This Spring we’ll be staging Where There’s Smoke workshops at Columbia University’s IPE day in collaboration with the Narrative Medicine Program and the School of the Arts. The workshops are part of a design and ideation process to explore how projects like Where There’s Smoke can become prototypes for empathy healing spaces that harness story, design, play and emergent technology.
We’re fielding offers to mount the full installation in Los Angles, London and Amsterdam. If you’re interested in hosting the installation please let us know. hello@smokeproject.co
Where There’s Smoke is currently being developed as a browser-based experience that includes a tool kit for building immersive learning & healing spaces.
We’re working on an art book that will feature a collection of my Dad’s fire slides. Pulled from thousands of fire slides shot between 1968 and 1988.
In addition to the immersive documentary side of the project, we’re developing a fictional film/TV series and YA novel based on true events.



New Virtual Version of Where There’s Smoke to premiere at IDFA

Excited to announce that we’ve created a new virtual version of Where There’s Smoke that a 100 people can experience at the same time. On November 22nd WTS will premiere at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam in the IDFA on Stage section. Here’s how the festival describes the project “…In the 1980s, his family was itself the victim of two fires—first their van went up in flames, and less than a year later so did their house. The cause was never discovered. In this interactive inquiry, Weiler connects these mysterious fires to the final months of his father’s life. Despite being stricken with cancer, he allowed his son to interview him at length.”

This new version of the experience has been a collaboration with Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab and the Narrative Medicine program. In 2021 the virtual version of WTS will be staged at festivals, museums, conferences, schools and hospitals. Photo by Robert Weiler


Where There’s Smoke wins Digital Dozen: Breakthroughs in Storytelling Award


Where There’s Smoke named one of “top 35 XR installations of 2019”

Where fine art has a longstanding ecosystem for critical discourse and exhibition and entertainment formats live on in easily accessible consumption pipelines, XR installations are both hard to produce and hard to communicate with audiences about. And yet—for those very reasons—this is arguably the category above all others that advances the creative language of the medium. XR installations redefine how we think about space, narrative, technology, and the relationship between creator and audience.”  – Forbes

Click here to see the full list.

Where There’s Smoke named one of “Best Shows & Experiences of 2019”

“It’s one thing to step into a typical fictional escape room about a heist or jailbreak, it’s another thing to step into an emotional escape room based upon someone’s actual life. Using real objects that survived a fire from his childhood (imbued with IoT tech), Lance Weiler’s Where There’s Smoke takes us into his personal history and the secrets his now-deceased father may have kept from the rest of the family. Was his father also an arsonist? Did he set fire to their childhood home? Deeply affecting and incredibly well-crafted, this powerful documentary-meets-installation interactive experience leaves a lasting mark.” – Executive Editor Kathyrn Yu

‘Where There’s Smoke’: Storytelling Pioneer Lance Weiler’s Most Poignant Work Yet – IndieWire

Over 100 movies screened at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, but one of its best offerings lets you walk inside the frame and experience a story from the inside out. In “Where There’s Smoke,” a selection of Tribeca’s Virtual Arcade program, participants literally walk through one man’s memories and engage with his grief. Lance Weiler, a filmmaker who years ago dove headlong into the creative possibility of immersive storytelling, has crafted an elaborate form of experiential cinema and interactive theater out of personal experiences. READ MORE

Tribeca Immersive 2019 Diary, Part 6: The Things That Survived The Fire – No Proscenium

We’re standing in the burned out shell of a living room. The picture frames on the walls are charred, with the family photos inside destroyed. I can’t really make out who or what used to be in these pictures, it’s just too hard. There’s also a large wooden credenza behind me and a yellow arm chair next to me, both damaged by fire. Everything smells like smoke. Also in the room, I see a slide projector and a large table with four square slots cut into it. Each slot is marked with a symbol: a heart, a hand, an ear, and a brain. The four squares cut into the table glow softly in the darkness. READ MORE

Where There’s Smoke to have its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival!



Work-in-progress showing at the Future of Storytelling


Where There’s Smoke staged a work-in-progress installation at the Future of Storytelling in October 2018. In addition the project was nominated for the FoST Innovation in Storytelling Award READ MORE

Taking the leap: embracing vulnerability when prototyping immersive stories

In August I playtested/prototyped my newest project Where There’s Smoke at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in NYC. It was a wonderful experience that had me feeling a range of emotions. While I felt a deep sadness I also felt an incredible joy. I’ve been thinking/working/false starting the project for years. However, over the last 12 months, I’d been collaborating with my dad; his deteriorating health, due to a battle with cancer, brought the project to the forefront as we raced to do as much as we could together. He was thrilled to see the project included at the Sheffield International Doc Fest’s Alternative Realities Market this past June and was looking forward to the first work-in-progress run at the Future of Storytelling Summit later this fall. This evening marked the first time I was prototyping the project, and only a few weeks after my dad had passed away.  READ MORE


Where There’s Smoke was one of 25 projects invited to attend the Alternate Realities Market at the Sheffield International Doc Festival.

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