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DOCUMENTARIES Belgium

CCA hosts webdoc conference

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On Wednesday May 5, the Belgian French Community Film and Audiovisual Centre (CCA) organised a conference on web documentaries. Although the genre is still in its infancy in Belgium (where there is no targeted funding or support), the centre invited Belgian professionals who are trying to develop projects in this field, and French specialists.

The webdoc throws up numerous questions, firstly on a narrative level. Although our civilisation is built on linear narratives, structured according to an unchanging timeline, the Internet, and in particular its intertextuality, offers the possibility of breaking free from this linearity to create other types of narrative hierarchy. The story is no longer structured around time, but around space.

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These are the questions Belgian documentary filmmaker Marie MandyLa Loge du Sein into a webdoc.

These questions also fascinate internationally-renowned Belgian director Patric Jean, who, after a few sporadic collaborative projects in the field, is currently preparing his debut “feature-length” webdoc. Passionate about the subject, he gave the audience a glimpse of the development of de-linearity on the web, giving a quick overview of the main webdocs to date, from Thanatorama to Prison Valley.

Indeed, Prison Valley was the focus of speeches given by Alexandre Brachet, CEO of production company Upian, and Joël Ronez, head of the web division at Arte, a partner on the project. Prison Valley’s aesthetic, between photographic document and video game, its rich and diverse content, and the related community development made people aware of the possibilities offered by the genre.

Everyone enthusiastically agreed that the web is not an alternative distribution site for documentaries, but an alternative site for creation, rich in different possibilities, and new depths of field, which are still to be defined. Today, the remaining limitation is the product’s economic model, which still needs to be devised, for at the present time, webdocs are economically dependent and financed by their “spin-off products”, for example their TV version.

(Translated from French)

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