As director of interactive programming for the Tribeca Film Institute, Ingrid Kopp is entrenched in the vanguard of digital storytelling—a dynamic space she says continually surprises her.
“You can’t define it too narrowly because you can never tell what will come down the pipeline, but as soon as you start experimenting the opportunities are limitless,” she says.
With a background in traditional documentary filmmaking, she curates the Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes, which spotlights interactive work. With the festival’s latest iteration underway April 15 through 26 in New York City, she took time to talk a bit about the latest buzz on the film festival circuit, as well as her favorite under-the-radar events.
On the can’t-miss list:
There are a couple of key festivals I always go to: Sundance, which starts late January in Salt Lake City; Sheffield Doc/Fest, in June in the U.K.; and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November, which has an impressive interactive project called DocLab.
Favorite under-the-radar festivals:
True/False, in Columbia, Missouri, is one of the most incredible spaces to discover documentary films, and they have one of the best audiences. Its small size allows for a lot of personal local touches. Before every film, bands they call “buskers” play as you come in and take your seat, which makes the screening feel like a real event. They also hold a parade in town that the filmmakers join, so it’s a community event, too.
CPH:DOX (Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival) is eclectic and interesting, and its approach to documentaries is very elastic. The projects that are pitched come from diverse spaces—and some are more scripted, from the narrative feature world but with documentary elements, so they’re blurring the boundaries between the fiction and art world. It’s a broad, diverse approach to curation. And Copenhagen is lovely all lit up before the holidays.
The Durban International Film Festival in South Africa has a film market I find fascinating. You get a pan-African impression of what’s happening with film across the continent. There’s huge growth at the moment in the strength of African documentary production, and it’s widely variant between countries. You can meet individually with filmmakers with works in progress you wouldn’t meet at U.S. film festivals.
The hot item on the festival circuit in 2015:
Definitely virtual reality; you can’t avoid it. It will be exciting to see what emerges and how the industry grapples with how it changes film. Everyone will have their eyes on that this year.
One thing that will be interesting is seeing how cheaper smartphones will change storytelling. The audience and creators of the work are increasingly global, and a lot of this work is coming from places traditional film wouldn’t have come from in the same way. At the moment most people have feature phones and can’t do anything fancy with them, but Androids are getting more affordable and will be a game changer, maybe not in 2015, but definitely by 2017.
The project to watch this year:
We have an exciting project called “Do Not Track.” The film is about tracking you when you go to websites, and the privacy front is a hot topic. The thing is, it will track you as you watch it, so we’ll be telling you about tracking while you’re being tracked. That will launch by April.