It seems like everyone's talking about transmedia these days, though we're still in search of a simple definition of the term we can all agree on. Transmedia is often more easily described by what it's not—not confined to traditional screens or a linear narrative, not just a one-way communication but instead frequently interactive, not necessarily tied to a traditional film.
To expand on this conversation and to collaborate with established documentary filmmakers in order to create transmedia elements to accompany their recently completed or in-production projects, the Tribeca Film Institute and SilverDocs have put together the Transmedia Lab. This is a new type of festival event that, appropriate to this expanding medium, will be opened up to the web via a live stream. Six documentary filmmaking teams will spend the morning working with a panel of mentors—BAVC's Wendy Levy, Transmedia Activism's Lina Srivastava, Digital Democracy co-founder Mark Belinsky, Take Action Games co-founder Susana Ruiz and Mozilla's Ben Moskowitz—to develop the cross-platform, interactive elements of their projects.
The afternoon will consist of presentations from the mentors followed by pitches from several filmmakers, all streamed online at TransmediaLab.tv. The audience members, both online and in person, will be able to vote on which pitch they like the best, and the winner will receive $5,000 toward making their transmedia project a reality.
The Transmedia Lab will be streaming live today, Friday, June 24 from 2-6pm at TransmediaLab.tv. You'll be able to catch up on archived video from the Lab and add to the conversation at the newly launched TFI New Media Wiki.
The filmmakers in the running include:
Steve James - The Interrupters
The heart of The Interrupters web campaign are powerfully moving stories of "violence interrupters" who protect their Chicago communities from violence they themselves once employed. Through interactive web stories and a digital "shrine" visitors grapple with personal, social and economic forces that bear on the violence that plagues our cities.
Marco Williams – The Undocumented Campaign
The Undocumented Campaign seeks to enhance the impact of the documentary, spurring education and discussion regarding immigration policy and border issues, most notably the issue of migrant deaths through the creation of an interactive website which will host The Map of the Missing and an online game, The Migrant Trail.
Lee Hirsch – The Bully Project
Through development of an online strategy that includes a website, short "webisodes" and use of social media, The Bully Project will build an online community/movement to create awareness of the film and the issue of bullying.
Margaret Brown – The Great Invisible
The Great Invisible is an interactive look at the global oil economy through the lens of characters that work in the oil and fishing industries on the Gulf Coast.
Amir Bar-lev - The Tillman Story Interactive Edition
The Tillman Story Interactive Edition is a groundbreaking website that allows audiences to actively participate in the acclaimed 2010 documentary The Tillman Story while viewing it.
Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco – Give Up Tomorrow
Much more than a film, Give Up Tomorrow is a call to action with the goal of working across multiple platforms to galvanize international support for organizations and communities working to change perceptions and initiate strategic action around the death penalty, wrongful convictions, lack of democratic media and miscarriages of justice wherever they occur. Give Up Tomorrow's comprehensive community engagement campaign will harness the power of this film, building an interactive web presence designed to link online and offline communities.
A version of this post originally appeared on TribecaFilmInstitute.org.