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The Netherlands Film Fund and IDFA DocLab are delighted to announce the recipients of the Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant 2019. This year’s three selected projects are: a post-human virtual reality installation by artists Ali Eslami and Mamali Shafahi; an artificial intelligence installation by studios RNDR and Makropol; and a multimedia photography piece by photographer Sanne de Wilde. As recipients of the grant, these talented artists will share a total prize of €20,000 to develop their projects further. The completed works will be presented at IDFA DocLab in November.
Now in its third year, the grant seeks to connect Dutch new media artists internationally by facilitating experimental collaborations across countries and disciplines. Innovative projects of high artistic quality with international potential that offer a collective experience are eligible for the award.
The Film Fund and DocLab were happy to see a record number of submissions this year, reflecting the healthy growth of the interactive and immersive field in the Netherlands. Alongside the surge in artist submissions, previously granted projects continue to advance. Artists funded by the grant in 2017 and 2018 have since gone on to showcase their works at festivals such as Sundance, IDFA, SXSW, and Sheffield Doc/Fest, and win awards such as the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction and the Tegel journalism award.
This year’s grant recipients are as follows:
Originally from Iran, Amsterdam-based artists Ali Eslami and Mamali Shafahi will create a post-human virtual reality project about Instagram as a living archive of human behavior. With the working title Nerd_Funk Postbody, the piece builds on the growing momentum of these two artists in the interactive and immersive field: in the past year, Shafahi has exhibited his work in Paris and London, and Eslami has been living and working in Amsterdam as part of the renowned 3Package Deal residency. In 2016, Eslami won the IDFA DocLab Award for Best Immersive Non-Fiction for his project DeathTolls Experience.
RNDR and Makropol’s forthcoming artificial intelligence installation Kaspar (working title) responds to the question: what is the potential of AI filmmaking? With support from the grant, the innovative Dutch and Danish studios will create an interactive AI installation that allows the audience to compare, first-hand, film editing done by humans versus artificial intelligence. Previously, DocLab co-commissioned Makropol’s 2016 project The Shared Individual, a creative experiment in live, multi-user VR theater.
Finally, award-winning photographer Sanne de Wilde will create a multimedia photography work with the working title Land of Ibeji, which explores the concepts of mirroring, self, and other in twins. As part of her larger photography/multimedia project which won first prize in the World Press Photo Contest, Portrait series, de Wilde’s newly granted work will delve deeper into the theme of twinhood, incorporating participatory and interactive creative processes. With this project, De Wilde returns to DocLab after the success of The Island of the Colorblind, the interactive installation co-commissioned by DocLab in 2015.
Image from Nerd_Funk Postbody (working title) by Ali Eslami and Mamali Shafahi.