The specials at IDFA: Part I Doclab

The specials at IDFA: Part I Doclab

Nov 14, 2012 |  by  |  Art, Event
About the author
As a freelance journalist, Anouk (26) usually writes about what other people do or like. In her precious spare time she watches arthouse films. Not a few. A lot, thanks to her trusted Cineville pass. Here she can finally share her film-fetish with the world.

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. During twelve days it will show 317 (!) different documentaries. Not only in the regular programme, but also in special programmes like Doclab and Paradocs. You might overlook these two specials, due to the wide range of films and other activities. That would be a shame, because the chances are big that Doclab and Paradocs will pleasantly surprise you.

Don’t miss the specials: Doclab

Follow a bear

Doclab is interested in the mix and intertwining between film and new media. “How did the digital revolution effect film makers?” That’s how coordinator Caspar Sonnen sums it up. To make clear what he means, he shows a short documentary on his iPad. A Guetemalan woman tells her “tale of violence”. The viewer can choose to just look at her, but is also able to swipe to other images that show the places which the woman is talking about. After that, Sonnen shows a part of the film Bear 71. A couple of Canadian film makers made a film about this bear, by using the data his gps-chip gathered. We see a big area in which Bear 71 moves. A voice-over tells the story through the eyes of this creature. The end has a very unexpected twist! One that is only possible thanks to new media. Online you’ll find many, many, many more of interesting shorts. Sonnen: “It shows how the art of documentary making has changed the last ten years.”

No beaten paths, please

In an exposition space in De Brakke Grond, Doclab wil show a couple of documentaries in their “natural form”. There will be installations, iPads with apps, and so on. Also, some filmmakers will be there during the showing of their film to comment on it live. According to Sonnen, IDFA is one of the few festivals that offers this; most filmmakers (and festivals) don’t dare to go outside the beaten paths. Another example: in the case of Bear 71 live music will be played.


Because it’s the 5th time Doclab is part of the festival, there is a conference on Sunday the 18th to put some pioneering filmmakers in the spotlights. “Five years ago there were a handfull of filmmakers who played with the possibilities of new media,” says Sonnen. “Today they still make the best stuff. With them we’ll talk about what the future may bring.” Not only people from the film world share their views though. Jane Burton (from the Tate Modern Gallery), a journalist from the New York Times and photographers will talk about their expectations.
Last but not least: there’s a real robot riding through the expo space! This “robot in residency” will be talking to and filming the public. Alexander Reben (from MIT) made the robot, filmmaker Brent Hof makes sure the footage is interesting enough for the public. On November 19th the result will be showed to the public. Very cool!
Sonnen: “You see, Doclab is in fact the delicatessen store of the festival.”

For the full (regular) programme check:

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