IDFA DocLab Open Call for R&D Proposals 2020

    Submission is now closed.

    Our goal is to discover and commission interactive and immersive non-fiction works that challenge traditional relations between art, audiences, and technology. Whereas our annual Call for Festival Submissions (going online early March 2020) is open to finished works only, this Open Call for R&D Proposals offers up to €10,000 support to realize a new work and premiere it at IDFA 2020. In total, a commissioning budget of €50,000 is made available through the IDFA DocLab R&D Program and the Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant, among other sources. This call is open to experienced artists as well as new talent from all over the world.

    The application deadline was Friday, March 6.

    About IDFA DocLab

    As part of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), IDFA DocLab has been exploring the art of interactive and immersive storytelling since 2007. Besides being one of the world's leading platforms to showcase emerging media and interdisciplinary documentary art, IDFA DocLab also commissions new pieces, initiates collaborations between artists, and offers a wide range of activities to support the emerging interactive and immersive industry community, including the IDFA DocLab R&D Program. Works are showcased throughout the twelve-day IDFA festival as part of competition programs, a physical exhibition, experimental live performances, industry events, and a one-day conference.

    ​Why do this call for proposals?

    In 2018 IDFA DocLab launched a five-year R&D program in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Open Documentary Lab), among other partners, to expand the festival into a living lab for artistic experimentation, research, and development across disciplines. Our goal is to support emerging media by facilitating the creation of ground-breaking artworks, connecting them to audiences, and sharing insights gained during this process with the field. Take a look at the supported projects from previous years.

    Who should apply?

    We welcome submissions by independent artists, collectives, and studios from all over the world working across disciplines. We are looking for interactive and immersive non-fiction experiences that are innovative, feasible, and that challenge traditional relations between art, audiences, and technology. We are open to projects that are already in development, as well as proposals for a radically different presentation form of an existing work (e.g. a video game turned into a theatrical live performance, or a linear film turned into an augmented reality audio walk). And although we love works that challenge definitions of documentary, we won’t be able to consider works that are purely fiction.

    What can we offer?

    We offer four to eight selected creators direct financial support for the realization of a new work to premiere at IDFA 2020 (November 18-29, 2020). Per project, we can provide a commissioning budget ranging from €2,500 to €10,000. The exact amount depends on the overall number of selected proposals and the scope of each project.

    For Dutch (co-)productions, specific funding in the form of the Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant (up to €20,000) is made available by the Netherlands Film Fund. All projects (co-)produced by Dutch artists or filmmakers are eligible for this funding and will automatically be considered for this Grant.

    All supported project presented at the festival are eligible to be included in audience research and case studies executed by MIT Open Documentary Lab.


    The application deadline is Friday, March 6, but the sooner you let us know what you are working on, the better. All proposals will be evaluated by both an internal as well as an external selection committee. In some cases, further details may be requested around Friday, April 15. We will notify you of the final selection committee’s decision by early May. A prototype of the project should be delivered by mid-August, and the project is to be premiered at IDFA in November 2020.

    Submission for R&D Proposals is now closed. In March our regular festival Call for Entry for IDFA DocLab 2020 goes online. Keep an eye out!

    The IDFA DocLab Immersive Network R&D Program is made possible by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, CLICKNL, the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, The Netherlands Film Fund, Diversion, and Flanders Audiovisual Fund.

    DocLab research collaborations: MIT Open Doc Lab and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.