TEA Connect Blog

07 June 2019

Speakers & sessions: TEA SATE Asia - Shanghai, 14-16 June 2019

The TEA SATE conference cycle is underway for 2019. Tickets are available now for TEA SATE Asia - Shanghai, 14-16 June 2019 at the Shendi Center. Theme: "Moving People." Purchase tickets via EVENTBRITE OR YOOPAY. Scroll down for details of the program, speakers, sessions, and resource links.

TEA SATE conferences - held in Europe, Asia and North America - engage participants in a discussion of the unique practice of Experience Design within the global attractions industry served by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). #TEAsate

The TEA added the TEA SATE conference to its slate of industry events in 2007, to foster dialog in the business community about the methodology of Experience Design. The SATE acronym stands for Story + Architecture + Technology = Experience. SATE also alludes to a collaborative culture of production, in which designers, technologists and clients work closely together from the early stages of a project, in a team structure often more horizontal than hierarchical.






SATE Asia 2019 - Shanghai will be video-recorded, creating a permanent record of the conference and its sessions. Special thanks to our video sponsor, Max Matching Entertainments Co., Ltd. for making it possible to create this important informational and historical resource for TEA members and the industry at large. There are video archives of past TEA SATE conferences on TEA TV: Click here to view.


Speakers: TEA SATE Asia 2019

Christian Aaen – Principal, Entertainment + Culture Advisors

Christian Aaen is a founding Principal of Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA), specializing in entertainment development, attraction destination projects and leisure and tourism economics. Prior to co-founding ECA, he opened the legacy ERA (now AECOM Economics) Hong Kong office and as Regional Director, Christian was responsible for the entertainment and leisure practice in Asia, including China. Christian brings a wide background of experience to ECA’s assignments through his involvement in a variety of consulting assignments in the recreation area as well as his direct strategic planning experience in international attraction, theme park and cultural development. He has consulted for clients in Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, Mexico and Latin America and throughout North America and has conducted feasibility studies and provided advisory services for key international clients such as Universal Studios, LEGOLAND Parks (Merlin Entertainments), MGM Studios, Village Roadshow, Khazanah Nasional/TAR, Sanrio, HIT Entertainment, OCT Group, Ocean Park (Hong Kong), KidZania, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Genting Group, among others. Christian has extensive experience throughout Asia with projects in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, India, and Thailand, among others.


Louis Allen - Principal, Vice President Creative, Adirondack Studios, NY, USA

Louis serves as the Executive Vice President of Creative Services at Adirondack Studios. His role provides creative oversight of Adirondack Studio design, development and delivery of thematic show, public space, and art and entertainment projects. A production-oriented designer and artist, Mr. Allen specializes in scenic arts and the shaping of two-dimensional assets through visualization in three dimensions.  Prior to joining Adirondack Studios, Louis worked as an Imagineer at Tokyo Disney and Director of Character finishing for Universal Studios worldwide.   A guest speaker at TEA’s SATE Paris in 2014, Mr. Allen spoke of working in multicultural environments. Formerly a member of the TEA International Board of Directors, Mr. Allen advocates the Association’s commitment to worldwide development of the Themed Attraction industry. 


Louis Alfieri - Principal/ Chief Creative Officer, Raven Sun Creative

Over his thirty-year career, Louis Alfieri has focused on helping owners and brands lead the advancement of global location-based entertainment. He has collaborated with clients around the world in the development of resorts, branded destinations, theme parks, and mixed-use destinations, sharing his deep knowledge of experiential design, branded experiences, and intellectual property assets.  Louis’ expertise in balancing creative vision with financial and schedule realities allow him to be especially effective at managing executive and shareholder expectations, guiding project realities, and realizing key consumer guest experiences. Over the course of his career, Louis has served in many roles and capacities in the location-based entertainment industry, gaining an end-to-end understanding of the process from design-to-opening and beyond.  Louis has led the brand guidance, design principal development, and location-based business model strategy for companies such as Evergrande, Hengdian World Studios, Wanda, and Lamborghini. He has been responsible for the creative aspects of projects up to $10 billion USD in magnitude. His current focus is on the numerous expansion opportunities in Asia and the Middle East.


Robert Braunstein - Executive, Show Design and Production, Walt Disney Imagineering Asia Limited

Robert has been a part of The Walt Disney Company since 1979, beginning his career at Walt Disney World Resort as part of the Park Operations team.  During his 16 years in operations management, Robert held leadership positions at Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks before piloting a cross-cultural management exchange program with Disneyland Paris.  Robert transitioned to Walt Disney Imagineering in 1995 with the Creative Show Studio where he has contributed to large scale construction projects at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney California Adventure, Hong Kong Disneyland, and as the Production Executive for Shanghai Disney Resort.  In his current role of Executive, Show Design & Production for Walt Disney Imagineering Asia Limited, Robert continues to focus on talent development in Asia.    


Mathilde Bresson - LBE Manager, Ubisoft

Mathilde has been involved in Ubisoft’s global Location-Based Entertainment initiative since its inception. For the past 4 years, she has been building on the company’s hit video game brands and expertise in producing interactive content to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Passionate about Entertainment in all its forms and genres, she started her career at The Walt Disney Company, where she developed an acute sense of intellectual property development.


Stephen Thomas Cavit - Lead Composer and Principal, Iconic Sound & Music

A full-service audio and music company based in Seattle, Washington, Iconic recently scored original music for the permanent WALKING DEAD attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, ICE AGE: NO TIME FOR NUTS  for 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios, THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX mall activation for 20th Century Fox/Pico Hong Kong, and ALIEN V. PREDATOR for Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Japan. Iconic provided original composition, background music, and sound design for ELECTRIC OCEAN, SeaWorld San Diego's flagship nighttime spectacular and 2017 IAAPA Brass Ring Award winner. Iconic recently provided original score for Zero Latency's newest free-roam VR shooter, OUTBREAK ORIGINS, and very recently completed sound design, original music, and spatial audio programming for, ALIEN: DESCENT, the latest VR experience for 21st Century Fox/FoxNext. Stephen is a two-time Emmy Award winner and a Sundance Composers Lab fellow. Stephen began his career scoring movies such as The Good Girl, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal; Chuck and Buck for director Miguel Arteta; The Four Corners of Nowhere for director Stephen Chbosky; Blue Vinyl, & Everything's Cool for director Judith Helfand. These films all premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to broad theatrical release.


Harriet Cheng - Director of Media Production, Twentieth Century Fox World Park

As an award-winning producer, Harriet brings a wide range of experience from various aspects of the entertainment industry, including theme parks, feature films, television, motion pictures, interactive television and computer games.  She has teamed talented artists and laymen to make scripts and concepts become reality. Harriet began her career working on feature films such as Black Rain, Ghost, and Crazy People.  Her interest in the convergence of media and technology, led her to move into the world of themed entertainment, where she accepted a staff position at Universal Studios as a media producer for Universal Studios’ global expansion of theme parks.  As Universal Studio’s Director of Film and Video Production for the Recreation Group, Harriet was executive producer for all media for all of Universal Studios’ theme parks including the development, planning, budgeting, production and post-production.   This included negotiations with strategic partners such as Kodak and America Online, and star talent such as Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Jeremy Irons, Rip Torn, Helen Hunt.  After leaving Universal she worked on a variety of projects, including the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation iWitness Project, and the National Museum of the United States Army.  In her current role she is responsible for the delivery of over 100 pieces of media from 12 vendors, including all visual and audio media, final site installation, and all final audio mixes.


Guan Gang, Managing Director, JUMBO Attractions Creative + Product Service

GG Guan has been in the theme amusement industry for 15 years. He is the Founder of Shanghai JUMBO Company, and the Founder of “Crazy Tractor Farm”. GG Guan was previously the Design Director of Landmark Entertainment Group China, and the Partner/General Manager for Asia of IdeAttack. GG Guan’s areas of expertise include project design, construction and operations, and equipment development and production.

Björn Heerwagen - Director, Show Design & Production, Euro Disneyland Imagineering S.a.r.l.

Since beginning his Disney career in 1991 at Disneyland Paris, Björn has held a variety of roles in Technical Production, Special Events and Stage Entertainment across the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment in Paris and Orlando.  Björn played an integral role in the launch of two Disney Cruise Line ships, the construction and launch of Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris and the launches of Crush’s Coaster®, Cars Quatre Roues Rallye (Cars Race Rally), The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Toy Story Playland, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy.  In 2009, Björn joined Imagineering based in Paris and now serves as Director of Show Design & Production, responsible for the expansion portfolio of Walt Disney Studios though 2025.


Jan Heinze - COO Asia & VFX Executive, PIXMONDO

In his role as one of PIXOMONDO’s COOs, Jan was responsible for the setup of several facilities in Germany and the development and establishment of production standards and pipelines, to ensure a smooth operation on projects across time zones with our studios and partners in the US, Europe and Asia.  in a 7X24 mode. Jan also acted as the VFX producer in the production of feature films Ninja Assassin, 2012 and The Red Baron.

In October 2009, Jan took up residence in China to oversee the development of the PIXOMONDO facilities in Shanghai and Beijing.  During 7 years' operation in Beijing facility, Jan focused on talents development and developed a company culture that is driven by creativity and quality. He adopted a parallel management way to build the company structure and created the team spirit "Be Creative in Problem Solving".  Jan guided the company from its start out to become a well-established player in the in the Chinese film market.  In Beijing facility, he has been working as the Executive Producer for many Hollywood films and Chinese blockbusters, including Sucker Punch, Fast and Furious 5, Red Tails, Hugo, Gone With the Bullet, Impossible, Skip Trace etc. Since April, 2016, PIXOMONDO China launched PIXO Lab officially, which comes from the insight based on his operation experiences of all these years in Chinese market. Jan majored in Business Administration and Media Production at the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt/Germany and the CIT Cork/Ireland. 


John Lindsay - Program Director, nFusion

John Lindsay’s 40-year career reflects his passion and unique experience which blends his roots in entertainment production with negotiations and management of design and development of entertainment and theming projects globally. In the early 1990s, John facilitated the first draft of TEA’s Project Development Guidelines. As a Program Director at nFusion, he brings his expertise in negotiating and managing mega-projects. Prior to nFusion, John helped deliver four Disney Theme Parks (most recently Shanghai Disneyland, as VP, Project Management), three world expos, and has worked with multiple Hollywood studios. He leads nFusion’s program management group, offering guidance to projects around the globe. John is passionate about unifying project delivery teams.


Edward Marks - Founder and Co-CEO of The Producers Group.

Marks has had a long career in the entertainment industry, from owning a production company in the 90s to Producing and Managing hundreds of projects over the past 20 years. As a Producer and Project Director, his projects include: Universal Studios Singapore - Sci-Fi City; Crane Dance, Lake of Dreams and The Hall of Treasures for Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore; The Fortune Diamond and The Wishing Crystals for the Galaxy Casino in Macau; Star Galaxy Adventures in Russia; Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights; and the proposed Marvel City theme park in Dubai.


Richard Maxfield - Creative Show Systems Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Richard began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering in 1998 as a senior show program manager. After opening Cherie J’ai Retreci le Public at Disneyland Paris he stayed in France to launch the Walt Disney Studios Park where he was responsible for several Backlot attractions including Moteurs Action! and Catastrophe Canyon. Richard later worked on expansion projects for Tokyo DisneySea before being recruited by Electrosonic Inc. where he served as Vice President of Operations. Maxfield returned to Walt Disney Imagineering in 2013 to lead the Show systems teams building Shanghai Disney Resort.   Richard currently leads the Creative Show Studio teams responsible for the design and production of Show technical systems for new parks and attractions around the world.


Paul Osterhout - Vice President/Executive Producer, Century Culture & Tourism Group

Paul is currently overseeing the development of several themed entertainment projects. Former Vice President for Universal Creative and Walt Disney Imagineering where he was the overall Creative Executive for the Universal Beijing Resort and for the Walt Disney Studios park in Paris. Paul brings over 40 years of diversified, multi-national experience in design management, blue-sky conceptual development, design, art direction, producing, product branding and master planning. Because of his unique ability to liaise between creative, production, architecture, construction and business units, Paul has a highly successful track record of directing complex and compelling projects on time and within budget.  He also serves on the International Board of the Themed Entertainment Association and is the winner of two Themed Entertainment Awards for Best Attractions.


Ken Petersen - Executive, Show Management, Walt Disney Imagineering

Ken began his career with The Walt Disney Company in 1996 as an AV Engineer working in Glendale, California; however, he supported Disney projects as a consultant since the mid-1980’s. His portfolio of projects includes Disney’s Hollywood Studios base park and expansion, Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom base park and expansion and Frozen Ever After at Epcot.  Currently based in Florida, Ken is the Show Studio Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, responsible for managing the Show Studio and its resources for current and upcoming projects.  While primarily focusing on Walt Disney World projects, Ken and his team support various projects at Disney theme parks worldwide.


Luke Riley - Senior Vice President, International Development, Village Roadshow

Luke is the Senior Vice President of International Development for Village Roadshow, Chairman of the IAAPA Asia Pacific Advisory, and Board Member of IAAPA.  For the past 15 years he has been working on the ground throughout multiple Asian countries, with a vast cultural understanding of tourism and leisure infrastructure projects throughout the region, he is at the forefront of industry trends, leading technologies and strategies to maximize growth within the theme parks and attractions industry.  Fluent in Mandarin, with a deep understanding of the intricate cultures across Asia, Luke is responsible for driving Village Roadshow’s expansion across Asia and is in the vanguard for establishing and advancing regional standards for design, construction, and operational safety.   Luke was the Founding Chairman for both the Asia Pacific Government Relations Committee and the Asia Pacific Manufacturers & Suppliers Committee, and has been published as one of the Global Top 50 most influential executives in the theme parks and attractions industry by Blooloop. Luke enjoys ultrarunning and is an accomplished pianist.


Kelly Ryner - President, Thinkwell Asia

Kelly has been an integral part of the Thinkwell team since the company’s inception. After 13 years of heading up business development for Thinkwell following an equally strong career in the field of Art Direction, Kelly relocated to China in 2014 to build and manage what is now Thinkwell's thriving design and production studio in Beijing.  She has many years of business development expertise collaborating with major IP owners such as Warner Bros., Universal Studios, Paramount, Fox, Lionsgate, Sesame Street and so many others.  This experience, combined with her years of artistic and construction experience in the Location Based Entertainment (LBE) industry provides her a unique ability to help clients address their projects both strategically and creatively with a pragmatic view of "getting it built".  Prior to Thinkwell she was an in-field Art Director for Universal Creative, overseeing the aesthetic aspects of their new projects at Universal Studios Port Aventura in Spain.  Kelly's career has included projects at Universal Studios Japan, Warner Bros. Movie World in Germany, Porto Europa in Japan and Universal Studios Hollywood.


Mark Schirmer - Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering Asia Limited

Since beginning his Disney career as an intern at Walt Disney World, Mark has amassed over 30 years of experience at Imagineering and has worked at every Disney resort. Mark was part of the opening team at Disneyland Paris, supported the development and delivery of a number of significant additions to Tokyo Disney Resort, and served as Executive Creative Director for the third chapter of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort’s expansion projects. Mark later transitioned to Tokyo Disney Resort as Director of Design Development responsible for collaborating with partners to develop new offerings and growth opportunities.  Currently based in Hong Kong, Mark holds the role of Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering Asia Limited supporting growth and development in the region as well as the three Disney resorts in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong.


Cindy Sun - Head of Department, Planning & Landscape Architecture, Thinkwell Asia  

Cindy has more than 15 years of working experience as a master planner and landscape architect. She has rich experience working on various types of projects, including theme parks, water parks, mix-use develop­ments, resorts, family entertainment centers and mu­seums. Her background of working on project across the world endowed her with international insight, as well as the understanding of how a project can be localized to suit China’s unique market.  Prior to joining Thinkwell, she has worked as a Se­nior Landscape Architect at Forrec Toronto, Manager of Landscape Department at CCDI Beijing, Senior Landscape Architect at GHD Beijing, and Landscape Designer at Groundwork Trust, UK.

Cindy leads and trains a versa­tile team of master planners and landscape architects, making sure their work organized and each designer’s expertise is fully real­ized to suit the unique need of a project. She closely collaborates and communicates with professionals of various disciplines as well as Thinkwell’s clients, to ensure that the vision of all parties is reflected and integrated in the project.


Miia Tähtinen - China Country / APAC Area Manager, Lappset Creative China

Miia has a multifaceted, 25-year work history in Finland, Russia and China. She has always been on the front lines starting and growing businesses. She strongly believes in the power of storytelling in its many forms as a part of life and business.  Miia first landed in China in 1997, and has since used considerable time and effort to understand China´s culture and development. At Lappset Creative, Miia has followed the form of storytelling that takes place in the built stories of the FECs.


Eric Tam – Co-Founder and Managing Director, ITMation Ltd (Hong Kong)

ITMation Ltd is a control system company specializing in life-safety control systems for the entertainment, transportation, water treatment and oil & gas industries. Eric is a motion control automation expert, and has been the Chief Engineer for self-propelled and linear induction motor propelled high speed roller coaster vehicles, motion base ride platforms, high-speed hydraulic lifts and drop towers designed for theme parks in Qingdao and Wuxi, China. Eric was the Chief System Architect for the motion control and protection system for Crane Dance, the world’s largest animatronic figures. Systems designed by Eric can be found in the USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Pakistan, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.


Jamie Tobin - Producer, Moment Factory

As a producer at Moment Factory, Jamie Tobin fosters a positive, empowering culture around all of his projects. He’s fine-tuned his leadership skills over 20 years of managing and producing music, entertainment, and sports events, including two Winter Olympic Ceremonies and Lumina enchanted night walk experiences in Canada and Japan.  Jamie thrives on creating unique, boundary-pushing experiences that spark emotions while ensuring their commercial viability and delivery on-time and within budget. He pairs open communication with precise planning to execute complicated, high-visibility projects that give diverse team members and all stakeholders a sense of pride and accomplishment in the result.


Bingo Tso – Senior Vice President/CTO, Advanced Communication Equipment (International) Co. Ltd.

Bingo Tso has worked in the pro audio industry for more than 40 years, from building the first professional studio in mainland China to the most advanced pro audio, lighting and video systems available today.  He has introduced many new technologies and products and has trained hundreds of engineers.  He was involved in almost every important event in China, including the parade of the 50th, 60th and 70th VWW2, the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Shanghai World Expo 2010, etc.  “I chose the life my most beloved thing gives” is how he happily describes his career. 


Mindy Wilson - Creative Show Studio Operations Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Mindy began her career with The Walt Disney Company in 1981 at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. During her eight years with Disneyland, she worked in a variety of departments including merchandise, guest relations, training and development, Disneyland Ambassador and Disneyland International where she interfaced with both Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland Park.  In 1989, Mindy moved to Walt Disney Imagineering where she has served as both a project leader and a department leader for large-scale projects such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney California Adventure, Tokyo DisneySea, Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney Resort and most recently, Epcot, Disneyland Paris and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.  As Creative Show Operations Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, Mindy combines key studio operational responsibilities with the functional leadership of show managers and project coordinators, along with spearheading studio initiatives.






Posted by Judy Rubin



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