in: A Digital Janus: Looking Forward, Looking Back, Dennis Moser, Susan Dun, Editor, Inter-Disciplinary Press, pp.255-262, 2014
Today, new media and digital technologies bring out great potential for filmmakers, especially for ‘non-fiction storytellers,’ i.e. documentary filmmakers. With the development of new media and digital technologies, new documentary forms emerged on the Internet. These new forms are labeled such as web documentary (web-doc), interactive documentary (i-doc), database-filmmaking, non-linear documentary, etc. Therefore, today, more and more people may engage with ‘new media documentary.’ New media, with its distinct features, not only enable documentary filmmakers to think, imagine, design, and develop documentary projects within new forms, but also force them to make documentary in different ways. In short, it offers new forms of representation and new modes of documentary film production. New media documentary also transforms the cultural form of watching a film. The audience engages with new media documentary by viewing, navigating, and searching within the surface/space of the film, rather than just watching. In this chapter, I will elaborate two distinct features of new media documentary. First, I will discuss its openness to non-linearity in storytelling through ‘database’ structures. Thus, I will expose how new media documentary filmmakers think, imagine, design and develop their projects in ‘database logic.’ Secondly, I will explore interactivity in experiencing new media documentary within ‘database culture.’ Audience interacts with new media documentary by navigating, searching, and sometimes even participating rather than just viewing. Hence, as a ‘homo-ludens,’ audience becomes a player in new media documentary. All these, again, become possible with database structures. But, this time, database gains significance more in cultural sense.