Thomas Wallner, founder and owner of DEEP Inc. is a producer, writer, director and game designer working in feature film, television, games and interactive media. In addition to producing innovative cross-media properties for television, he has written and directed eight award-winning feature documentaries that have been broadcast in more than 30 countries.
Thomas Wallner is a rare example of a creative filmmaker who is truly at home in the interactive media world. His work earned him international recognition as a cross platform TV pioneer. Over the past ten years Thomas has consistently applied his award winning vision as a storyteller to push the limits of interactive narrative. A leading figure in the creation of participatory narratives he brought the underground genre of Alternate Reality Gaming into the Television mainstream, culminating in Xenophile Media’s Emmy Award winning genre-benders Fallen and Regenesis.
In 2007 Thomas Wallner helped push the boundaries of nonlinear story telling even further by developing the story concept for Late Fragment, Canada’s first interactive feature drama produced by the NFB and the Canadian Film Centre.
Thomas is a recipient of numerous honours including two Emmy Awards with a total of five nominations, three Geminis, a Rose d’Or, two SXSW Interactive Awards, two Webbys and two CNMA’s.
He was nominated for Interactive Producer of the Year at the 2011 CNMA awards.
Recent Interactive Highlights
His recent transmedia project Inside Hana’s Suitcase, a feature documentary and video web series adaptation of the bestselling children’s book, Hana’s Suitcase was nominated for a 2010 digital Emmy.
Additional recent interactive credits include the award winning, Love Letters to the Future, a social-network based multi-platform narrative aimed at combating global warming, which Thomas conceived and produced for the UN’s Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change.
Recent cross media productions include interactive adaptations of the CBS/CTV police drama Flashpoint, the CTV Space / SyFy Network drama Sanctuary, TVO’s Empire of the Word and the M.I. High Game for BBC while ongoing distribution of Total Drama Island – Totally Interactive! (Teletoon, Cartoon Network) now includes over ten million registered players.
Recent Film Highlights
Thomas’ latest theatrical feature The Guantanamo Trap, was nominated for a Genie and won the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Film Festival.
Currently Thomas is directing the theatrical feature documentary Gardenia for ARTE. The German/Belgian co-production follows the lives of six aging Belgian drag queens and transsexuals.
In addition Thomas is developing Heaven Must Be Boring, a comedic interactive web series, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, a theatrical documentary based on a NY Times most notable book by Roya Hakakian and writing his first feature script The Sandman, funded by the Canada Council.
After graduating in Film from York University Thomas enjoyed a long-standing relationship as a documentary writer and director with Rhombus Media on five award winning feature documentaries.
In parallel to his work in film Thomas branched out into interactive media as a writer, producer and game designer with Toronto’s ExtendMedia (1997 – 2001) and later with Xenophile Media which he co-founded with long time collaborator Patrick Crowe in 2001. After serving as co-president and producer at Xenophile for over a decade Thomas founded DEEP Inc., a production company devoted to transmedia story telling with a strong emphasis on filmmaking.
Before the Last Curtain Falls – (2014) – Writer, Director - The feature documentary captures the moving story of a group of ageing drag queens and transsexual artists who set out one last time to live the glamorous life of the famous. Hot Docs World Premiere. 2014 Hot Docs special Jury Prize.
The Guantanamo Trap (2011) - Writer, Director – Theatrical Feature Documentary (Swiss, German, Canadian co-production) that tells stories from the U.S. detention camp, not only from the perspective of the captives, but also the captors. Hot Docs World Premiere. 2011 Hot Docs special Jury Prize. 2011 Cinefest NFB best Canadian Feature Doc Award.
Inside Hana’s Suitcase (2008) -Writer - Theatrical Feature Documentary based on an international best-seller that tells the moving story of a young girl murdered in Auschwitz.
Late Fragment (2007) – Story Concept - North America’s first dramatic interactive feature film, a product of the Canadian Film Centre and the NFB, lets the audience piece together and experience the cinematic narrative in a number of ways. Late Fragment retains the focus on complex character-driven stories surrounding the impact of violent crime on their lives.
Tropicana (2006) - Writer, Director - The only film allowed to go behind the scenes at the famous Cabaret since the Cuban revolution.
Mozartballs (2005) – Writer - A tribute to Mozart featuring curious personalities that embody the spirit of the composer – from Swiss schoolteacher obsessed by all things Mozart, to an ex-pop musician in Oklahoma who believes that her body is inhabited by Mozart’s spirit!
Beethoven’s Hair (2004) – Writer – A feature documentary based on the best-selling book that tells the story of a lock of hair cut from the head of Ludwig van Beethoven and its journey through time. Thomas received a Gemini Award for Best Writing of a Documentary Program or Series.
Solidarity Song-The Hanns Eisler Story (1996) – Co-Director, Co-Writer - A feature documentary on the German Communist composer. The film premiered at the Louvre in Paris, where it won the Classique en Image award, given to the best music film in the world over a three year period. At the 2005 Toronto Hot Docs festival, the film was described as, “one of the most riveting and accomplished documentary biographies ever made.” Thomas received two Gemini nominations for Best Writing and Best Directing of a Documentary Program or Series.
My War Years: Arnold Schoenberg (1992) – Associate Director and Co-Writer - A portrait of the composer. The film received a Gemini Award for Best Performing Arts Documentary, and Thomas was nominated for a Gemini Award for Best Writing of a Documentary Program or Series.