A one-day summit for mediamakers, technologists, scholars, curators, and funders

March 20, 2012 @ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Media Lab Complex, 6th floor

(corner of Amherst Street and Ames Street)

Conference Attendees

Speaker Biographies

9:00  Registration/Breakfast

9:30  Welcome

9:35  Documentary’s Legacy of Innovation
William Uricchio, Director, MIT Comparative Media Studies

9:55   Collaborative Activity

10:30   The Landscape of Innovation

New documentary forms draw on decades of innovation in filmmaking, interactive media, collaborative authorship, data visualization and technology. They blur the boundaries between producers and users; empower once marginal communities; and open new possibilities for storytelling. How might we map this new landscape? How can we create a common language among people with different expertise—storytellers and technologists, community activists and content experts? How do makers, scholars, critics, and funders develop a framework for evaluation, reach, and impact?

Conversation starters:

  • Catherine D’Ignazio, MIT Comparative Media Studies
  • Glorianna Davenport, MIT Media Lab
  • Sasha Costanza-Chock, MIT Comparative Media Studies
  • Scot Osterweil, MIT Comparative Media Studies

Facilitator: William Uricchio, MIT Comparative Media Studies

11:30 Coffee 

11:50 A Fabric of Implication

Today’s documentary makers face a landscape characterized by near-ubiquitous connectivity, user-generated content, and fast-changing platforms. As the relationships among maker, subject and audience continue to change, when do projects succeed, and when do they fail?  What can we learn from the collaborative efforts of the past and how might we enhance the interactions between media makers and their community partners? What are the benefits—and trade-offs—of collaborative authorship? What practical and ethical issues are bound up in these kind of collaborative projects? What can we learn from such developments as the open source movement, transmedia strategies, and social activism, and what are their implications for the future of documentary?

Conversation starters:

  • Chris Johnson, Question Bridge: Black Males
  • Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem
  • Gerry Flahive, HIGHRISE, One Millionth Tower
  • Audrey Ewell, 99% – The Occupy Wall Street  Collaborative Film
  • Caroline Oh, 18 Days in Egypt

Facilitator: Chris Walley, MIT Anthropology

1:05 Lunch

2:00 The Pathways of Ideation (Break-out session)

As documentaries move across screens and off them, from single author to many, and from one-hour duration to minutes, days and years, how can we find suitable business models, distribution channels and exhibition venues? How can projects distributed online or embedded on location build an audience? When projects straddle the boundary between “film” and “new media,” where can their creators go for funding? Do new forms of production and engagement bring with them new possibilities for sponsorship, whether institutional, corporate or crowd-sourced?  How can we re-imagine the interaction of new media forms in traditional media venues?

Conversation starters:

  • Ingrid Kopp, Tribeca Film Institute
  • Gerry Flahive, HIGHRISE, Toronto subway installation videos
  • Frank Bentley, Motorola Research, Location-Based Intergenerational Storytelling

3:00 Wrap up

3:30-4:00 Demos, with coffee and refreshments

Note: People will be pulled out for short interviews in our story booth. People may also use the story booth themselves.