Epic Games’ Karen Dufilho On Working With Tribeca Enterprises In 2021, Unreal Engine 5 & More – The Hype Magazine


Published on June 29th, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz

Founded in 1991, Epic Games is an American company founded by CEO Tim Sweeney. The company is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina and has more than 50 offices worldwide. Today, Epic is a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology. Epic operates Fortnite, one of the world’s largest games with over 400 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is also adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, and simulation. Through Unreal Engine, Epic Games Store, and Epic Online Services, Epic provides an end-to-end digital ecosystem for developers to build, distribute, and operate games and other content.

The 2021 Tribeca Festival was presented by AT&T and with the support of Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Audible, Bloomberg Philanthropies, CHANEL, City National Bank, CNN Films, Diageo, DoorDash, FreshDirect, Hudson Yards, Indeed, Montefiore-Einstein, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, P&G, PwC, Roku, Spring Studios New York, and the aforementioned Unreal Engine. It brings artists and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, games, music and online work. Its parent company Tribeca Enterprises is a multi-platform storytelling company, as established in 2003 by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. The company operates a network of entertainment businesses including the Tribeca Film Festival, the Tribeca TV Festival, and its branded entertainment production arm known as Tribeca Studios.

In late June 2021, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Epic Games’ Karen Dufilho — an award-winning producer, executive, and gatherer of creatives and innovators — about the past, present and future of Epic Games, inclusive of its recent work with Tribeca. More on Epic Games can be found by clicking here and here. More on Tribeca can be found by clicking here and here.

How did the opportunity to work with Tribeca Enterprises come about?

Karen Dufilho: I first met Jane Rosenthal from Tribeca Enterprises when they were having talks with Epic Games as part of the festival’s expanded effort to integrate games into this year’s event. As those conversations were taking place, we also started talking more about the initiatives that I’m involved with at Epic Games, Unreal Shorts, which is an extension of Epic’s Unreal Fellowship and Epic MegaGrants to help inspire and support filmmakers and animators. Tribeca became very interested in how Unreal Engine fits into the future of filmmaking, and as the conversation evolved, we landed on co-presenting Unreal Engine workshops for Tribeca talent. It really is a perfect match.

Are there any goals for this Tribeca collaboration?

Karen Dufilho: Our primary goal is to bring a valuable educational opportunity to filmmaking talent, so we’d like to bring in creative teams, directors, producers and writers, and teach them how Unreal Engine is a powerful tool for storytelling. We want to show these creative decision makers that they can think about Unreal Engine as an open sandbox, where the entire world of a film and all of its characters can live in a contained digital interface—and traveled through, navigated, explored and experimented with much like an interactive storyboard. We are also excited to signal to the film and game industries that we’re here to learn things together.

Is this the first time Epic has collaborated with a film festival?

Karen Dufilho: For the Unreal Engine team, this is the first major film festival collaboration.

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is said to be the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D tool. Is the Unreal Engine used in any shows or applications that everyday people may not know about?

Karen Dufilho: While it’s most commonly known for its use in game development, Unreal Engine is used to create a variety of film and TV projects, and it’s also used for content creation for other things like VR experiences, live events, and broadcast. A few examples include shows like Westworld, The Mandalorian, His Dark Materials and Karate Combat, films such as John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and commercials for brands such as Volkswagen and Formula 1, as well as VR experiences such as the narrative Lovebirds Of The Twin Towers which just debuted at Tribeca, the educational Il Divino about Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, and the Star Wars adventure Vader Immortal, live events including Riot Games’ League Of Legends World Championship, and broadcasts including The Weather Channel’s mixed reality forecasts, the Super Bowl, and FOX Sports’ NASCAR coverage.

Tribeca aside, what is coming up for Epic Games?

Karen Dufilho: We just released Unreal Engine 5 in Early Access, and the full release is expected to arrive in early 2022. There are also lots of exciting new virtual production tools in the Unreal Engine 4.27 release coming later this summer — now available in Preview — which will benefit filmmakers. And we recently opened up our MetaHuman Creator tool in Early Access, which lets you easily and quickly create high-fidelity digital humans.

In this household, more days than not Rocket League and Fortnite are played. Do you have a favorite Epic title?

Karen Dufilho: Nope, I love what we’re doing with all of them.

Finally, Karen, any last words for the kids?

Karen Dufilho: It’s been very exciting to collaborate with Tribeca and we look forward to bringing incredible new voices in film into the Unreal Engine world. This effort with Tribeca is another way that Epic Games is helping Unreal Engine creators succeed.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren’s writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being “Editor At Large” for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of the bi-weekly “Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz” podcast, as co-produced with V13 (formerly PureGrainAudio.com). He has also co-authored two published books, 2018’s “Pocket Change: Your Happy Money” (Book Web Publishing) and 2019’s “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling” (6623 Press), with a second podcast set for a June 2020 launch.

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