Industry Report: Documentary
“i_doc workshop: a project development program for expanded documentaries"
by Giorgia Del Don
- After the success of the first “i_doc workshop”, the Laboratory of Visual Culture of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) and the Visions du réel International Film Festival – more specifically its Doc Outlook-International Market (DOCM) – decided to hold another.
The concept of the web documentary is understood through a combination of different elements (video, sound, graphic design, text, images and photos), which succeed in creating a dynamic and consistent whole that puts the viewer at the heart of the story.
Cineuropa met up with David Dufresnes (mentor) and Susanna Lotz (mentor and organiser of the Web Lab), who explain how this year's simultaneously very varied and complementary selection is based primarily on the desire to promote European cultural diversity.
Once again the mentors and international experts in attendance were chosen with great care and intelligence. The same passion was put into choosing a group of rich but at the same time consistent projects for the “Development Lab”. As Susanna Lotz, mentor and coordinator of the laboratory, explained, this year’s selection was grounded in the desire to promote European cultural diversity. So alongside more dynamic projects such as that of the young Swiss filmmakers Tobias Günter, Maximilian Speidel and Alexander Wyssling, we also had more introspective works such as that of Lithuanian-born Laura Almantaite, who broaches the delicate issue of suicide, or that of Italian filmmaker Stefania Casini (who already attended the first workshop as an observer) who tries to reconstruct Rudy Ricciotti’s architectural journey. It’s basically a journey across Europe, from Switzerland to France, passing through Germany and reaching to Italy and Portugal, without forgetting to veer off towards Romania, Croatia, Poland and finally, Lithuania.
“i_doc workshop” is one of the few programmes chosen by the EU to support audiovisual professionals in developing innovative and high quality projects. This distinctive trait makes it an important event for any professional who wishes to build on or develop his/her skills in the field of interactive documentaries.
The evolution of technology has radically transformed the way in which audiences experience storytelling. The linear narration we see in classic documentaries is developing into new, positively cutting edge structures, which is what we see in interactive documentaries. These take shape through a non-linear narration which incorporates the new potential of digital technologies at different stages of the project. The user/audience is no longer a passive spectator but actively participates in building (his/her own) story. To create this dynamic, interactive documentaries are put together for the Internet, tablets and mobile devices. An interactive documentary can take a combination of diverse elements (video, sound, graphics, text, images and photos) and turn it into a dynamic and seamless end result.
With a series of more traditional lessons (for example this year’s introductory course by Judith Aston and that on 4D narration by Adam Sigel), case studies and workshops (web lab), throughout which the various participants can lean on the support of successful writers and international producers who help them develop, strengthen and realise their various projects, “i_doc workshop” aims to help the participants become familiar with the new challenges and many opportunities of digital storytelling.