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A contribution from idocs specialist Arnau Gifreu Castells

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I have received a long reply/article from Arnau Gifreu Castells – a Spanish producer/lecturer I have been in touch for a while now and whom is writing a PhD about interactive documentary – so we have lots of interests in common!

I thought the reply was too long to fit as a comment, so I include it here as a post from Arnau. I hope you enjoy it:

On multi-platform production: the case of “Guernika, pintura de guerra”, the first catalan I-Doc (CCRTV, 2007)

From my point of view (and in relation to the post of Sandra Gaudenzi: It is sleek and it works; is this enough? (February 2, 2011,, which compares the projects “Brèves de Trottoirs” (Olivier Lambert and Thomas Salva, 2010/2011)  VS  Dans un Quartier de Paris (Janet Murray, 1996), and put forward the question about the evolution of gender in fifteen years of its existence,  I think that this project perfectly illustrate the theme of the multi-platform production in relation to interactive documentaries.

Is a similar example to the first interactive documentary produced in Catalonia: Guernika, pintura de guerra, 2007 (translatable as “Guernika, war paint”).

As Gaudenzi said, “Brèves de Trottoirs” (translatable as “Sidewalk Shorts”) it is a 2010/2011 stylish French multi-platform documentary from writer Olivier Lambert and photojournalist Thomas Salva. The aim is to portray what they call “daily celebrities” living in  a complex city such as Paris. […] Janet H.Murray had already realised a very similar project at MIT:  Dans un Quartier de Paris.Murray’s project was done with a linguistic aim, but the idea was very similar: use digital technology (CD-ROM!) to simulate a walk in the streets of Paris and discover its diversity through the glances of its inhabitants.

On the other hand, 70 years ago, the German air command of Franco bombed Guernica, the Basques’ holy city. The brutal attack inspired Picasso to paint the masterpiece “Guernica.” Since then, this picture has become an universal cry against the barbarity of war. This idea led to the creation of a linear documentary called “Guernica, pintura de guerra” (, a project developed by the team of the program “30 Minutes” of Televisió de Catalunya (TV3).

The novelty and importance in this case is that, alongside the audiovisual documentary ( and working with the team of “30 Minutes”, the CCRTVI (interactive section of Catalonian autonomic broadcast) developed three interactive documentaries that users could watch on three different platforms: web, digital terrestrial television (DTT) and Media Center. The contents of the documentary explore the interactive format and allow the viewer to extend their experience beyond the conventional documentary. The three applications provide information about the history and travel of “Guernica,” an iconographic analysis, composition and conservation of the painting, and biographies of people who have maintained a close relationship with this Picasso masterpiece.

Thus, with this project, Televisió de Catalunya opened in 2007 an innovative experience in television: the interactive documentary. On January 2007 it was launched by the documentary television program “30 Minutes” about the history of painting, and also simultaneously on three digital platforms: DTT, Media Center and a website on the internet. This allowed viewers to access, in an interactive way, a large amount of information: analysis of the picture, documents, interviews, biographies, games and more. The added value based on this initiative combines the long experience of “30 Minutes”, the great referral reports and documentaries program of TV3 news service, with next-generation interactive applications developed by Interactive CCRTV. This is ultimately a new way of watching television and audiovisual production design from the perspective of the multi-format and multi-platform, related to diffusion, and the platform, related to the display.

In relation to the last question of your post, I think that fifteen years of experiments in interactive documentary brought us to a better user interface and user experience (but not to a new language). Some of the experiments (early I-Docs) as French and American cultural offline CD-ROMS produced during the 90’s were already using these same resources and other platforms for display.

Some of these masterpieces are that:

1. Au cirque avec Seurat (1996). Hyptique, Reunion des Musees Nationaux, Gallimard Jeunesse, France Telecom Multimedia. Paris.

2. Dotze sentits (1996). Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Proa, Barcelona Provincial Council. Barcelona: Proa.

3. Joan Miró. El color dels Somnis (1998). Fundació Joan Miró, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Club d’Investissement Media. Barcelona.

4. Le Louvre (1994). Montparnasse Multimedia, Réunion des Musées Nationaux; Index. Paris: BMG Interactive.

5. Le mystère Magritte (1996). Virtuo. Brussels • them.

6. Makers of the 20th Century (1996). News Media, Digital Arts Zappa. Leighton Buzzard (United Bretanya): News Media.

7. Microsoft. Art Gallery (1994). Microsoft, National Gallery; Cognitive Applications Limited. London.

8. Moi, Paul Cézanne (1995). Index; Télérama, Réunion des Musées Nationaux.Paris.

9. Musée d’Orsay. Visit virtuelle (1996). Montparnasse Multimedia, Reunion des Musees Nationaux, Le Lab: BMG Interactive.

10. Opération Teddy Bear (1996). Index, Flammarion, Paris.

Interactive documentary (CCRTVI):

Audiovisual documentary (TV3 – 30 minuts):

Brèves des Trottoirs

Dans un quartier de Paris

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011


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