While most of the focus here at Silverdocs is on the film programming, the conference component of the festival is targeting a new initiative of fostering mid-career and beginning filmmakers. Based on anecdotal evidence coming from several filmmakers who took part in the panels and workshops here, the new focus seems to be a success.
As a part of this initiative, the Tribeca Film Institute hosted a panel of experts in transmedia storytelling and outreach Friday. From varying viewpoints on transmedia storytelling, the panelists, Ben Moskowitz (Mozilla), Lina Srivastava (transmedia activism consultant), Mark Belinsky (Digital Democracy), Susana Ruiz (Take Action Games), and Wendy Levy (Bay Area Video Coalition), spoke about their approach to expanding storytelling, outreach, and activism across media platforms. The diversity of perspectives from the panelists offered great promise for the future of transmedia storytelling (One panelist urged campaign creators to make only web-based projects; the other panelists were more concerned with making effective products for whatever platform is used.); however, the various perspectives reinforced the fact that there is no consensus on how best to approach transmedia film projects.
After the panel, six filmmakers pitched transmedia projects to the lab mentors. Viewers from at home and at the presentations were invited to vote on their favorite project and the winner would be announced later. After the presentations, Amir Bar-lev was declared the winner. The winning filmmaker was meant to win $5,000 for their campaign, but the filmmakers agreed before the event that they would split the funds no matter what.
Below are the six projects from the lab, with descriptions provided by the Tribeca Film Institute.
Steve James – "The Interrupters"
The heart of "The Interrupters"’ web campaign is powerfully moving stories of "violence interrupters" who protect their Chicago communities from violence they themselves once employed. Through interactive web stories and a digital "shrine" visitors grapple with personal, social and economic forces that bear on the violence that plagues our cities.
Marco Williams – "The Undocumented Campaign"
"The Undocumented Campaign" seeks to enhance the impact of the documentary, spurring education and discussion regarding immigration policy and border issues, most notably the issue of migrant deaths, through the creation of an The Map of the Missing, an interactive website and The Migrant Trail an online game.
Lee Hirsch – "The Bully Project"
Through development of an online strategy that includes a website, short “webisodes,” and use of social media, "The Bully Project" will build an online community/movement to create awareness of the film and the issue of bullying.
Margaret Brown – "The Great Invisible"
"The Great Invisible" is an interactive look at the global oil economy through the lens of characters that work in the oil and fishing industries on the Gulf Coast.
Amir Bar-lev – "The Tillman Story Interactive Edition"
"The Tillman Story Interactive Edition" is a groundbreaking website that allows audiences to actively participate in the acclaimed 2010 documentary The Tillman Story while viewing it; a navigable platform through which audiences can view outtakes, investigate documents, interact with others, and keep up to date on the latest developments in the Tillman controversy.
Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco – "Give Up Tomorrow"
Much more than a film, "Give Up Tomorrow" is a call to action with the goal of working across multiple platforms to galvanize international support for organizations and communities working to change perceptions and initiate strategic action around the death penalty, wrongful convictions, lack of democratic media and miscarriages of justice wherever they occur.