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Serial wins IDFA DocLab Award for Interactive Storytelling 2014

“The winning project is a murder mystery told 15 years after the fact. With its serialized audio podcast format and well-chosen supplementary materials, the project makes an old-fashioned medium feel new again.”

The IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling (€ 2,500) went to Serial (USA) by Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder. Serial is an audio-visual whodunit who keeps the followers of the podcast on permanent tenterhooks: who killed American schoolgirl Hae Min Lee?

The 3 nominees for 2014 were: John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes (USA) by Michael Epstein and Mark Thompson; Serial (USA) by Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder; Seven Digital Deadly Sins (UK / Canada) by Loc Dao, Pablo Vio, Lindsay Poulton, Jeremy Mendes and Francesca Panetta.

This year’s jury members were Annika Gustafson (Sweden); Jenny Smets (the Netherlands) and Jason Spingarn-Koff (USA).

Jury Report

We greatly enjoyed the spirit of experimentation in the 15 projects, which integrated complex materials with interesting interfaces and interactions. Many are highly ambitious, others more simple delightful experiences. A central question we returned to was: How much to value technological innovation and novelty over storytelling? In some cases, we felt that the form or technique detracted from the content and emotional impact. On the other hand we saw projects that used innovative audience engagement and participatory activities. We are in a tremendously exciting period in the evolution of story telling and what matters most is not how we tell our stories, but what we have to say.

Above all, we were deeply impressed by the simplicity and the rigorous storytelling of the winner of this years IDFA Doclab competition. The producers have the audience engaged in a story that on the first hand may look fairly ordinairy, Yet, they have turned this into a riveting program, exploring many complex layers and perspectives through a tireless investigation. And they do this without any cutting-edge technologies. Not only they got us involved from the first moment on, they even got most of us hooked till the end, which actually is still open.

The winning project is a murder mystery told 15 years after the fact. With its serialized audio podcast format, and well-chosen supplementary materials to deepen our engagement – the project makes an old-fashioned medium feel new again. The Winner of this year’s IDFA Doclab competition is Serial.