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Hello. My name is Karen Vanderborght, a tech savvy creative director, born and raised in Brussels. Now based in Toronto, I haven’t lost that slightly off kilter, imaginative Belgian swag.

I have a diverse and international background, as well as an eclectic music collection. Starting in the “naughties” as a media artist, VJ/DJ-ing, curating underground media art, even co-founding an art house cinema which still operates to this day. To blow off steam, I played Space Invaders on my Atari 2600 and Fantavision on my Playstation 2. Since moving to Canada, I worked as a director, DOP, and editor for broadcast documentary productions, and upgraded to a Nintendo Wii.

Over the last 4 years I have circled back to my first passion - exploring new technologies to propel stories to places they have never gone before. I feel grateful to be able to work as a creative director on VR, AR and interactive productions with clients like the United Nations, the National Film Board of Canada and Radio Canada, among others. Winters can be long, so narrative games are my blanket, and my PSVR headset, my cushion.

I teach design and technology courses at OCADU and Ryerson University. Recently I received grants from the Canada Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council for my AR project, Grey Matter and got some great press reviews.

I hope we can make beautiful, weirdly contagious projects together. Let's mix and match VR, AR, 360° video, volumetric video, point clouds with innovative storytelling.

My strengths:

  • I want things to look good, because charm works better than spam.
  • My currency is ideas, and I combine a visionary imagination with practical solutions.
  • I’m generous by nature and inspire people to give their best.
  • My goal is to make people smile.
  • I am a thinker who tinkers playfully with new technology, linking creative code with human-centred design and visceral content.
  • Give me a seed and I will grow you a tree (with fruit you can pluck).
  • I’m a punk who can count and on whom you can count.

Oh yeah, I practice martial arts and live by the way of the sword that gives life.

Talks

  1. I-Doc Conference. Bristol, UK. 2018.

    Presentation of VR prototype Without A Roof

  2. MIT Open Documentary Lab. Boston, USA. 2018.

    Guest lecture on interactive tools for 360 video and mentoring of course students.

  3. Taipei Film Festival. Taipei, Taiwan. 2018.

    Panelist, jury member, and guest speaker with a lecture on inclusion in VR.

  4. Regard Bleu Festival And Conference. Zürich, CH. 2018.

    Lecture and VR workshop focused on its potential in anthropological research.

  5. MIT Open Documentary Lab. Boston, USA. 2017.

    Public lecture on ethics in VR

  6. Ryerson University, School Of Image Arts. Toronto. 2017.

    Guest lecture on 360 video and VR production.

  7. Interactive Ontario Digital Lunch. Toronto. 2017.

    Panelist on application of VR in digital journalism.

  8. Les Tablettistes, Idello/TFO. Ottawa. 2017.

    Panelist on VR in education and the classroom of tomorrow.

  9. Sheridan College, Trafalgar Campus. Toronto. 2017.

    Overview of VR in Communication, Culture and Information Technology department.

  10. Sheridan College, Trafalgar Campus. Toronto. 2016.

    Overview of VR in Communication, Culture and Information Technology department.

  11. Canadian Film Centre. Toronto. 2016.

    The first virtual reality creative doc lab produced by the CFC Media Lab, The National Film Board of Canada and Justfilms/Ford Foundation with diverse participants from the US and Canada.

  12. ICFF Industry Day, Pinewood Studios/SIRT. Toronto. 2016.

    Speaker on 360 video production and post-production for documentary.

  13. NFB XP. Montréal. 2016.

    Participant in an exceptional private VR/AR incubator/workshop organized by the NFB, Mutek and Quartier Des Spectacles.

  14. TIFF POP VR 01. Toronto. 2016.

    Panelist on VR art and music.

  15. Input TV. Calgary. 2016.

    International public broadcasters conference. Speaker on VR best practices.

  16. WIFT (Women In Film and Television). Toronto. 2016.

    Executive breakfast series. Presenting a case-study of Kinshasa Now VR project.

  17. Mutek. Montréal. 2016.

    Speaker and panelist. Presenting a case study of Ocean School VR prototype (NFB).

  18. Journal La Presse. Montréal. 2015.

    Workshop teaching journalists and camera crew the basics of 360 video production.

Awards

  1. Research and Creation Grant

    Canada Council for the Arts. 2018.

  2. Media Arts Project Grant

    Ontario Arts Council. 2018.

  3. Bronze Remi Award

    Houston International Film Festival (US). 2010.

  4. Honorable Mention

    Mockfest Hollywood (US) . 2010.

  5. 1st Prize in the Art & Culture category

    Boomerang. 2010.

  6. Best Film

    15/15 Film Festival (AUS). 2003.

  7. Student Award for Photography

    KODAK. 1995.