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

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 

Call For Entries IDFA DocLab 2016

DocLab is open to all sorts of interactive projects, ranging from webdocs, apps and virtual reality projects to data art, multimedia journalism, installations and live performances.

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For those interested in the creative potential of digital technology, virtual reality and interactive media, this year’s International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (16-27 November 2016) will have more to offer than ever before.

Since 2007, the IDFA DocLab program showcases the best interactive non-fiction storytelling and explores how the digital revolution is reshaping documentary art. DocLab Academy presents a unique interactive training program and IDFA’s Crossmedia Forum offers new funding and co-production opportunities for innovative non-linear projects.

IDFA DocLab: submission deadline August 1

DocLab is open to all sorts of interactive projects, ranging from webdocs, apps and virtual reality projects to data art, multimedia journalism, installations and live performances. This year marks IDFA DocLab’s tenth anniversary, so we are preparing the largest edition to date. Click here to submit your project.


  • IDFA DocLab is open to all sorts of works that use new media to represent reality, ranging from digital non-fiction storytelling and art to physical installations, virtual reality experiences, live performance and multimedia projects.
  • Submitted projects will be considered (1) for the IDFA DocLab Competition, (2) as an installation for our festival exhibition, (3) as a performance at our live cinema events and/or (4) for the IDFA DocLab Online Database
  • Projects selected as part of the competition program are eligible for the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Documentary Storytelling and the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction Storytelling
  • The IDFA DocLab program and competition are open to unreleased projects, as well as projects that have been made publicly available on the internet after August 2015. Priority is given to projects that have not yet been presented at other events or festivals.

Find IDFA’s full entry regulations here.

Key Festival Dates

Jury Report | IDFA DocLab Competition 2015

Winners of the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling and IDFA DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award announced at IDFA’s 28th award ceremony.

Members of the jury: Hay Kranen (The Netherlands), Margaux Missika (France), Oscar Raby (Chile)
Documentary is supposed to make us understand the world better. But reality is harsher than pictures and in the face of a violent and incoherent world, we find shelter in personal, humble stories. Stories in which the characters speak directly to us. Their voices have been driving us through the festival. We’re discovering sound again. The intimacy of the voice is a driving force behind many of this year’s projects, and seems a natural tool to facilitate immersion.
The internet is fully grown up now. Projects focus on what’s needed to tell a story, instead of what is possible with technology. Instead of adding, we’re subtracting, taking away what is superfluous. We’re starting to master the medium, and are learning that it’s usually best to do one thing, and do it well.
We believe our two chosen projects are exemplary for this trend.IDFA DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award
For this new award, we chose a project that has simplicity at its heart. The tools used for this project are indeed state of the art: the real world and human imagination. At it’s core it has an urgent question: how do we learn to live together, to trust people who are different from us? The winner awkwardly challenges us with the idea that we can be characters in other people’s lives. The winner of the IDFA DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award is Someone Else by Ant Hampton.IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling
Our choice for the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling gives the user the chance of coloring their experience and connecting the dots with their imagination. In a time when we can access anything online, it felt welcomed to hear a personal story, a point of view. Poetry, contemplation and emotions are pieces of a puzzle that fall naturally into place in this work. The winner of the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling is Drawing Room bij Jan Rothuizen and Sara Kolster.

Content for Cardboards

Explore non-fiction content to watch on your cardboard

IDFA Cardboards

IDFA 2015

Waves of Grace: (9 minutes, 2015) VRSE iOS & Android
Liberia has endured the largest Ebola outbreak in history. As communities rebuild, one woman seeks healing through faith. This is the story of Decontee Davis, an Ebola survivor who uses her immunity to care for orphaned children in her village.
Directors: Gabo Arora, Chris Milk

LoVR (5 minutes, 2015)  iOS & Android
A virtual reality love trip through the brain activity that occurs in the staggering moment you fall in love; a poem written in data.
Created by:Aaron Bradbury

IDFA 2014:

The Polar Sea (2014)  Android iOS
A 360-degree documentary that shows the climatological and cultural changes taking place in the Arctic area, literally from all sides.
Created by:Thomas Wallner

Other VR Content

War of Words VR  (3 minutes, 2014) Android  iOS
‘War Of Words: VR’ uses virtual reality to take you back to 1916, and into a mindset captured by Siegfried Sassoon in his controversial poem ‘The Kiss’.
Directed by: BDH

Clouds Over Sidra: (8minutes, 2015) VRSE iOS & Android
The Zaatari Refugee Camp is home to 130,000 Syrians fleeing violence and war. Children make up half the camp’s population. This is the story of Sidra, a 12-year old girl who has spent the last 18 months in Zaatari.
Directors: Gabo Arora, Chris Milk

The Displaced: (11 minutes, 2015) NYTVR iOS & Andriod
War has driven 30 million children from their homes. These are the stories of three of them. 11 minutes 2015
Directors: Imraan Ismail, Ben C. Solomon

Walking New York (7 minutes 2015) NYTVR iOS & Andriod
Vrse and the New York Times come together to capture the birth of a new large-scale street art installation in New York. Renowned French artist JR, famous for posting massive photographs in urban environments, attempts to create a poetic awareness of New York’s storied history as a city of immigrants. The monumental portrait was conceived as a cover for the NYT’s Walking New York issue.
Creators: JR + Chris Milk + Zach Richter

Squarepusher – Stor Eiglass VR (4 minutes, 2015) Android iOS
UK-based electronic musician Tom Jenkinson — a.k.a. Squarepusher — has released a highly entertaining, and at times bizarre, fully immersive virtual reality video for “Stor Eiglass,” the latest single from his new album, Damogen Furies
Creators: Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF), Blue Zoo and Rob Pybus

Google Street View App (2015) [Android|iOS]
Want to take a virtual tour of Stonehenge? How about downtown Chicago? Or your very own town? It’s now possible thanks to Google’s Street View app
created by: Google

Vice News Vr : Millions March Nyc 12.13.14: (8 minutes, 2015) VRSE iOS & Android
The first ever Virtual Reality news broadcast covers the Millions March in New York City. 60,000 New Yorkers took to the streets and marched as one to call for an end to racial profiling by police. Alice Speri reports from inside the protest.
Directors: Chris Milk, Spike Jonze

IDFA DocLab Selection 2015!

Explore this year’s selection with works ranging from virtual reality and interactive narratives to data art, multimedia journalism and immersive installations.

Fifteen projects will compete for the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling (€5,000). New this year is the IDFA DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award (€2,500), for which the jury can also choose from projects and installations included in this year’s Seamless Reality program.

Full details on the DocLab Seamless Reality exhibition (19-29 November), our series of Live Cinema Events (19-26 November) and the fourth annual Interactive Documentary Conference (22 November) will follow soon.

IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling 2015
The Deeper They Bury Me by Ted Biggs/Angad Bhalla (Canada, 2015)

DMZ: Memories of No Man’s Land by Hayoun Kwon (South Korea, 2015, 20 min.)

Drawing Room by Jan Rothuizen (The Netherlands, 2015, 7 min.)

Exhausting a Crowd by Kyle McDonald (USA, 2015, 720 min.)

Imperial Courts by Eefje Blankevoort/Dana Lixenberg (The Netherlands, 2015)

Lahore Landing by Jeremy Ho (Singapore, 2015)

Life on Hold by Reem Haddad/Dima Gharbawi Shaibani (Qatar, 2015)

LoVR by Aaron Bradbury (England, 2014, 5 min.)

Network Effect by Jonathan Harris/Greg Hochmuth (USA, 2015)

The Quipu Project, Talking Knots by Maria Court/Rosemarie Lerner (Peru/England, 2015)

RecoVR Mosul: A Collective Reconstruction by Ziv Schneider/Laura Chen (USA, 2015)

The Unknown Photographer by Loïc Suty (Canada, 2015)

Waves of Grace by Gabo Arora (USA, 2015)

Witness 360: 7/7 by Darren Emerson (England, 2015, 13 min.) by Ross Goodwin (USA, 2015)


Special Focus 2015: Seamless Reality

The DocLab: Seamless Reality program is a co-production of IDFA DocLab and De Brakke Grond, made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

Bistro in Vitro by Bruno Felix/Koert van Mensvoort (The Netherlands, 2015, 100 min.)

Cue China by Ant Hampton (England, 2014, 28 min.)

Do Not Track by Brett Gaylor (France/Germany/Canada, 2015, 10 min.)
Pitched at IDFA Forum in 2013

The Enemy by Karim Ben Khelifa (France/Canada, 2015, 17 min.)

Famous Deaths by Frederik Duerinck/Marcel Brakel (The Netherlands, 2015)

Rebuild Fukushima by Bert Hana (The Netherlands, 2015)

Sheriff Software by Dries Depoorter (Belgium, 2015)

Someone Else by Ant Hampton (Belgium, 2015, 45 min.)

Super Stream Me by Tim den Besten/Nicolaas Veul (The Netherlands, 2015)

That Dragon, Cancer by Ryan Green/Amy Green/Josh Larson (USA, 2015)

HIGHRISE: Universe Within by Katerina Cizek (Canada, 2015)

Walden, a Game by Tracy Fullerton (USA, 2015, 360 min.)

Kiya by Nonny de la Pena/Brad Lichtenstein (USA, 2015)

Way to Go by Vincent Morisset (France/Canada, 2015)

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