Past events

Live: Super Stream Me 26 Nov 2015 at 20:00

A look back on one of the most ruthless live streaming experiments ever with Tim Den Besten and Nicolaas Veul as well as several special guests.

Live: VR Cinema Showcase 24 Nov 2015 at 20:00

Virtual reality pioneers show their latest works and reflect on both the hype and artistic potential of virtual reality and immersive media.

Live: The Art of Artificial Intelligence 23 Nov 2015 at 20:00

Live cinema event on artificial intelligence, including live presentations of Kyle McDonald, Dries Depoorter and Ross Goodwin.

more events

Open Call for DocLab Academy 2016 Participants

We are now accepting applications for the DocLab Academy 2016!


The DocLab Academy is an international program for new talent in the field of documentary storytelling and interactive media. The program takes place November 17-21 during the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

DocLab Academy 2016
Digital technology has become increasingly entangled with everyday reality. The consequences are far-reaching and can be alarming, but it has also lead to a new era of artistic innovation in non-fiction storytelling and art across multiple disciplines.

But how do we tell an interactive story? What artistic opportunities do new technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and interactive media have to offer? How do the world’s most successful digital pioneers use the endless opportunities of the internet without getting lost? And how do you finance interactive documentaries, find the right partners and reach your audience?

The DocLab Academy program addresses a variety of challenges and opportunities through exclusive workshops on virtual reality and interactive storytelling by international new media pioneers. Portfolio reviews and one-on-one meetings offer insights into more specific questions while the Live Cinema Events and the Interactive Conference provide inspiration. There will also be plenty of time to network and reflect on each other’s work.

Who can participate:
This program is open to documentary filmmakers and new media professionals working both nationally (Dutch and Flemish) and internationally. The deadline for application is September 12, 2016.

Participation to DocLab Academy 2016 costs €130,-

What we offer:
Exclusively for DocLab Academy participants:
• Access to masterclasses & workshops
• Portfolio reviews & one-on-one meetings
• Attendance of the IDFA Crossmedia Forum (Europe’s largest co-financing market)
• Networking opportunities
• Access to IDFA Festival screenings and industry events

Additional access to the DocLab program:
• Interactive Conference on November 20
• DocLab Exhibition
• DocLab Live Cinema Events

How to apply:
Send us an email in English by September 12 (midnight CET) with the following details:
• Short bio (25 words)
• Motivation detailing why you would like to participate (max. 100 words)
• Description of your current or most recent new media project, including visuals (max. 100 words)
• Description of what you would like to learn and research in the field of interactive storytelling (max 50 words)
• Three links to digital or interactive projects that inspire you
• Contact details
• Website and link to online portfolio
• Headshot (portrait)

Send your application or questions to IDFA’s New Media Producer Wotienke Vermeer at

DocLab Academy is an initiative of IDFA’s new media program DocLab and Flemish Arts Center De Brakke Grond.

The program is a.o. supported by Creative Industries Fund NL and The Flanders Audiovisual Fund, Creative Europe Desk Flanders.

Call for entry 2016: IDFA DocLab & IDFA Crossmedia Forum

For those interested in the creative potential of digital technology, virtual reality and interactive media, the 29th edition of IDFA will have more to offer than ever before.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of IDFA’s new media program DocLab, which showcases the best interactive non-fiction storytelling and explores how the digital revolution is reshaping documentary art. We will look back on the past 10 years with special anniversary events and the IDFA DocLab program will showcase the best new work from across the field. DocLab Academy presents a unique interactive training program and the IDFA Crossmedia Forum offers new funding and co-production opportunities for innovative non-linear projects.

New this year is the IDFA DocLab Immersive Network, in which IDFA organizes cross-sectoral networking events, commissions new works and invites the interactive industry to explore the art of immersive technology. A key event will be the invite-only Immersive Network Day on Saturday November 19; more details will be available online in August.

We look forward to receiving your projects and please feel free share this call among your network.

Submission deadline: August 1
DocLab is open to all sorts of interactive projects, ranging from webdocs, virtual reality and artificial intelligence projects to physical installations, multimedia journalism, live performances and everything else that tells a documentary story or explores unknown realities. All projects submitted for the DocLab anniversary program will be considered for the Digital Storytelling Award and the Immersive Non-Fiction Award. Preference is given to pieces that have not been widely presented at other events.
» Click here to submit

IDFA Crossmedia Forum
Submission deadline: September 1
IDFA Forum, the festival’s international co-production and co-finanancing market welcomes new media projects with an emphasis on interactivity seeking professional input, co-production and financing partners. Through public pitches, one-on-one meetings and networking events the Crossmedia Forum is a meeting place for creative producers and a diverse group of professionals in the field of interactive storytelling.
» Click here to submit (from July 1)

DocLab Academy

IDFA and interdisciplinary arts centre De Brakke Grond invite emerging interactive artists, storytellers and documentary filmmakers to apply for a unique 5-day training program, which includes masterclasses, workshops, and access to key industry events. The application deadline is September 12; more details can be found here.

Key festival dates

  • Immersive Network Day Saturday November 19 (by invitation only).
  • DocLab Interactive Conference Sunday November 20: digital pioneers and artists present their most provocative works, lessons learned and visions for the future.
  • IDFA Crossmedia Forum November 21-22.
  • DocLab Summit November 21: industry think tank event (by invitation only).
  • DocLab Live Cinema Events November 17-22: an exclusive series of five unpredictable evenings, ranging from interactive showcases to experimental multimedia performances with live music and contributions from the audience.
  • DocLab Seamless Exhibition November 17-27: showcasing installations and interactive projects exploring the future of documentary storytelling.

DocLab at Virtually There, MIT Open Documentary Lab Conference

Virtually There: Documentary Meets Virtual Reality conference is now available online

virtually there MIT

On May 6th to 7th, IDFA DocLab’s Caspar Sonnen joined other speakers, artists and technologists for a two-day conference held by the MIT Open Documentary Lab to discuss the language, implications, and future of virtual reality and documentary. Speakers included Janet Murray, Jessica Brillhart, Robert Overweg, Félix Lajeunesse, Karim Ben Khelifa, Nonny de la Peña, Brian Chirls, Katerina Cizek and many others.

An exhibition of virtual reality documentary experiments including highlights from IDFA DocLab accompanied the conference.

Caspar Sonnen, Head of New Media at IDFA DocLab begins at the 2:48:12 mark

“VR is capturing the imagination of documentary storytellers, journalists, artists, technologists and investors all over the world. An industry is emerging. Yet for all of its enthusiasts, VR has its skeptics. For all it is talked about, VR can be deeply misunderstood. Virtual reality means many things to many people: an immersive experience, a new tool for storytelling, a cluster of quite different technologies and techniques, and even an epistemological claim.”

Virtually There was presented by MIT Open Documentary Lab, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Phi Centre. For more information about the conference, see the Virtually There website.

IDFA DocLab at Cannes 2016

VR screenings at Cannes Film Festival ’16


As part of the NEXT innovators’ hub at the Marché du Film in Cannes 2016, DocLab presented seven virtual reality projects pushing the boundaries of the documentary genre. The two screening sessions of immersive non-fiction projects showcased a wide range of techniques, from 360 films to interactive animation and hand-drawn virtual reality, followed by Q&A sessions with creator Gabo Arora (VRSE) and Caspar Sonnen, Head of New Media at IDFA.

The full selection included:
Witness 360:7/7
Drawing Room (winner IDFA DocLab Award 2015)
DMZ: Memories of No Man’s Land
Waves of Grace
My Mother’s Wing

DocLab Showcase at SXSW 2016

For the 9th consecutive year, SXSW invited IDFA DocLab to guest curate a session for the SXSW Digital Domain program.


13 March, Austin Suite of the Austin Convention Centre 2PM – 3 PM

This year, we focus on the exciting new frontier of hand-drawn virtual reality. This relatively new form of VR brings a physicality, personality and intimacy to the medium that is hard to achieve in traditional 360 video or computer animated projects. Seeing the same potential, Oculus and HTC Vive recently released their first VR drawing tools (Tilt Brush and Quill), however, few artists have so far been able to really explore the creative and technological challenges of hand-drawn virtual reality.

IDFA DocLab proudly presents an in-depth case study at SXSW featuring Drawing Room, one of the first and most successful hand-drawn virtual reality artworks ever. Drawing Room was created by the pioneering visual artist Jan Rothuizen and interactive designer Sara Kolster in 2015 and premiered as a VR installation at IDFA last November. It went on to win the DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling and is currently travelling the festival circuit. Rothuizen and Kolster will showcase the project, address some of the biggest challenges they faced and share their vision on the future of hand-drawn virtual reality as a medium for storytelling and art.

See the SXSW Digital Domain schedule for a full line-up and follow @doclab for live updates from the event.

IDFA DocLab at SXSW 2016 is supported by Creative Industries Funds NL