Film work has been at the core of Fabrica's output and culture since the start—the original creative director was Godfrey Reggio (of Koyaanisqatsi fame) and Fabrica even has an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film from its time as a production company around the turn of the century.
So it's been particularly rewarding to see Ries Straver and team pick up the challenge of following that this year. No Academy Awards—yet—but some great work, a building of a new culture for film inside Fabrica, an immense help in terms of our lecture and workshop series, and one success in particular.
Ries is now running a studio called "Document", which explores what the contemporary documentary can be, across various media, as well as looking at the creative documentation of creative work as a new genre in its own right.
It feels like the documentary, as a format, is more powerful than ever, and like many things, has been reinvigorated by the web. I'm more interested us in distributing direct to the web, via Vimeo in particular, than the circuit of film festivals and so on—though they're not mutually exclusive, and we can do both where appropriate.
But documentary for web is where the opportunity is, including exploring the "i-Docs" movement, using interactive elements alongside traditional narrative film (for an example of that, we were impressed by Clouds Over Cuba, both technically, as well as for the "what if" faux-recreation, as well as Money & Speed etc. This is something Joseph and Marco in our Networked Politics studio are also interested in, as well as Enrico and his Slow Journalism studio.)
Again, the potential transdisciplinary aspect of the "Document" studio gives us the possibility of exploring that, wherein a coder will sit next to a filmmaker, a sound designer, an interaction designer, and so on. If you want to be one of those, and you're under 26, apply!
But a short film which shows what we can do with a straightforward documentary has been one of the major successes of the year: "Ai Pioppi", a wonderful 12-minute film about a man building who has hand-built a funfair in the Italian forest over the last 40 years. It's a film about making, in a way, but a lot more besides.