IDFA DocLab Open Call for R&D Proposals 2021

    The IDFA DocLab Open Call for Research & Development Proposals for 2021 is now closed. Look back on the call below and stay tuned for next year's call in spring 2022.

    We are happy to announce the IDFA DocLab Open Call for Research & Development Proposals for 2021. 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 (to be published in the upcoming weeks) 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 2021. The call is open to experienced artists as well as new talent from around the world, and the application deadline is Friday, March 26.

    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 present emerging media and documentary art, IDFA DocLab commissions new works and collaborations between artists across disciplines. Works are showcased throughout the twelve-day IDFA festival as part of competition programs, exhibitions, experimental live performances, industry events, and a conference. Other activities to support the emerging interactive and immersive industry include the IDFA DocLab Forum and the IDFA DocLab R&D Program.

    ​Why open 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.

    Partners, institutions, and studios that we work with include the National Film Board of Canada, Phi Centre, ARTIS-Planetarium, CreativeXR, Diversion cinema, the Netherlands Institute of Sound & Vision, Atlas V, Anagram, Upian, Submarine, Het Nieuwe Instituut, POPKRAFT, The Immersive Storytelling Studio (National Theatre), and Tolhuistuin. Take a look at our previously supported projects.

    Who can apply?

    We welcome project submissions by independent artists, production studios, and organizations from all over the world working on interactive and immersive artworks. We are looking for innovative, feasible experiences 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 book turned into an outdoor augmented reality experience for public spaces). Although we won’t be able to consider works that are purely fiction, we love works that challenge definitions of what a documentary artwork can be.

    What can we offer?

    We offer four to eight selected creators direct financial support for the realization of a new work to premiere during IDFA 2021 (November 17-28). We can provide a commissioning budget ranging from €2,500 to €10,000 per project. The exact amount depends on the overall number of selected proposals and the scope of each project. We can also provide a limited number of projects additional support through matchmaking and consultation with partners and experts within our network.

    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 Netherlands-based artists or filmmakers are eligible for this funding and will automatically be considered for the Film Fund Doclab Interactive Grant.

    All realized projects are to be presented publicly as part of DocLab exhibitions and events during the IDFA 2021 festival, and may be included for further audience research and case studies executed by MIT Open Documentary Lab.

    Deadlines & selection timeline

    The application deadline is Friday, March 26, but we are happy to receive earlier applications. 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, May 3. We will notify you of the selection committee’s final decision by late May. A prototype of the project should be delivered by mid-August, and the project is to be premiered at IDFA in November 2021.

    ​How to submit a proposal

    Fill out the online entry form and upload your project proposal as a PDF file, written in English, with a maximum of five pages following the structure below:

    Page 1: Cover page containing:

    • name of the project
    • tagline
    • names of the creators and their full contact information (address, email, and phone number)
    • cover image or visual that captures the work

    Page 2: Written project description (max. 500 words) that includes the following:

    • summary of the proposal outlining the essence of the project
    • explanation of the audience experience
    • type(s) of platform(s) used
    • description of the current status of the project
    • clear explanation of the premiere status of the work. If certain parts of the work/proposal are not a premiere, please specify which ones and at which other event(s) the work has been shown
    • thoughts on if and how the work can be presented online, in VR or otherwise in case of lockdown measures preventing IDFA from organizing a physical exhibition in November

    Page 3: Visual presentation of the project:

    • Please illustrate what the work will look like using original images, mockups, or reference visuals

    Page 4: Realization plan & technical specifications, including:

    • specification of the support requested from IDFA
    • indication of the total budget of your project and (if applicable) the status of other funding that you have received or applied for (finance plan)
    • key practical challenges you foresee in realizing the project by November 2021
    • type of experience (e.g., interactive installation, live performance, game)
    • intended/expected devices and technologies used
    • duration of the experience
    • amount of people that can do the experience
    • space required
    • running cost of the project/experience
    • other relevant production details to exhibit the work

    Page 5: Presentation of the creators involved and their respective roles, containing:

    • Examples of previous work that demonstrate the candidate's expertise with respect to the challenges of the proposal

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