I-Docs, the first lab/symposium dedicated to interactive documentary. On the 25th of March took place the event on Watershed, Bristol. The symposium was a day long event which showcased new projects, motivated discussion around artistic, technological, economic and political implications of new forms of factual representation, much known as documentaries.
It was a pleasure and an excitement to be volunteer and helping out the event, as a facilitator. From 9am to 6pm a range of filmmakers, new media artists, commissioners, media professors, journalists, and other related practitioners gave keynote presentations, showed their projects and launch the debate around the new media forms of documentaries, the traditional media, such as TV, versus the new media, that is the web and mobile devices. What are the differences between them and the audience, the content format, the message and the purpose.
Conclusions of what is better or not, or what the future will be are hard to declare, but the thruth is there are already some impressive achivements in the new forms of documentary. New ways of communicating the message, of getting the audience, that tend to be interactive, call for action from the audience and involve them more in the story. Ones to give opinion, others to choose which content they want to see, others to present different platforms to show the message more efficially.
The day started with Alexandre Brachet, web documentary filmmaker and manager of Upian, who showed us Gaza-Sderot, a project that documents via Internet, the short stories of 6 characters from Gaza (Palestine) and 6 from Sderot (Israel), their lives and their survival on a daily basis. The slogan is ‘Life in Spite of everything’. One team from each place shot day after day for two months, and the users would have an interactive and non-linear access to the contents on the site ARTEFrance, which included videos, blogs, forums, links etc. One the website it is a timeline and the user can show which day, which character from which place (gaza or sderot) he wants to see and to know more about. The interface is great and appealing to play around. I guess after the content, that is a big point.
Alexander also showed ‘Prison Valley‘ an interactive road movie, a journey into the american prison industry. To watch you just need to sign up with Facebook or twitter account. (check trailer on http://prisonvalley.arte.tv/) and a range of paths to follow in prison valley, colorado USA will appear.
BBC’s multiplatform commissioner for factual and documentaries, Nick Cohen, shared his point and explored how the traditional media company BBC is approaching the new web interactive forms to tell real stories. Some cross platforms projects (that cross different media) like ‘Britain from Above’ were commissioned and the BBC seems to be creating a portfolio on web.
Mandy Rose also presented the ‘Are you happy?’ project, with which I am collaborating as part of my academic projects. Inspiring to feel involved in what seems to be a trend in storytelling and new media platforms.
In the range of the interesting discussions and showcases I want to highlight, Annette Wagner, a german journalist, director&producer of ‘Squeeze me’, a cross media project about a eldery dementia and how ‘Paro’, a new animaloid robot, can help, improving the psyche well-being and reducing the amount of drugs giver to the patients. The project is spreading the word across different media, letting people interested on this subject, manly relative of patients, to get more information, and to get involved with people like them.
One of the questions more discussed during the day was..
How far people want to be interactive?