DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45
A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.
Live Stories & Live Screenings
Why would audiences keep going to the cinema if they can watch everything online?
Just like in the 1950s, when the new medium of TV threatened the livelihood of movie theaters, the film industry is again searching for new ways to compete with the home cinema. Ironically enough, we’re looking back to the past for inspiration.
3D movies, once abandoned because audiences got such headaches from those red and blue glasses, are back with a vengeance – and better than ever. A striking example at IDFA is the T_Visionarium, an immersive installation which allows viewers to explore and edit a multitude of documentary clips on a huge 360-degree screen.
But the oldest cinema experience that is becoming popular again is the live cinema event. Back when film was still a carnival attraction, it was always a live experience, accompanied by music, narrators, and performers. These days, digital technology has given rise to opera and concerts being screened live in cinemas, offering something that we don’t get at home: a social event and the feeling “to have been there.”
What’s complicated about live film screenings in cinemas is that the offering is limited and often derivative. Film itself has developed as a linear medium. After the editing process, films are literally “locked up” – the story is definite, the director has made his choices, and every future viewer watches the same movie.
On the Internet however, the medium that’s giving cinemas a run for their money, new forms of cinema are coming into being, such as the interactive web documentary. These hybrid forms of new media and cinematic stortytelling are using narrative structures and interfaces that can be used to create unique live stories and events in the cinema.
This is why Doc Lab, IDFA’s annual new media program, is presenting a number of live screenings created out of the exceptions to the rule: documentaries whose stories are open and where the directors (or audiences) continue to exert an influence on the story being told.