Interactive database documentary The East: audience participation solution

Raivo Kelomees

The documentary The East reveals the most striking contrast in Estonia: the most picturesque nature of the industrial region in Ida-Viru County, Northeast Estonia, the gloomy yet beautiful man-made landscapes, and the life stories of people living there.

The characters and geographic locations featured in the documentary are genuine. We see real people in ethnically mixed marriages, whose life has been shaped by working in energy and oil shale companies. We are presented with real and complex destinies and gain a sense of the simplicity of life of the people in East Estonia.

The documentary’s specific feature is that it will be released both as a linear and an interactive version. The interactive documentary will come out in three formats – in cinema, on DVD, and online.

The interactive version offers the audience a chance to choose between four themes: nature, industrial environment, machines, and people. The aesthetics of the documentary is built upon the principle of slit screen, which allows the audience to choose between an active and a passive narrative. A special custom-designed interface will be constructed for the cinema format. Each member of the audience will have the interface attached to their hand, and they can use it to make choices displayed on-screen. The majority choice determines which narrative will be activated.

The project’s team:

Hille Karm, Raivo Kelomees – producing and directing

Hans Gunter Lock – programming

Igor Ruus – cinematography

Chris Hales – consulting

Supporter: Enterprise Estonia, Estonian Academy of Arts