Documentary filmmakers are seizing the opportunity to use emerging technologies and expand their linear films into digital platforms to engage with audiences in new ways. In this panel, meet three of the most exciting experts on the subject who have cultivated and perfected the interactive, digital form as their primary way of representing reality: Berlin-based media artist Florian Thalhofer, maker of online documentaries and the creator of the Korsakow System -a leading software for the creation of nonlinear documentaries-; Jonathan Harris, award winning artist behind the We Feel Fine project with a mission to find ways for technology to deepen our understanding of ourselves and our lives; and Fred Ritchin, Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, author of After Photography, and director of PixelPress. The panel will be moderated by Hanne-Lovise Skartveit, film producer with a PhD on Interactive and Hybrid documentary forms. The panel will explore different forms of “Interactive Documentary”, show examples, and discuss the possibilities and limits of the formats, including funding, audiences and distribution. An event curated by Andre Valentim Almeida and Hanne-Lovise Skartveit.
Florian Thalhofer is a Berlin media-artist and documentary-filmmaker. He is the inventor of Korsakow, a software (and a principle) to create rulebased, nonlinear and interactive narrations. He made around 15 Korsakow-films, 4 Korsakow-installations and more than 25 Korsakow-shows. Florian has made countless talks at conferences, festivals and universities and has run around 40 one-week workshops around the world. He was a guest-professor at the German Literature-Institute Leipzig (DLL), lecturer at University of the Arts, Department of Experimental Media-Design and lecturer at the DFFB.
Fred Ritchin is professor of Photography & Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and author of the recently published After Photography (2009) on the potentials for new image strategies in the digital era. He has been writing about the impact of the digital environment on documentary imagery since 1984. Ritchin is also director and co-founder of PixelPress, an organization that has collaborated with many human rights organizations on various kinds of media campaigns, and also experimented with new documentary approaches online. The non-linear documentary website he created in 1996 for the New York Times with photographer Gilles Peress, “Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace,” was nominated by the Times for a Pulitzer Prize in public service. He has also contributed essays to books such as Under Fire: Great Photographers and Writers in Vietnam, Sahel: The End of the Road, In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers, and Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road.
Jonathan Harris makes projects that reimagine how humans relate to technology and to each other. His projects range from building the world’s largest time capsule (with Yahoo!) to documenting an Alaskan Eskimo whale hunt on the Arctic Ocean. He is the co-creator of We Feel Fine. After studying computer science at Princeton University, he won a 2005 Fabrica fellowship and three Webby Awards. His work has also been recognized by AIGA, Ars Electronica, The World Economic Forum (which named him a 2009 Young Global Leader). His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Jonathan has also been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou and The Victoria and Albert Museum, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, BBC. He has given talks at Google, Princeton and Stanford Universities and the TED Conference among others.
Hanne-Lovise Skartveit is a producer who has made documentaries and commercials for UNICEF, a documentary series for Ecuadorian television, and an animated interactive documentary. She is currently producing a narrative feature film to be shot in Ecuador in January 2012. She has also directed documentaries and digital art projects, and in collaboration with the Museum of London and UNESCO, she edited the book Changes in Museum Practice: New Media, Refugees and Participation (Berghahn Books, New York/Oxford, 2010) on innovative strategies for engaging young voices through media production. She holds a Master in Screenwriting from the University of Bergen, Norway, and a PhD in Film and New Media from the same institution. Her PhD thesis explored interactive and hybrid documentary forms.
André Valentim Almeida is an Assistant Professor at the University of Porto, now pursuing his PhD degree in Interactive Documentary. He has been involved in several video productions, namely directing the feature documentaries Uma na Bravo Outra na Ditadura and From New York with Love. He was the Scientific Coordinator of a large-scale video and audio training program at the Portuguese News Agency, spending several months training journalists and editors in the newsroom. Andre, was part of the 2010-2011 UnionDocs’ Collaborative during which his work has been screened at the MoMA, the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts (Cambridge), and TEDx Brooklyn, among others.