The Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX) has announced nine new, international immersive documentary projects have been selected for its talent development and training programme, which is dubbed CPH:LAB.
Since 2009, the lab has been seeking to advance new visions of what a documentary can be. With an expanded focus, the lab is now exploring the potential of interactive and immersive digital technologies, integrating alternative business strategies and cross-sector partnerships in a new approach to develop stories in the digital age.
Missing 10 Hours: Multi-Ending VR Piece from The Netherlands by Krisztina Meggyes, Fanni Fazakas, and Zara Olsson: The film asks us what do we do if our control is taken by a drug and given to another human being. How do you behave when we have total power over a defenseless person? The multi-ending virtual experience takes users on a quest through humanity based on a compelling, true story. The objective of the film is to investigate an artificial set up with two users, where one is losing control, while the other is gaining it.
The Language of Silence VR from the USA by Amena Haya and Jiyao Zhang.
The film takes place in Pakistan, where honour is said to be more important than life itself. The Language of Silence allows users to interact with holograms of real Pakistani women, across different socio-economic classes and levels of education, who share their stories of gender disparity, inhumane social laws, and violence in the country.
Ecologies of Memory from Denmark by Helene Nymann and Lasse Smith:
The film questions how we process and remember information and how it is largely affected by constant digital and online stimulation and lack of conscious choice. Do we choose what information to remember? Waking up inside the Cloud, this multidisciplinary project will surge new narratives and alternative ways of perceiving, both human and non-human memories, for more sustainable futures.
The Reciprocity in the Cybernetic Garden from Sweden by Christer Lundahl and Martina Seitl:.
The film takes place in an indoor garden populated by plants, animals, and gardening Artificial Intelligence insects. It blurs the assumptions and division between the living and non-living, technology and nature, eco-system and archive. Visitors enter the installation as gardeners. AR goggles with spatialised audio enhance and reveal aspects of the gardens reality otherwise not visible, as well as rendering human and AI insects – gardeners equal.
Munkination from United Kingdom by Isabelle Kettle and Maf’j Alvarez:
The film is an immersive hiphopera and VR experience, which places the audience member at the centre of a futuristic adventure story about climate change. The project mixes musical styles and genres, combining live performance with a distinctive graphic world.
Civil Dusk from Germany by David Uzochukwu and David Reitenbach:
The film takes place in an apartment somewhere in Europe where an ill Nigerian father longs for his homeland. His family cares for him – but he eventually slips away, turning into sand. Nigerian elements of nature and their physical experience function as input parameters/parameters for interaction. The movie presented using LED displays and directed loudspeakers.
Off The Wall from France by Aude-Emilie Judaïque and Lucie Plançon:
The film is a multi-user and stand-alone VR installation where users immerge into a world of walls and frontiers. The VR experience will be in 3D animation, using archives for reconstruction and giving the project this symbolic vision of the walls. The experience was conceived to be part of an innovative type of exhibition format.
Dark Origins from the United Kingdom by Jelena Viskovic and Calum Bowden:
The film argues that life is stranger than it seems. Dark Origins is a VR discovery of strange lifeforms that live under our feet, in an ecosystem deep inside the Earth twice the size of the world’s oceans. Dark Origins goes on a journey to unravel scientific mysteries about extremophiles, creatures that thrive without any sunlight, in extreme heat and pressure.
Flee from Denmark by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Jess Nicholls and Charlotte de la Gournerie:
The project is a stand-alone piece that seeks to convey the feeling of trauma. It is an emotional journey, that uses animated characters, colour, light, space, music, and sound, to invoke complex, layered feelings in the viewer and implicate them in a way that may move them closer to understanding that there are 65 million people, with 65 million stories, who are forced to flee every year.
Throughout the years, CPH:LAB has established itself as an acknowledged and ambitious, yet playful laboratory-style talent scheme showing great results, including projects from last year, which are now traveling the world. Among others ‘Nerd_Funk’ by Ali Eslami and Mamala Shafahi pitched at IDFA’s Crossmedia Forum and was later commissioned by Netherlands Film Fund and IDFA DocLab; ‘Prison X’ by Violeta Ayala, Olivia Barron and Camila Claros pitched at IDFA Forum which was selected for the first-ever Sundance Talent Forum in January alongside Breathe by Diego Galafassi, Lisa Holmqvist and Jesper Kurlandsky. Later this month, Vibeke Bryld and Maria Kristensen’s Hush and Captured by Hanna Haaslahti and Alap Parikh will be presented at the Venice Gap-Financing Market.
These and other prototypes developed within the lab have been supported by public funding bodies such as DFI, SFI, AVEK as well as private investors and producers such as RYOT – a creative arm of Verizon Media, Khora VR, Magic Leap, and Venice VR Grand Prize-winning studio AtlasV.
This year’s 21 participants will meet for the first residential workshop in Copenhagen. Head of Studies, Mark Atkin, will lead the professional team of mentors, among whom are Arts and Digital Programmer of Tate Modern, Jonathan May (UK); Art Director at Montreal’s immersive experience film and gaming studio Dpt., Maude Thibodeau (CA); award-winning immersive Theatre Director and Experience Designer, Annette Mees, (UK); and Vassiliki Khonsari (US) Director, Producer and Co-Founder of Sundance, Tribeca and Facebook’s Game of the Year winning studio iNK Stories.