Jury report: 2021 IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

    Jury statement

    The selection this year showed how intimacy became a central theme for creation in a COVID world. Intimacy was sought through computers and virtual entities (Susan), through someone else’s brain and physical body (Brainstream, Surrogate), through intimate conversations (AmINormal, Testing Times), or through reimagining intimacy as a (new) language (Ravi and Emma).

    These challenging times also gave birth to a surprising sense of soberness in sharpening political narratives about war (Gates of Aleppo), climate (One-Fifth of the Earth’s Surface), and social justice (Un(re)solved). A Rest Guide for a Tired Nigerian Artist brings the Nigerian perspective to the table, self-evident and clear-minded, with a violent socio-political context simmering below the surface, yet addressing a universal sense of tiredness amongst creatives.

    Storytelling is the language we share to inspire a shift in perception and to help find a better understanding. We see IDFA Doclab as an exciting and inspiring space: a space that encourages bravery, takes risks, and nurtures the potential of creators and their ideas. This year’s selection gives us insight into a world where technology makes stories accessible, a world where simplicity is strength, and a world of authenticity, emancipation, and working towards inclusivity.

    Special Jury Award for Creative Technology

    This interactive love story where the hearing and not-hearing world collide invites the viewer to learn a new language. It is a truly inspiring project that celebrates creative tech as a tool for inclusivity. This project makes full use of the possibilities of in-browser technology to emancipate and empower people who speak sign language. By using the computer camera and mimicking the signs, the viewer can navigate the website and switch perspectives by using sign language. Ravi and Emma by Kylie Boltin, Ella Rubeli, Ravi Vasavan, and Emma Anderson inspires in both form and function, and is therefore the winner of the Special Jury Award for Creative Technology in Digital Storytelling.

    IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling

    Offering a fluid navigation through an immense history of social (in)justice, this project builds a database on systemic violence. Being asked to “say his/her name” out loud, as during the Black Lives Matter protests, becomes the interactive means to navigate the stories, with each name unfolding a new chapter. A thoughtful and thought-provoking experience, at the end of which you can feel how vast and urgent the work is that is still in front of us. The urgency and clarity of the message makes Un(re)solved by Tamara Shogaolu the winner of the main prize, the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling, and a remarkably relevant work.

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