Top doc maker Mandy Rose at East Doc Platform 2012

By Bal Khela

    PRAGUE: Award winning documentary maker Mandy Rose revealed what industry and commissioners can expect from innovations in the new world of participatory documentary (PD) making at a master class at the first edition of the East Doc Platform to be held in Prague (5-11 March 2012).

    The East Doc Platform is organised by Institute of Documentary Film (www.dokweb.net).

    Rose revealed that the documentary form is being re-defined through complex relationships that collect valuable data in terms of not only audience markets but viewer preferences using social media like Twitter, Facebook and tagging. These new forms of documentary films will re-evaluate process, form, content, rights, specialists and the producer audience relationships.

    Participatory Documentary retains its connection with the forms established by Man With A Movie Camera and Nanook of The North. Rose used the Emmy award winning film Highrise which is licensed under a creative Commons License as an example of the changing form amongst other examples. The film highlights the power of how multiplatform participatory documentaries can integrate the way people make, study and interact with the documentary form. The film uses 360 degree film making which allows the viewer to see the Toronto tower block from any viewpoint by just clicking a mouse. The film interests not only audiences but social scientists such as linguists and advertisers.

    The value of the new documentary forms lie in the layers of interest for audiences, experts and advertisers alike. The new documentary form builds up data and interests not only for social scientists, advertising markets but also audiences.

    Rose explained that the new participatory documentary advances would not have been possible without HTML5 and the independent work that has gone on to further applications such as Popcorn.Rose defined four categories helping to redefine the architecture of new producers looking to co-create with participants. The Creative Crowd, The Participant Observers, The Community of Purpose and The Traces of Multitude.

    Highrise was produced by Katerina Cizek and funded as an experiment by the National Film Board of Canada where she had been in residence for five years. Mandy Rose had this piece of advice for commissioners and documentary makers. No innovatory documentary form can escape the need for a community who she views as co-creators helping to produce an engaging story. Equally commissioners and the industry need to take risks to catch up with the catch words participatory and collaboration happening on a multitude of platforms. Mandy Rose'e new film will be made in collaboration with the co-creators who will be asked the question: Are You Happy?

    Bal Khela is a delegate from the creative industries project organised by Contented Ltd and funded by teh Loenardo programme of the European Union. FNE is a partner organisation of this project.