Celebrating Future Doc Sandbox

On March 19th, REACT showcased the work of the Future Documentary Sandbox at Watershed. Putting our heads together with the i-Docs-2014 Symposium, we

Six brilliant collaborative teams have spent the last six months in a fast a furious R&D process conducting their own unique and playful investigations at the dynamic edges of filmmaking. The projects are diverse and challenging in terms of both content and systems for delivery and distribution. From the world's first playable documentary on the infamous Jack the Ripper murders, to a masked character masquerading as Elvis beyond the grave, these projects have proven that through determination, resilience and collaboration on can germinate great ideas and propose strategies for the future. In bringing together fascinating research with emerging creative technologies they have all faced similar challenges, namely how new modes of participation, production and collaboration online might influence editorial control, trust and authenticity.

Bill Thompson, Future Documentary Sandbox Advisor enjoying the showcase

REACT commissioned six films to document the development of the projects and teams from early ideas through to prototypes. These films premiered at the showcase with panel discussions and an introduction from Sandbox advisor and mentor, Bill Thompson, Head of Partnership Development, BBC Archive Development Group. Bill commented on the dedication and integrity of the six teams in navigating the ethical issues they all face which are inherent to the documentary form. He also reflected on how difficult it is working creatively in this arena "...everyday we reinvent the possibilities of online, by taking the stuff that's out there, reshaping it around our current ideas and trying to do something brilliant with it. It's great to see such exciting things that have emerged from these six teams, who have been brilliant to work with, stimulating, exciting and fundamentally brave."

Jon Dovey, REACT Director sharing in the celebrations

Guests invited to make their very own Orion mask

Following the film screening and panel discussion, guests from the showcase and i-Docs delegates were invited to play and user test the prototypes the teams have developed. Straight away we had guests queuing up to get their chance to watch and interact with what was on offer. There was an evident sense of excitement and real juxtaposition of experiences as people on one side of the space were amused by Page to Stage's ipad app with it's quirky characters and the idiosyncrasies of their instruments; whilst on the other side of the space the incredibly touching Quipu project from Chaka Studio moved guests to tears as they watched and played with the pilot film.

JtR 125 Guests invited to play with the prototype

Guests invited to play with the Risk Taker's Survival Guide prototype

Guests invited to play with the Risk Taker's Survival Guide prototype

The Sandbox is always a turbulent and emotional voyage of exploration but throughout the highs and lows, it is ultimately an incredibly rewarding experience for all involved. I'm personally proud to be representing a group of projects and a cohort of people that have inspired me, challenged my assumptions and truly stretched the boundaries of our understanding of what documentary can be.

The six project films are now available online and beautifully capture the ideas, energy and process of being in a Sandbox.

Watch them all here

Find out more about i-Docs 2014 here