Quebec's Digital Storytelling Manifesto

Quebec’s Digital Storytelling Manifesto, November 2013.

At the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2013 on Monday, digital storytellers from Quebec released a 10-point digital storytelling manifesto to both define “les nouvelles écritures” as an art form and to serve as a call for support from policymakers.

The authors, including National Film Board of Canada Executive Producer Hugues Sweeney (A Journal of Insomnia) and AATOAA’s Vincent Morisset (Arcade Fire’s Just A Reflektor, Bla Bla), wrote the manifesto after digital creators were shunned in recent recommendations to SODEC, a public arts funder in Quebec, but the list could be easy adopted by interactive documentary filmmakers and other artists around the world working in these media.

The points address the legitimacy of digital creation as art, code as a foundation for expression, and the need to rethink distribution. Below is the complete Digital Storytelling Manifesto in English.

Digital Storytelling Manifesto
Statement of Intent Regarding the Production of Digital and Interactive Works in Quebec.

In the realm of digital creation and production, the whole world has their eyes on Quebec, yet there is no tangible support currently in place to develop and grow these new writing practices. On the 15th of November 2013, the Groupe de travail sur les enjeux du cinéma québécois (GTEC) submitted their report on the future of cinema to the Minister of Culture, without significant mention of digital creation.

We are an informal group of creators, producers and broadcasters who were invited to participate to the consultation process. We believe that digital creation is a cultural industry in its own right, and that it should be part of our cultural landscape alongside its more traditional domains. In order to have a local, sustainable and global impact, we need to support new forms of storytelling now.

  1. Quebec is currently a world leader in interactive creation.
  2. No man is a prophet in his own land. The people of Quebec are unaware that our artists and producers are changing the face of the digital world globally. First and foremost, we wish to design for the people and the culture of Quebec.
  3. Interactive work is not a derivative of any other form of expression. It is an art form in itself. We must define the practice and support it through a unique process tailored to its needs and character.
  4. The industry of interactivity is a cultural industry. Its creators are not service providers. It is only through applied support that a culture of authors will emerge.
  5. Producing interactive projects involves prototyping artistic and technological ideas. Code and programming are tools of this expression.
  6. It is necessary to create favorable conditions for the emergence of an interactive writing culture.
  7. The means of distribution constitute part of the creative act.
  8. Digital content has already outgrown the screen. The platform for its curation and distribution has not yet seen the light of day.
  9. Quebec’s interactive works must be properly preserved so that future digital creators might know that they form part of a cultural lineage and history.
  10. In order to maintain its global leadership in creating interactive work, Quebec has to set up a dedicated and sustainable support system for artists and companies working in the creation of digital and interactive work. This support must address both development and production phases.

Antonello Cozzolino, Producer, Attraction
Thibaut Duverneix, Director, Departement
Émilie F. Grenier, Interaction designer
Philippe Lamarre, Produceur, Toxa
Micho Marquis-Rose, Line producer, LP8 Média
Melissa Mongiat and Mouna Andraos, Directors, Daily tous les jours
Vincent Morisset, Director, AATOAA
Hugues Sweeney, President, Board of Directors, Mutek
yako (Jean-Christophe Yacono), Director,, The Invisible Compagny

See the original, and find out more about the creators behind the manifesto, at or read the manifesto en français.

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POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.