RENDR will bring together creatives from film, gaming, animation and immersive technology in Belfast alongside live and interactive demonstrations of new technology, digital art and gaming experiences.
Taking place on February 23 and 24 at Portview Trade Centre as part of the NI Science Festival, RENDR (formerly known as Capture Conference) seeks to share behind-the-scenes secrets through a series of talks, workshops and showcases, while also creating a platform for creatives and students to network.
Set in "a Blade Runner inspired environment" including a food village offering the very best of Northern Ireland's local cuisine, among the 30 guest speakers at RENDR will be Steven Spielberg's long-serving production stills photographer David James and Mike Reiss, the longest-serving writer and producer on The Simpsons.
Festival director Michael Weir says: "RENDR is an opportunity to network, to demo new and emerging tech, to be inspired and to gain insight into the latest trends and developments in the creative industries – all with an emphasis on new technologies.
"We hope the event informs, engages and challenges the creative community to push the boundaries of technology in their fields.
"We're programming speakers and thought leaders from around the world, but also using this moment to recognise what this place has to offer in terms of its award-winning expertise and innovations.
"The creative industries are important economic drivers for Northern Ireland and with the support of our funders at NI Screen, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council we hope to both amplify their contribution to building a vibrant arts and culture sector locally and create a platform to showcase what homegrown talent can offer on the global stage."
Production stills photographer David James is a long-time collaborator with Steven Spielberg. Speaking at RENDR, he will share insight into the award-winning images he has produced for such movies as Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan and Mission Impossible.
Mike Reiss, who co-wrote The Simpsons Movie, will discuss his illustrious career as part of the team behind the long-running animated sitcom, offering an insider's perspective into the creative process that has seen the show rise to the status of cultural phenomenon.
Also RENDR-bound is Dorothy Di Stefano, creator/founder of Molten Immersive Art. One of the world's foremost voices in immersive and interactive art curation, she leads a collective of international artists and researchers working at the cutting edge of new technology and art.
Belfast-based production stills photographer Helen Sloan will discuss her work behind the scenes of HBO's blockbuster series Game of Thrones, and Bafta-nominated director Kris Kelly of Enter Yes' will showcase the work of the visual effects and animation studio, which specialises in high-end visuals for film, television and games.
Richard Williams, chief executive officer of Northern Ireland Screen, comments: "As part of Northern Ireland Screen's new four-year strategy Stories, Skills and Sustainability, we remain committed to supporting opportunities for our industry colleagues to share their stories and enhance their skills to ensure a sustainable future.
"RENDR's packed and varied programme presents the local screen industry with the opportunity to showcase their talent alongside international industry, to hear from and learn from local, national, and international leading professionals and gain valuable insight into new and emerging tech and trends."
Matthew Malcolm, arts development officer with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, adds: "RENDR is a unique and exciting festival that will lead, inspire and connect creative industry professionals and all those interested in learning more about new, emerging technologies and their use in creating art.
"The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is thrilled to support RENDR which reflects our commitment to encouraging innovative practices that cross artform boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector."
Belfast City Council's chair of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Ryan Murphy, says: "We are delighted to be supporting RENDR Festival this year and pleased to see such a wide range of creative and digital technology leaders and entrepreneurs taking part.
"The creative digital industry is a strong part of our city's economy and we have ambitions to become world class in digital innovation with investment from the Belfast Region City Deal. In order to do this, we need to facilitate engagement, collaboration and knowledge sharing between creative businesses, education and our public sector, and the RENDR Festival will play a key role."
Further speakers for RENDR are set to be announced over the coming weeks.
:: Latest programme information and tickets available via rendrfestival.com.