FAQ: IDFA DocLab Open Call for Festival Commissions 2023

    The IDFA DocLab Open Call for Festival Commissions opened on March 1. The submission deadline was Friday March 24, 2023. Questions about this call? Check out our FAQs below.

    1. I have a great idea for a project, but I have not started with the execution yet. Can I submit a proposal?
    Yes, provided that the project is feasible, a prototype can be delivered by mid-August, and the project can be ready to premiere at IDFA in November 2023, we are interested in hearing from you.

    2. I have started the project, but it is not finished yet. Can I submit my project to receive (additiofnal) funding? 
    Yes. We welcome interactive and immersive documentary projects that are currently in development or in the early stages of production. If your project is already in production, please include details in your proposal about funding from other partners or otherwise allocated funds, if applicable. 

    3. Can I submit a finished project?
    No. If your project is completed, or has been presented to audiences at another festival, please submit your project through the festival’s general call for interactive / immersive projects and performances for IDFA DocLab 2023 (available mid-March).

    4. I won’t be able to finish my project before November 2023. Are there other ways IDFA DocLab can offer support?
    Yes. If you need more time or more budget to realize your project, we recommend submitting to IDFA DocLab Forum, where projects in all production and financing stages can find their way to new partnerships, receive in-depth feedback, and explore new ways to move forward. Read more about DocLab Forum here.

    5. Who can apply?
    We welcome project submissions by independent artists, collectives, production studios, and organizations from all over the world working on interactive and immersive documentaries. This call is open to all, but we prioritize including projects by artists from underrepresented regions and communities. The call is open to both experienced artists as well as new talent from around the world.

    6. What type of project can I submit?
    Examples of proposed projects include technologically innovative works such as a collective virtual reality experience, a multi-sensory installation, a biometric sound performance, an experimental full-dome experience, and a live performance combined with machine learning. The project can also be an innovation of existing interactive technologies such as smartphones, internet browsers, game consoles, apps, wearable technology and AI. Whatever the format, the proposal must result in a non-fiction artwork that can be experienced by our festival audience in November 2023. Have a look at projects that have previously been supported by this call here.

    7. How do I submitmy  project to the  IDFA  DocLab  Open Call for Festival Commissions?
    Please fill out the online  entry form  and upload your proposal as a PDF file, written in English, with a maximum of six pages. Please ensure to follow the structure outlined in the IDFA DocLab Open Call for Festival Commissions.
    Deadline: Friday, March 24, 2023. 

    8. If my project submission is selected, what kind of 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 per project. This budget is intended to cover artist fees, production costs, materials, and travel costs related to the installation and presentation of the work. We can offer basic technical support as well as a basic travel stipend corresponding to the program section the project is selected for. The total amount of the commission 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 four to eight projects to premiere during the IDFA DocLab festival program 2023 with the addition of being considered for the DocLab competition sections.

    9. How should I outline what (financial) support I need?
    We ask that you outline the required (financial) support in both your written proposal and the online entry form. In the form, we ask for financial details: the total budget, financing already in place, and the budget requested from IDFA. In your written proposal, please motivate the support requested, specify the overall budget, and mention other sources you’ve applied for, differentiating between requested, confirmed, and still-required financing. Please also indicate relevant practical challenges you foresee in realizing the project by November 2023.

    10. I’ve submitted a proposal. What happens now?
    The deadline for proposals is Friday, March 24, 2023. You will receive an email confirming that we have received your proposal. In case you did not receive the confirmation by Wednesday, March 30, please check your spam folder. In some cases, you may be asked to provide further details on your proposal around Monday, May 15. If you have indicated that you have a prototype available, that is the moment we will request it. We will notify all projects of the selection committee’s decision by early June, 2023.

    11. I made a mistake in my entry form/proposal. Can I change it? 
    Once you have submitted an entry form, you can no longer edit it yourself. If you made a mistake in the entry form, please send an email to doclab@idfa.nl and we will make your changes in our database. If you made a mistake in your proposal, please email us the corrected PDF file as soon as possible.

    12. Who will assess my project?
    All proposals will be assessed by external and international program advisors, followed by a final round of selection and production checks by the IDFA DocLab curatorial team. Each year we try to broaden the selection committee, inviting professionals from different backgrounds and fields of expertise.

    13. What happens when my proposal is selected?
    By early June, 2023 we will contact all artists who are selected 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 June 27, 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, and the project should be ready for its intended public premiere in November 2023 at the IDFA festival.

    14. How will my project be presented?
    Selected projects will be presented publicly as part of the IDFA DocLab festival program and may be considered for the DocLab competition sections. The project will also be presented in the context of our living lab (the IDFA DocLab Research & Development program) 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 intellectual property (IP) over their own created work and content, and IP-sensitive information will not be shared.

    15. How does this call relate to the IDFA DocLab R&D Program?
    The IDFA DocLab Research & Development Program uses the festival as a living lab for experimentation, research, and development. The program is aimed at the growing international ecosystem of artists, creative technologists, scientists and entrepreneurs working in interactive and immersive content. One of the ways that we support artists who push the boundaries of emerging media is by commissioning new works that challenge traditional relations between art, reality, and technology and presenting it to our festival audiences.

    16. I have received (financial) support from IDFA DocLab in the past, can I still apply?
    Yes, if you have received project funding and support through the former IDFA DocLab Open Call for R&D Proposals or if you have been a recipient of the Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant before, we are open to hearing from you again.

    17. What happened to the IDFA DocLab Open Call for R&D Proposals?
    In 2022 we changed the name from the ‘Open Call for R&D Proposals’ to the ‘Open Call for Festival Commissions’.

    18. What is the Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant?
    The Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant (up to €20,000) is made available by the Netherlands Film Fund. The grant seeks to connect and support Dutch new media artists and storytellers by facilitating experimental collaborations across countries and disciplines. All projects (co-)produced by Dutch artists or filmmakers who apply through this Open Call for Festival Commissions are eligible for this funding and will automatically be considered for this grant.

    IDFA DocLab is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands, CLICKNL, Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Netherlands Film Fund, and IDFA Special Friends+.

    DocLab research collaboration partners include: MIT Open Documentary Lab, Beeld & Geluid, ARTIS-Planetarium, Atlas V, Bombina Bombast, Diversion cinema, East City Films, Eye Filmmuseum, Flemish Cultural Centre de Brakke Grond, Kaspar AI, National Film Board of Canada, Nu:Reality, ONX Studio, Polymorf, POPKRAFT, Sandman Studio.

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