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Open Frame Film Festival: 'Digital turn has radically altered our perspective of the screen'


Iris Yudai conducted an illustrated and interactive lecture session for the audiences in which she spoke about the shift from conventional formats to the realms of content production for digital platforms.

Photo: Open Frame Film Festival

Abhija Ghosh

Mini-INPUT, a curated series of films made for public television from across the world, throws light on the proliferation of digital storytelling in all forms of public and personal platforms. The films are being screened as part of the ongoing PSBT Open Frame Film Festival 2018.

Focusing on the possibilities of digital storytelling, this series also reflects on the need and desires of people to tell their stories and what this means for the future public broadcasting films.

Iris Yudai, an executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Manitoba, conducted an illustrated and interactive lecture session for the audiences in which she spoke about the shift from conventional formats to the realms of content production for digital platforms. Moreover, the digital turn has radically altered our perspective of the screen in ways that today digital storytelling can be observed as an altogether different art form.

Yudai talked about her experience as a programming commissioner and producer, drawing attention to how rapid the need to adapt to changing global visual culture has been for public broadcasters. This is more so because with the emergence of viewers themselves as content producers on interactive social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, telling personal stories has become the hallmark of the digital age. Today digital storytellers, no matter in which part of the world they may be located, are also social influencers.

Digital storytelling coming to us in different forms, formats and resolutions has also shifted the aesthetics of such storytelling which often tends to mimic or reconstruct the visual interface of screens such as the mobile phone. She outlined certain principles that have been driving this kind of digital content, outlining the idea of microfiction, grabbing the audience attention really quickly, while drawing attention to the ways in which features such as the mute function, played an integral part in accessibility and shareability of content.

She also pointed out to the audience that depending on the content, and since anybody is a potential content creator, one should pick out the particular social media platform relevant for that matter. She went on to describe ways in which the co-creation of content was being adopted as a strategy by broadcasters wherein content was being co-created by youtubers working with social activists.

From just the idea of microfiction, now because of the smartphone enabled video capture and calling mechanisms, even the idea of the frame or the screen was being inverted from the horizontal to the vertical.

Yudai showed a short film, produced by the BBC Scotland network, which entirely mimicked the experience of video calling apps and chats on various social media platforms, to tell about contemporary teenage relationships. The audience response to this film brought on interesting questions on content production. While majority of the audience grasped the context and vocabulary of these films, questions were raised about the purpose of such content and what kind of public did it intend to engage with.

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Open Frame Film Festival