A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.
An ongoing interactive web documentary based on video footage shot by Palestinians working with B’Tselem’s Camera Distribution Project.
The basis for this documentary project is video footage from B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. In 2007, B’Tselem began giving Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza video cameras as well as basic training in shooting and editing. Their hope was that the resulting video would allow Palestinians themselves to not only document the infringement of their rights, but also to present their the anger, pain, joy, and hope of their daily lives to both Israelis and to the international public.
Points of View aims to increase exposure to B’tslem’s important and unique project through the creation of a map based interactive documentary that both situates the footage in its location of origin and creates new narrative threads of meaning from the stories that emerge. Viewers can browse the clips randomly, or follow pre-determined video trails that are connected via events and tags. The video trails offer viewers a way to learn more about particular events or areas, but also allow them to make their own connections, creating non-linear narratives that resist the fixed conclusions that can be provoked by linear documentary filmmaking.
This user-directed interface empathizes the auto-ethnographic nature of the video footage, and the lack of a fixed narrative thread allows for the footage to be seen and understood as a series of insightful yet highly complex ‘snapshots’ of a situation that is often stripped of subtlety and dimension in media accounts.
The main focus while developing the project was the design of database-driven authoring system that could dynamically expand and allow B’Tselem to post new videos on their own in the future. The design of the project is heavily indebted to the Open Source software movement and the code is released under a BSD license.
IDFA DocLab is the New Media program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Since 2007, the program showcases new forms of documentary storytelling and interactive media art, both online and offline. During the IDFA Festival in November, DocLab presents a competition program for Digital Documentary Storytelling, live cinema events, interactive installations, workshops and industry panels. The program is open to all media that can be used to tell a documentary story.