Tuesday, January 11, 2022
This innovative storyteller and media expert specializes in cutting-edge visual and media technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) is pleased to recognize Emma Mankey Hidem as the January 2022, Filmmaker of the Month.

“It is an honor to be recognized as OCTFME's Filmmaker of the Month. When I started my career, Virtual Reality didn't even exist. So, I never imagined I'd end up where I am. But through the vibrant media landscape of DC, I have found my true calling, using technology to tell stories and make the world a better place,” said Emma Mankey Hidem.

Emma graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Film & Television program. She began her documentary career under the tutelage of such high-caliber filmmakers as Academy Award-winner Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels) and Emmy-nominated Joe Fab (Paper Clips).

“I have always been a storyteller at heart, but writing never quite clicked for me. When I took a video production class in 9th grade, I realized media was the storytelling medium for me. It just felt natural. From that moment on, I devoted myself to pursuing a career in media. I relocated to DC in 2010, and it was here that I learned how to create interactive media and 360 Virtual Reality. I fell in love with the challenge of creating a whole world and making it interesting in multiple places around the 360 sphere (as opposed to traditional video/film where you're framing shots and controlling what the audience sees). I knew immediately that this technology had promise because of the immersive nature of 360/VR and how I could use it to give people experiences they couldn't have in real life. Even though there were no VR headsets on the market yet, I am so glad that I pursued this path,” said Emma.

She began with immersive and interactive media and immediately saw the promise these new technologies held for storytelling, particularly social impact storytelling. Emma founded Sunnyside VR in 2015 when virtual reality was new on the horizon. She has created unique experiential media for brands such as Mercedes, Estee Lauder, Norwegian Cruise Lines, AARP, and the ACLU. 

Emma remains committed to pushing the limits of interactivity in media. She has spoken about immersive media all over the country, most notably at festivals such as AFI Docs and SXSW. She was recently featured in Authority Magazine as a Woman Leading VR/AR/XR. She has served as a visiting scholar at American University's Institute for Immersive Designs, Experiences, Applications, and Stories and currently serves on the board of Women in Film & Video and DCXR.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and production came to a halt, Emma created The Game Show of Love: an interactive dating game show that took place over Zoom and included audience participation. The show was a local hit and has had two seasons during the pandemic. She plans to reconfigure the show post-COVID to do Season 3 as a live, in-person event in 2022.

Emma's Film Credits: 
A LIVE dating game show taking place over Zoom where six singles get to know each other through a series of unconventional games and hopefully "meet their match."
Enter into the wacky world of Mark Cline, a sculptor, and entertainer from Rockbridge County, VA. The film follows Mark all over the state of Virginia and even to other parts of the country during a pivotal year in his career as he accomplishes major career milestones like his first museum exhibition and a starring role in his first stage play.
Emma's Social Media Handles:
Emma's Relevant Websites:



Want to learn more about Emma Mankey Hidem and her work? Click HERE to listen to her DC Radio interview.



The Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME) launched the “Filmmaker of the Month” initiative as a vehicle for highlighting the talents and creative contributions of filmmakers that make the District of Columbia their home. The “Filmmaker of the Month” initiative is part of OCTFME’s mission to elevate the national and international profile of the District’s talented filmmakers.

***If you know of a filmmaker that would make a great future “Filmmaker of the Month,” you can send OCTFME your recommendations using this nomination form.





The Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) produces and broadcasts programming for the District of Columbia's public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable television channels and digital radio station; regulates the District of Columbia's cable television service providers; provides customer service for cable subscribers; and supports a sustainable film, music, and entertainment creative economy and labor market in the District of Columbia.

OCTFME award-winning content provides resourceful information on government activity, education, current events, history, music, arts, and entertainment. OCTFME operates and manages the District’s government television access channels: the District Council Channel (DCC), the District of Columbia Network (DCN), and the District Knowledge Network (DKN). OCTFME manages, operates, and programs the District of Columbia Entertainment Network (DCE). This 24-hour on-demand streaming network delivers diverse and inclusive – FREE – lifestyle, music, live events, sports, arts, variety shows, talk shows, educational and entertainment programming from the nation's capital into homes via ROKU, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV as well as iPhone and Android mobile devices by downloading the DCE Network App or at DCENetwork.com. OCTFME also operates, manages, and programs DC Radio 96.3 HD4 digital radio station, the District of Columbia’s first government radio station, in partnership with Howard University's WHUR. It is one of only two full-power, city-managed and programmed radio stations in the country.

OCTFME provides production support services that advance film, television, video, entertainment, interactive, multimedia, and digital media content creators. These services include permitting, location scouting, production support; job placement assistance; workforce development; and the DC Film, Television, and Entertainment Rebate Fund. OCTFME supports the creative economy through Mayor Muriel Bowser Presents: 202Creates initiative, administering programs supporting the growth and sustainability of the creative industries in all 8 Wards of the District.

OCTFME provides additional support to the Creative community through the Creative Affairs Office (CAO). CAO showcases and preserves the District of Columbia's rich creative communities throughout all 8 Wards. CAO builds sustainability in the creative community through policy, programming, and education, further expanding the middle-class pathway for the creative workforce. CAO coordinates public, private, and community partners to accomplish all goals and create equitable and inclusive opportunities for the District's creatives.

For more information, contact the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment at (202) 671-0066, visit us online at: entertainment.dc.gov, and follow us on Facebook.com/entertaindc, Instagram.com/entertain_dc, and Twitter.com/entertain_dc.