FAQ: IDFA DocLab

    What is IDFA DocLab?

    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. During the festival we showcase the best new interactive documentary art through two competition programs, a physical exhibition, and a series of experimental live events to present undefined art forms to a wider audience.

    When does IDFA DocLab take place?

    This year IDFA will take place between 18 and 29 November. The IDFA DocLab exhibition will run from 20 - 29 November with most new media activities taking place between November 20-25.

    How do I attend IDFA DocLab?

    The DocLab program offers events accessible for the general audience as well as industry events that can be invite only. The 10-day exhibition is freely accessible throughout the whole festival for both a general audience as well as industry guests, for some projects a (free, on-site) reservation is required. The Interactive Conference, as well as the Live Cinema Events are open to the public, tickets are sold via IDFA’s ticketing system (both online and offline at box offices during the festival). Our program and selected works differ every year, therefore this information can change. Festival specific information can be found here in time.

    What types of projects can I submit to IDFA DocLab?

    IDFA DocLab is open to all sorts of works that use new media to represent reality, ranging from digital non-fiction storytelling and art to physical installations, virtual reality experiences, audio experiences, live performances and multimedia projects. If your project is completed, or has been presented to audiences at another festival, please submit your project through our regular festival Call for Entry for IDFA DocLab 2020 (online in March 2020, deadline 1 July 2020). If you have an idea for a project, or your project is not finished yet, you can submit your proposal through our Call for R&D Proposals 2020 (online in February 2020, deadline March 6 2020).

    How can I submit my project?

    Please go to MyIDFA in order to submit the online entry form and pay the entry fee. Please provide us with the appropriate viewing materials via a (password protected) streaming/download link or by uploading supporting documentation. We can preview interactive/immersive projects on most platforms/devices, including MAC, PC, iOS, Android, Steam, Sony Playstation, Xbox, Oculus Rift, Quest and Go, Samsung Gear and HTC Vive Pro. We can also consider projects for Magic Leap, Hololens or any other type of AR headset. For projects using custom hardware, please get in touch. In case of a performance, live event, installation, fulldome projection or for a platform not specified above, please include visual/written documentation. If applicable, please also include a technical rider or instructions on how to install the project.

    Submission deadline: 1 July 2020.

    How can I submit my proposal (Call for R&D Proposals)?

    Fill out the online entry form and upload your proposal as a PDF file, written in English, with a maximum of five pages. Please ensure to follow the proposal structure outlined in the Call for R&D Proposals

    Submission deadline: 6 March 2020.

    Can I submit a work-in-progress?

    Yes: through our Call for R&D Proposals that offers four to eight selected creators direct financial support for the realization of a new work to premiere at IDFA (deadline 6 March 2020), or you can submit your project for the DocLab Forum where the projects presented (during the IDFA Fstival) can find their way to new partnerships, receive in-depth feedback, and explore new ways to move forward (deadline 1 August 2020).

    Through the regular Festival Entry (deadline: 1 July) we do not select unfished projects, but do recognize that at the time of submission your project might not be finalized. Although we strongly prefer to be sent final versions, we do accept works in progress for viewing purposes. If your project is a work in progress at time of submission, please provide extensive visual and written documentation, including the date you will send us the final version as well as the contact details of the person providing it. Please note that we will not consider multiple iterations of the same work.

    I made a mistake on my entry form. Can I get back in to change it?

    Once you have submitted an entry form, you can no longer change it yourself. Please send an e-mail to doclab@idfa.nl, and we will make the changes for you in our database.

    I submitted a project. What happens next?

    Submitted projects will be considered
    (1) for the IDFA DocLab Competition,
    (2) as an installation for our festival exhibition,
    (3) as a performance at our DocLab events and/or
    (4) for the IDFA DocLab Online Database.
    Projects selected as part of the competition program are eligible for the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling as well as the IDFA DocLab Immersive Non-Fiction Award.

    How and when will I find out if my work is selected through the call for Festival Entry?

    When a project is selected, the festival will notify the applicant, director, creator and/or producer no later than on October 9, 2020. Once your work has been selected, you may use the IDFA logo and the relevant IDFA laurel for publicity purposes. The files will be sent to you in digital form.

    If selected, how will my work be presented at the festival?

    If selected, your work will be showcased as part of the annual IDFA DocLab Exhibition and/or one of the DocLab Live events and/or IDFA on Stage.

    I have submitted a proposal. What happens now?

    The submission deadline is Friday, March 6, 2020. You will receive an email confirming that we have received your proposal by Wednesday, March 11. All proposals will be evaluated by both an internal as well as an external selection committee. In some cases, you may be asked to provide further details on your proposal which would be around Wednesday, 15 April. We will notify all projects of the selection committee’s decision by early May, 2020.

    If my proposal is selected, what kind of financial support will I receive?

    For the realization, production, or development of the proposed project, we can offer a commissioning budget between €2,500 and €10,000. The total amount will depend on what is needed to realize the idea, how much funding is already in place, and the total number of selected proposals. We aim to financially support a total of 4 to 8 projects in 2020. This includes the projects selected for the Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant.

    What happens when my R&D proposal is selected?

    By early May we will notify all grantees about selection, and send a formal agreement with further details about the amount of the grant, timeline, deliverables and the DocLab R&D program. After confirmation, IDFA will transfer the funds for (further) development of the project.

    By the first of July you should submit further details about the project using the regular festival Entry form. A prototype of the project needs to be delivered by mid-August, in time for its intended public premiere in November 2020 at the IDFA festival.

    During IDFA, the project will also be presented in the context of our living lab, where knowledge is produced through audience research and case studies by MIT and exchanged between artists, organizations, and audiences. Please note: Grantees will retain the IP over their own created work and content, and IP-sensitive information will not be shared.

    If selected, will I be invited to attend the festival?

    We want to encourage everyone to attend the festival (in Amsterdam or virtually, between 18-29 November 2020). Artists involved in a project selected for the DocLab program are eligible for a free guest badge pass. In some cases, we will also offer help with accommodation and travel expenses, however this support is limited and priority will be given to persons involved in specific festival events. Anyone who wishes to attend the festival must fill out the online accreditation form through MyIDFA.

    I am still looking for funding and/or partners, can you help?

    In 2019, IDFA introduced a new, complete cross-media market called the IDFA DocLab Forum, where the projects presented can find their way to new partnerships, receive in-depth feedback, and explore new ways to move forward. The DocLab Forum is open to all kinds of interactive projects in all production stages, ranging from webdocs, virtual reality and artificial intelligence projects to physical installations, multimedia journalism, live performances and everything else that tells a documentary story or explores unknown realities. The entry form will be available June 1, 2020.

    Submission deadline: August 1, 2020.

    What is the DocLab R&D Program?

    In 2018 IDFA DocLab launched a five-year R&D program about interactive and immersive media and art in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Open Documentary Lab). The IDFA DocLab R&D Program seeks to challenge the boundaries of traditional research and development frameworks. Artists are researchers in this setup, and the art born from their praxis helps to (re)define the field and push the boundaries of what interactive/immersive media and art can be. The program is aimed at the growing international ecosystem of artists, developers, scientists and entrepreneurs working in interactive and immersive media and art. Using the festival as a living lab for experimentation, research, and development, valuable knowledge is distilled by MIT and other research partners, and then shared between artists, organizations, and audiences.

    An integral component of the research program is the R&D Summit, a think tank event for experts from all corners of the interactive and immersive storytelling industry to develop the field and exchange insights.

    What is DocLab Academy?

    In new media, talent development doesn’t follow a traditional route. Artists can be established in one medium, but beginners in another. And the type of support that can help bring a project to the next level varies widely across disciplines. Therefore, DocLab Academy now offers a tailor-made program that uses the festival as a living lab for research and development, experimentation and networking.  DocLab Academy is aimed at supporting the growing international ecosystem of artists, developers, scientists and entrepreneurs working across interactive and immersive media and art. More information on the DocLab Academy 2020 follows soon, keep an eye out on the website.