New Partnership Reimagines Documentary Storytelling on the Web

By Jonathan Archer
Posted on March 12, 2012

ITVS has partnered with Mozilla, the Tribeca Film Institute, BAVC, and the Center for Social Media to create the Living Docs Project — a new film community inspired by our original collaboration with Mozilla last October.


Launching Monday, the Living Docs Project brings together documentary filmmakers, developers, funders, and the audience to make the case for a new kind of storytelling on the web. The web has given documentary filmmakers a powerful mechanism to distribute their films, but we have only scratched the surface of how it can change storytelling.  The Living Docs Project sees the web as a canvas on which new types of documentaries can be told.


Last year's ITVS/Mozilla Hackathon brought together a stellar group of creatives, including award-winning filmmakers like Steve James, Renee Tajima-Pena, and Bonni Cohen, and a crack squad of Popcorn.js coders. The teams created great projects over two days. We were even able to provide follow-on funding to The Interrupters team who, along with some co-funding from our friends at Tribeca Film Institute, already developed their prototype into the Digital Shrines feature on their interactive website. 

The Living Docs Project website is an extension of the goals we had for the hackathon: building community and capacity, expanding the funding available for innovative storytelling, and breaking down the traditional barriers between filmmakers and developers. The more we collaborate and share, the stronger we all become. As storytelling enters the 21st Century, we are inspired by Mozilla’s open-source ethos of collaboration, constant learning, and iteration. These new ways of working require new skills, new teams, and new aesthetics. 

The Living Docs Project is going to help support this new form of storytelling by hosting Hack Days; highlighting projects that we love and support; documenting best practices and sharing lessons learned; sharing code; and providing funding for the creation of web-native documentaries. Bookmark the Living Docs Project website, and stay tuned to BTB for updates.


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