lab - exploring the future of storytelling". 

External links[edit]