author

Inna Petrova

TechUkraine Journalist, PhD in Technology, Kyiv Politeahnikal University

How Docudays UA launched online cinema DOCUSPACE during pandemic

How Docudays UA launched online cinema DOCUSPACE during pandemic

Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, an annual one-week event taking place in the last week of March in Kyiv, developed online cinema DOCUSPACE to answer to the pandemic challenges.

This spring week, Kyiv attracts world-recognized filmmakers and also young talented scriptwriters, directors, and producers from all over Europe, the USA, Asia, and Africa. After the major Kyiv part of the festival is finished, Docudays UA travels through the country. Annually the Traveling Docudays UA visits about 100 Ukrainian cities and small towns.

Being a part of the international network of human rights film festivals, Docudays collaborates with Ukrainian and international organizations and institutions to develop Ukrainian and global documentary cinema and promote Ukrainian culture. The team aims to set the Ukrainian film industry by integrating it into the global context.

18 years in a row, the team creates opportunities for every person in Ukraine to watch talented and relevant human rights documentary films from all over the world, support the development of the Ukrainian film industry, promote an active civic position, and respect human dignity.

The competition program consists of three sections:

  • DOCU/WORLD is the international competition of feature- and medium-length documentaries longer than 30 minutes.
  • DOCU/SHORT is the international competition of short documentaries which are up to 30 minutes long.
  • DOCU/UKRAINE is the national competition. It includes documentaries of varying lengths, created in Ukraine or in co-production with Ukraine. Besides, films made by Ukrainian filmmakers and foreign production companies are welcome to apply.
  • The festival also awards a special prize to the winner among the films nominated for the RIGHTS NOW! Award for creative documentaries that explore and analyze the contemporary world and make a significant contribution to the discussion about human dignity, freedom, and equality.

Case study: UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival’s online cinema that brings a creative community together

Last year after the spreading of the COVID-19 and when Ukraine went on lockdown, the team tried to save the festival via pivoting the offline event to the offline one with Docuspace.org. DOCUSPACE is the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival’s online cinema that brings together a creative community of documentary filmmakers, human rights advocates, researchers, and everyone who appreciates documentary film. Via the online platform, you can watch documentaries, discuss them and implement qualitative change in your community’s life. 4 in 1: learn, watch, discuss, act.

What was the challenge?

Docudays is a nonprofit organization (NGO), an educational platform that empowers documentalists and boosts movies with a high social impact among Ukrainians. It has an image as an educational, charity, and human rights project, free to watch and visit.

After MVP format and checking out all bags last year, in 2021 Docudays team had an aim to monetize the project and launch the paid access to the festival films via DocuSpace online cinema platform. It was a challenge, and significant concerns were about the economic viability of the audience according to the quarantine and tricky financial situation of Ukrainians.

What is the solution?

An in-house team developed DOCUSPACE with the support of outsourcing consulting tech companies. The own experience is an asset, but sometimes it blocks you from inventing simple and straightforward solutions. That’s why the partner’s expertise and the out-of-the-box view were beneficial in every stage of development for the Docudays team.

Partners of implementation:

  • Thanks to the House of Europe grant, Docudays attracted the documentary film experts of British Film & Campaign Ltd. that build and run the community organizing systems. They helped with audit, design, UIХ of the online cinema.
  • The Inclusiveness consultants became the Ukrainian company IT inclusive that helps with web accessibility audits by experts with disabilities to create a welcoming and inclusive environment on the DOCUSPACE platform.
Special thanks to the Docudays UA team for comprehensive support and assistance!

The project “Boosting local traditional industries with IT capacities” is implementing by TechUkraine in partnership with APPAU – Association of Industrial Automation of Ukraine, International Association Culture&Creativity Association with the financial support of the German government through GIZ that aims to increase the competitiveness of traditional industries in strong collaboration with Ukrainian IT companies.