Open source nonprofit organisation Mozilla is breathing new life into the documentary format with its recently launched Living Docs Project, an initiative that encourages collaborative, interactive web films.
Living Docs is a partnership between Mozilla, The Tribeca Film Institute, The Center for Social Media at American University, ITVS and BAVC and will foster the spirit of open innovation and collaboration in the documentary film genre.
“This is about the evolution of the documentary genre,” said Mozilla’s Brett Gaylor, on the Mozilla blog. “We’re bringing filmmakers and developers together to tell stories in ways that have never been attempted before.”
Storytelling via documentaries has evolved over recent years thanks to open source programs (like Mozilla Popcorn), technological advances in web based platforms and tools, as well as a wider spirit of openness. The aim of the Living Docs Project is to create new ways of telling stories online.
Using web technology and the sharing of code and resources, filmmakers can create new types of nonlinear documentaries that are a radical departure from conventional linear TV documentary programming.
Free from the constraints of TV scheduling and the television medium as a whole, a web doc can be published as soon as it is completed, and reshaped, tweaked and adapted according to audience feedback, the development of new technologies and how the particular story moves on.
“As storytelling enters the 21st Century, we are inspired by Mozilla’s open-source ethos of collaboration, constant learning and iteration,” said ITVS. “These new ways of working require new skills, new teams and new aesthetics.”
To get a flavour of this new form of documentary making check out this video of a Living Docs Hack Day.