Submarine Channel

The interactive documentary space is a paradise for discovering the maturing cross-platform and digital storytelling industry. Powered by the web, a host of new disruptive technologies, and a desire to create meaningful immersive experiences, the renaissance that’s emerged in documentary storytelling in the last several years has created evergreen themes like Interactive, Participatory, and Remix, to name just a few.

True to its self-description of “showcasing new and unexpected forms of digital documentary storytelling that expand the genre beyond linear filmmaking”, IDFA DocLab projects this year undeniably pushed the boundaries of the medium. They also provided an ideal opportunity for us to go behind-the-scenes and interview makers on the secrets to their successful interactive works. Here’s the first one of the bunch.

What do a bear, technology and human beings have in common?

We tracked down Jeremy Mendes, a Vancouver-based artist and creative director with over 10 years experience working on interactive projects. Mendes often collaborates with The National Film Board of Canada, conveying elements of story, culture, art and design through interactive experiences. Most recently he is the co-creator of Bear 71, NFB’s newest multi-user, multi-platform, interactive story world.

In this walkthrough of Bear 71 – a project that was also one of three finalists for this year’s IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling – Mendes takes us through the crucial ways interface and interaction can create immersive and emotional moments, to the point where audiences share the same vulnerability as the main character and feel like they’re part of the story.

“At the end of the day the story is about a collection of data and moments – there’s CCTV cameras in every city, and it’s essentially about us”

Watch Bear 71

CREDITS: Director: Katy Yudin, Camera: Pierre Rezus, Editor: Anneke de Lind van Wijngaarden, Sound: Pierre Rezus, A production by Submarine Channel Foundation 2012. Recorded at the IDFA DocLab Expanding Documentary exhibition at De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam





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