March 5, 2013

The Berlinale Talent Campus in 5D

5D Institute Hosts Two Seminars in Berlin

By Valerie Turpin

Having a globally diverse marketplace is a key component for groundbreaking collaboration. For mediamakers pushing the forefront of technology, the Berlinale Talent Campus (BTC) hosts just the place for this community of innovative thinkers. As such, Alex McDowell, Co-Founder and Creative Director of the 5D Institute at the School of Cinematic Arts, recently visited the BTC in Berlin to discuss world building and its impact on technology’s use in design fields.

Habib Zargarpour and Alex McDowell lead the discussion on
"Building New Worlds: Prototyping Vision 1."

The BTC is a creative academy and networking platform for both emerging and seasoned filmmakers from around the globe to discuss the art of storytelling and how to continually push the moving image to new and unexpected heights. With nearly 100 workshops, lectures, panel discussions and training sessions, this six-day event provides a space for filmmakers new insight and and opportunities for filmmakers of varying interests and passions to explore new insights and collaborations of the moving image. This year’s Campus marked its eleventh event and specifically focused on how to successfully entertain and captivate audiences through storytelling.

With the idea of innovative storytelling in mind, McDowell explained, "I think of immersive design as a knife that can cut through the traditional silos that separate narrative media. It's a discipline that has a similar language, methodology and philosophy, whether it is applied to film, animation, interactive media, theater, architecture or the live experience space.  The 5D Institute, in its new partnership with SCA, remains very focused on using design as a platform for an interdisciplinary transmedia and cross-media discussion, and as the basis of a rich exchange of knowledge between disciplines, divisions, and industries. This opens up a unique and (r)evolutionary way to think about storytelling in the media space of the future. "

At the BTC, McDowell led two panel discussions on world building, a metaphor for the design and iteration process that creates story space in digital narrative media. The first panel, titled “Building New Worlds: Prototyping Vision I,” examined the role of worldbuilding in reexamining the creative process while discovering new ways of seeing, thinking, iterating and collaborating transmedia. Later that day, the 5D Institute held “World Building: Inhabiting the Imagination,”  a panel which allowed production designers and architects to discuss their methods of developing and creating spaces, both in reality and film, to investigate how technological advancements have redefined the possible.

Alex McDowell discusses World Building.

Partnered with SCA, the 5D Institute is a cutting-edge, non-profit organized research unit dedicated to the dissemination, education and appreciation of the future of narrative media through world building. Not limited to a single medium, world building transcends the borders and boundaries in film, animation, fashion, gaming, theatre, television, music, architecture, science, interactive media and more. For the past five years, the 5D Institute has remained the preeminent workshop and discussion space for immersive design and world building and is the world’s leading world building collective.

"The most interesting futures for world building at SCA lie in the students themselves," said McDowell. They have the necessary curiosity and urge to interrogate the future possibilities of all narrative media (some not yet imagined!). And, because it specifically addresses a cross-media, inter-disciplinary methodology to the inception and prototyping of stories and narrative environments, world building becomes the ideal space to explore the future of the way we will work. Not only in their direct development of new and emergent tools for storytelling, but also in developing a sophistication in thinking and practice that will have a profound effect on the industries that these students enter."

For more information on Berlinale Talent Campus, please visit
On the 5D Institute, please visit