4.1 – Getting started (subject/topic)


Tendencies/Trends to produce

In relation to the documentary subject, we see that there are four categories that predominate over the others. These are “ecology and environment”, “war and conflict”, “urban cultures” and “personal stories”. Therefore, there is interest in the following areas:

– The fact of climate change and changes in the current ecosystem, which we carry to a depletion of natural resources of the planet. Themes linked to social awareness.

– Closely linked to the issue of resources at catastrophic war and the various conflicts in the world have also been a recurring theme in the documentary genre since its inception. Themes linked to criticism and denunciation of human rights in general.

– About urban life and cities: movements, actions, problems, dynamics studies, etc. We care about the environment around us and everything that happens around them.

– Personal storytelling, in which, in some ways, the author of the interactive documentary claims the narrative voice itself and stands offering the axle limits set in relation to the author-reader.

In relation to the support or platform that houses the interface, web browsers are by far the most used on the proposed classification. By extension, the subgenre of web documentaries would be the predominate class.

Finally, from the standpoint of the user experience, the mosaic and the navigable timeline are more used than other possibilities. We could say that interactive documentaries that are specific for web with a timeline (explicit or implicit) or mosaic structure that focuses on the ecological and environmental themes, several conflicts and war, life in large cities or personal stories are the most common projects.

From 2008 and during the period covering 2009 to 2013, the field of the interactive documentary is grown remarkably due to different factors:

– Technical limitations begin to be overcome, because of the bandwidth and fiber optics begin to arrive in most countries of the first and second world. Also there are increasingly more open source softwares for this type of format (as “Korsakow” or online Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress powered with external JavaScript libraries -Jquery-, ie).

– It is an unexplored genre and experimentation is on the agenda. Many of the countries interested in this genre, especially Canada, the United States, France and England, invest large sums of money to produce prototypes and present them in festivals and competitions.

– It is converting to many authors as a tool of criticism, condemnation and social cohesion in the style of the classic documentary. It should be noted, moreover, that most of these projects use the platform to spread these applications: the network is free and has an overall visibility and promotion. Thus, it is a genre that has a medium conducive to democracy and its spread, which does not happen with other formats, subject to complex dynamics of distribution and exhibition (film, television, radio, press, etc.).

Topic/Subject/Thematic Support/Platform

User experience


1. Urban Cultures (37)2.War/Conflicts (34)3.Ecology /Environment (24)4.Art – artists /Cultural diffusion (21)

5.Personal stories (19)

6.Health (14)

7.Africa /

African Cultures (11)

8. Popular Culture (10)

9. Education (9)

10.Others (8)

11.Latinoamerica /

Latin Cultures (8)

12.Cultures of the

Middle East (7)

13.Science /

Medicine (6)

14.Crime/Justice (6)

15.Technologies /

Computers (6)

16.Travels (6)


1.Web (173)2.CD-DVD ROM (29)3.TV / Film (26)4.Multi-platform (16)

5.Mobile (Tablet/Phone) (12)

6.Installation (6)

1. Branched / game /hypertext Narrative (82)2.Mosaic (63)3. Navigable timeline(Chronology navigable) (36)


5.Game (19)

6.Geolocation (13)

7.Performative (representable)


Thematic spectrum detected from the Doctoral Research analysis

Activism, African Cultures,

Art and artists / Cultural Diffusion

Capitalism and big Business / Economy

Asian Cultures

Children / Youth

Crime /Justice

Ecology and Environment




Indigenous cultures

Jewish Culture

Journalism / Media communication

Working Cultures

Latin Cultures of the Middle East




Personal Stories


Popular Culture


Religion and Spirituality

Science and medicine



Urban Cultures

War Conflict


Writers / Literature



Love / Feelings

Historical Memory

Natural disasters




Extracted from:

Gifreu, Arnau (2012), The interactive documentary as a new audiovisual genre. Study of the emergence of the new genre, approach to its definition and taxonomy proposal and a model of analysis for the purposes of evaluation, design and production. [Doctoral Thesis]. Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Communication Department.

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