About IDFA DocLab

    Every year, DocLab showcases a wide range of interactive and immersive documentary projects for audiences and industry professionals.

    IDFA’s new media program DocLab has been exploring the art of interactive and immersive non-fiction since 2007. Over the years, IDFA DocLab has developed into one of the leading platforms for interactive documentary art and storytelling. Every year, we commission new pieces, initiate collaborations between artists, and offer a wide range of industry activities to support those shaping the landscape of emerging media and art.

    IDFA DocLab 2021

    We are excited to invite you back to a physical edition of IDFA DocLab 2021! In celebration of IDFA DocLab’s fifteenth anniversary, the festival presents the special theme program Liminal Reality: a celebration of ambiguity in life, tech, and art. Referring to an in-between state that is both familiar and unknown, Liminal Reality reflects on the collective ambiguity we now find ourselves in: somewhere between the old normal and a post-COVID world; on the threshold of digital, physical, and hybrid realities.

    IDFA DocLab will take place in Amsterdam from November 19 to 28, with the main new media activities taking place from November 19 to 24.

    The fifteenth edition will see IDFA DocLab return to physical locations in Amsterdam, including Tolhuistuin, A Lab, Eye, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, and ARTIS-Planetarium, in addition to events and performances online and inside virtual worlds. Unique to this year, the long-standing Interactive Conference will be spread over a serie of DocLab: Live events, filled with special theme evenings, live screenings, artist talks and interactive experiments.

    For industry professionals, we are organizing the R&D summit a think-tank event that will take place in the afternoons of 21 and 22 November. Over the course of the festival, we will also host DocLab Forum, a cross media market where the projects presented can find their way to new partnerships, receive in-depth feedback, and explore new ways to move forward.

    Stay tuned this fall as we share more information on what we are passionately working on and all the festivities you can look forward to. In the meantime, you can already apply for festival accreditation and mark key dates in your calendar.

    IDFA DocLab Competitions

    Each year an international jury is invited to give out the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling, the IDFA DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award, and Special Jury Awards for Creative Technology. The two competitions are open to all sorts of interactive and immersive projects ranging from web docs, audio experiences, apps, and XR projects to data art, multimedia journalism, installations, live performances, and full dome.


    The annual DocLab Exhibition showcases around 30 installations and interactive projects, including the projects in competition. Over the course of eleven days, audiences are invited to discover the latest interactive documentaries, explore immersive installations, and play with some of today's most exciting new technologies. Previous works shown in the exhibition include Gaza/Sderot, Prison Valley, HIGHRISE, Robots in Residence, Alma, a Tale of Violence, I Love Your Work, Somebody, Serial, The Enemy, DMZ: Memories of No Man’s Land, Notes on Blindness, Follower, Dance Tonite, Deep Down Tidal, Everything, Die with Me, Algorithmic Perfumery, The Collider: Chapter One, Lagos at Large, Only Expansion, In Event of Moon Disaster, and many more.

    Live Cinema Events

    The most exciting and unpredictable nights of the program are undoubtedly the live cinema events. These one-off interactive evenings each approach a certain topic in their own style, ranging from interactive showcases and artist talks to experimental multimedia performances with live music and contributions from the audience. Over the years the program has included immersive audience experiments by Anagram (A Glitch in Time), Moniker (Crowd Assessment), and Duncan Speakman, musical cinema experiences like #Alleman, Dreams, and Bear 71 Live, interactive dinners Eat | Tech | Kitchen and A Dinner with Frankenstein AI, performances of Ontroerend Goed’s £¥€$ and Micha Wertheim’s Somewhere Else, and world premieres of the collective VR experience Shared Individual, {The And} Live, and This American Life with Ira Glass.

    Interactive Conference

    How do we explore digital behaviour and redefine physical space and the art of documentary storytelling in the digital age? The one-day Interactive Conference brings together leading artists and thinkers from the world of art, technology, science and documentary to share their visions on documentaries and interactive media art. Past speakers include Jepchumba II (African Digital Art), Gabo Arora (UN/VRSE), Jessica Brillhart (Traverse), Ira Glass (This American Life), Jonathan Harris (We Feel Fine, I Love Your Work), Jason Spingarn Koff (Netflix), Rem Koolhaas (OMA), Sophia al Maria, Vincent Morisset (BlaBla, Just a Reflektor), Errol Morris, Marleen Stikker (Waag), and William Uricchio (MIT). Watch several talks from the most recent edition of the Interactive Conference here.

    IDFA DocLab R&D Program

    Presented in collaboration with the MIT Open Documentary Lab, the IDFA DocLab Research & Development Program runs all year-round, ultimately using the festival as a living lab for experimentation, research, and development. The program is aimed at the growing international ecosystem of artists, developers, scientists, and entrepreneurs working in interactive and immersive content, and each year we will focus on specific research questions that arise from developments in the field. See the list of supported projects to date.

    IDFA DocLab Forum

    Taking place as part of IDFA Forum, our three-day co-production and co-financing market supports interactive projects in all production stages. Projects presented at the IDFA DocLab Forum can find their way to new partnerships, receive in-depth feedback, and explore new ways to move forward. Previously presented projects include Alma, a Tale of Violence, Poppy Interactive, and Brett Gaylor’s Do Not Track.

    Additional industry events

    Every year there are also various industry events, networking opportunities, and panels where key players, creators, and new media professionals come together to discuss the future of digital storytelling, virtual reality, and interactive media. Take a look at some past industry events

    DocLab 2019

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