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DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45

A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.

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Empire Interactive

This powerful and highly dynamic interactive documentary offers insight into the unintended long-term effects of Dutch colonialism, making them palpable.

A synagogue in the Indonesian hills, a Brazilian rainforest village populated by blond descendants of Dutch immigrants, an isolated “whites only” community of separatist farmers in South Africa: Dutch colonialism has left its traces across the world. Over the course of four years, the makers of Empire Interactive visited 10 countries to document these traces. Notions of what it is to be Dutch, Dutch identity or Dutch heritage have developed in very different ways in these geographical niches than how they have in the Netherlands itself. In this highly dynamic combination of documentary film, multichannel video installations, text and experience design, Empire Interactive presents the full complexity of the Dutch diaspora. The central themes are tackled in four chapters along two or more axes. In Cradle, for example, death and birth are juxtaposed, embodied respectively by an undertaker who handles 2,000 caskets at Schiphol Airport each year and a young Korean child traveling with his Dutch adoptive parents to the country of his birth. Legacy visits Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and South Africa. And the viewer can only leave the chapter on slavery and migration once all the stories have been told. Empire Interactive offers perspective on the long-term effects of colonialism and makes them palpable.

This competition project is part of the DocLab Expo: Immersive Reality presented by IDFA and De Brakke Grond.

Project details

Year of development :2014
Created by:Eline Jongsma, Kel O'Neill

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