Hollywood on the Wasatch Front



  • Capitol Complex, State Office Building Auditorium (map)
  • 450 N State St
  • Salt Lake City, UT, 84114
  • United States

The Utah Breakfast Club is pleased to debut in 2015 with a special two-part launch event: “Making Utah an Entertainment and Technology Hub.” 

The first event will take place on Thursday, January 15, 2015, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Utah State Capitol Complex, State Office Building Auditorium. It is about “Hollywood on the Wasatch Front.”

The second event will take place on Friday, January 30, 2015, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Gateway, and is part of the StartSLC: Utah's Largest Grassroots Startup Festival. It is on "Silicon Slopes: How Real is the Marketing Hype?"

"Hollywood on the Wasatch Front"
Utah Breakfast Club Event
Utah State Capitol Complex, State Office Building Auditorium
Thursday, January 15, 2015, 7 a.m.-9 a.m.

Well-known as a high-tech haven, Utah also has a supporting role in independent film production, which is showcased each January at the Sundance Film Festival. Less well-publicized is the key role that Salt Lake City has played in computer graphics and digital animation, helping to build a digital entertainment nexus on the Wasatch Front. This panel discussion will assemble key leaders in film and video entertainment to explore questions about Utah’s accomplishments and its promise, about incentives for production, about cultivating talent and about the state’s branding. What do these important industries need to take the next step?

Confirmed Panelists Include:
Craig CaldwellUSTAR Senior Research Professor, Digital Media Cluster; and Arts Director, Engineering Arts and Entertainment, University of Utah
Jon Dean, CEO XacFAQ and Guv1; formerly with EA
Virginia Pearce, Director, Utah Film Commission
Clark Stacey, CEO, Wildworks
Marshall N. Wright, Director, Business Development, Governor's Office of Economic Development
Moderator - Drew Clark, Founder, Utah Breakfast Club; Of Counsel, Kirton McConkie

USTAR stands for Utah Science Technology and Research initiative

Panelist Bios:

Craig Caldwell, USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) Professor, Film and Media Arts Department and Adjunct in the School of Computer Science. Director of the Arts, Entertainment Arts and Engineering. (ranked #1 in 2013 by Princeton Review). Industry experience: Walt Disney Feature Animation and Electronic Arts. Academic background includes Head of the largest Film School in Australia at Griffith University, Brisbane; and Head of the Media Arts Department, University of Arizona, Tucson. Recent conference presentations - FMX2013, SIGGRAPH ‘13, Mundos Digitales ‘14, and SIGGRAPH Asia ’14.

Jon Dean is a games industry veteran. Jon has been making digital entertainment for more than twenty-five years, building teams and studios, designing games, managing products "hands-on" from initial concept through funding, development and live operation. Most recently he was a Vice-President at the World's #1 videogame company, Electronic Arts; General Manager of their Salt Lake and Raleigh/Durham development & production studios, and Executive Producer of many hit games for EA and EA SPORTS.

Virginia Pearce has over 15 years of experience in marketing and external relations in the film industry. Pearce was formerly the Director of Marketing & Community Programs at Spy Hop, a nonprofit youth media organization that mentors teens in digital media creation, overseeing all external relations and community programming. She joined Spy Hop in 2010 after serving as the Associate Director of Artist Relations at Sundance Institute since 1998. While there, she managed relationships with the Institute’s film, music and theatre artists, managed the Institute’s artist labs program and created the Sundance Institute Alumni program. Pearce got her start as a commercial photographer and worked in Seattle, Maine, Boston and Paris.

Clark Stacey is the co-founder and CEO of WildWorks, a leading developer of online worlds and free-to-play games for kids (formerly called Smart Bomb Interactive). In 2010, the company launched Animal Jam, which has since become the largest online social network for kids in North America. Incorporating educational content in association with National Geographic, the Animal Jam game world connects over 85 million animal avatars created by kids, with a new one joining every 1.2 seconds. Clark was pursuing a career in academia when his passion for technology, storytelling, and explosions drew him to game development in 1992. He began his career in interactive entertainment with Beyond Games, where he contributed to a decade of successful games, including Redline, Motor Mayhem, Hot Wheels: Velocity X, and many more -- all of which depended heavily on explosions. Together with co-founders Kris Johnson and Jeff Amis, Clark started WildWorks in 2003 with a commitment to bringing the production values of AAA games to kids’ products that provide fun with substance. From their studio locations in Salt Lake City and Amsterdam, the WildWorks team of 125 developers is now extending the Animal Jam experience into mobile games and other media.

Marshall Wright is the Director, Business Development for the State of Utah, Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). He is responsible for the development of new and the sustaining of Utah businesses in the economic industry sectors serving the Aerospace and Defense markets. Specifically he is focused on new and transformative technologies.  Additionally he has looked to the opportunities to transfer  military technologies and systems to  commercial and civil applications. Mr. Wright has over 45 years of experience in engineering, marketing and business management in the technology sector. Mr. Wright started his career at the Sperry  Corporation, where he was 
an engineer and manager responsible for the design of radar systems for the Navy.  Later at Unisys (successor to Sperry and predecessor to L-3 Communications) Mr.Wright  was a marketing director for Navy programs and began to see the  opportunities for Unmanned Systems. In 2005, Mr. Wright retired as director of strategic planning and business development for Homeland Security programs for the Utah division of L-3 Communications, Communications Systems- West and began his tenure at GOED.

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