This is a must-watch for anyone interested in interactive and collaborative documentary. Professor Jon Dovey, of the Digital Cultures Research Centre in the UK, gave a keynote speech to the Expanding Documentary conference I went to last December in Auckland, and it’s now available to view online. Dovey has a wealth of stories, thoughts and ideas to share around how online documentary can be a collaborative effort and also the technological innovations occurring that are relevant to this.
For those taking their first tentative steps towards making an interactive documentary, Klynt is one of the latest tools. Klynt enables users to create an interactive documentary incorporating a range of media - video, stills, text, audio, content pulled from the web, and hyperlinks. The interface is straightforward enough for anyone with reasonable Mac skills to be able to use, there’s not a line of code in sight.
Cowbird is a new online storytelling and diarising tool for those fully embracing the publicly lived life through social media. It’s a site where users can post diary entries with stills, audio and text, and in doing so become part of a community of others doing the same.
Ira Glass is a rock star. So say Sydneysiders, who queued around the block to get in to the sold out event at the Sydney Festival last night. A second show immediately afterwards assuaged all those who missed out in the first ticket-buying frenzy. I couldn’t help beaming as I surveyed the crowd, all of whom were here to see not some pop star with an album to spruik but this unassuming, nasally-sounding guy who does radio. Radio!
There are those who sniff at developments in mobile phone movie making as a passing fad for young’uns, but in townships in South Africa, the mobile is leapfrogging the computer as the media platform of choice. In locations where most don’t have television, and certainly don’t have computers, everyone has a mobile - and most are internet-enabled. People who have never used a mouse or keyboard are accessing content through their phones, and Bozza is an organisation aiming to to make that content local.
One Millionth Tower, the next instalment in the ambitious NFB project Highrise, has just launched. Continuing on the central theme of highrise living, One Millionth Tower shifts focus from the global spread of the previous Highrise release Out My Window, and goes hyper-local, to a highrise housing block on the outskirts of Toronto. Subject to the same decay as many similar tower blocks around the world, the Toronto tower is windswept and unwelcoming. The filmmakers brought together residents, architects and animators to discuss their hopes for the precinct, and then to visualise these ideas.
Ahead of the Australian premiere of Shooting Vs Shooting: Dying for the Truth at the 18th Greek Film Festival, I spoke with journalist/director Nikos Megrelis about his quest to pay tribute to the journalists who lost their lives reporting from the front line in Iraq.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the Occupy Wall Street protests, watching the Twitter updates and sifting through a few articles. YouTube also provides the odd bit of insight; this cute kid dancing provides a sweet reminder of what it’s all for, and this is a suitably energising video of Slavoj Zizek also reminding protesters of why they’re there (although the transcript is a bit quicker).
Veteran British documentary filmmaker, Nick Broomfield is shifting gears. Having wrapped his forthcoming documentary feature Sarah Palin: You Betcha! – set to premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival - Variety has reported that the director is now poised to helm a narrative feature set in Congo.
Filmmaker Darius Devas’s father was on Facebook, with a friend total of two - one of whom was his son. While Devas was visiting his father in Byron Bay though, in the space of a month his friend count rose from two into the hundreds. It seemed that this pattern was occurring simultaneously around the world, as old friends from the Goa hippy trail were rediscovering each other online. A reunion was planned, and Devas knew he had his next film project.
Photographer and filmmaker Jeff Topham looks a little bewildered to find himself staying in the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, but with the Possible Worlds Film Festival picking up the tab, including for the beer he’s just ordered, he’s not complaining. The shiny hotel foyer is certainly a far cry from Liberia, the location of Topham’s documentary film, Liberia ’77, which is screening at the festival on Saturday. Liberia ’77 is about Jeff and his brother Andrew returning to Liberia, where they spent part of their childhoods, and discovering a country slowly trying to heal itself after horrendous periods of civil war.
Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’ provocative documentary is a “devastating portrait of contemporary social inequality" - The New Yorker.
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