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Digital rituals Sander Veenhof

Photo: Corinne de Korver

Patent Alert

Caspar Sonnen

IDFA’s new media strand DocLab and the Netherlands Film Fund have joined forces on the new Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant, writes Melanie Goodfellow. Unfolding under the banner of “Uncharted Rituals”, the 11th edition of IDFA’s cutting-edge new media showcase DocLab will explore the new human rituals evolving around the use of techno­ logy in the digital age. “The questions are shifting from what technology does to us to what we do with technology,” says DocLab creator and curator Caspar Sonnen. Since its launch in 2007, DocLab has grown into one of the key events on the international film festival circuit looking at the intersection between technology and art, alongside showcases such as Tribeca Storyscapes and Sundance’s New Frontier. “Last year was our 10th edition and it was a year of looking back. This is a year of looking forward as well as at where we are now,” says Sonnen.  

“On the one hand digital story­ telling is establishing itself as an art form that continuously redefines what existing media can be, as well as new developments like immersive media, AI and the Internet of Things. At the same time, there’s also a sense that the internet is less of an open and level playing field as it becomes more and more controlled by a few companies.”

Dorien van de Pas, head of the Fund’s New Screen NL department says IDFA’s work dovetails with New Screen’s focus on new talent, art films and short films as well as interactive and innovative ways of storytelling.

Against this backdrop the Netherlands Film Fund in addition to backing the programme introduced a new €20.000 Film Fund Doc Lab Grant, aimed at two Dutch interactive projects that will be showcased at this year’s edition. 

“We want to help Dutch talent to stand out with their projects and to bring them to a higher and more international level. For us the artistic quality, combined with a collective experience in an (inter) national context, are important criteria for this grant.” 


“We have been following the work of DocLab and Caspar for a while and it was clear that the quality of the projects is very high,” she says.

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