Two projects by the Visual Narrative Lab in the competitions of the 36th IDFA International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam!

Close, and The School, a World, two projects produced by vnLab in 2023, have been recognized with nominations at the world’s largest festival dedicated to documentary art, IDFA 2023.

Close, a Japanese dance-based VR experience by Hana Umeda, was among the projects selected to participate in the IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction. In this category, dedicated to works made for AR, VR and Mixed Reality technology, Close will compete against 12 other projects for a prize worth 5,000 euros. The international jury includes Arnaud Colinart, Jessica Brillhart and Joy Mawela.

Meanwhile, the interactive documentary The School, a World, directed by Iga Lapinska, is competing in the IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction category alongside 9 other digital projects. The grand prize awarded by an international jury consisting of Jay Kim, Miri Chekhanovich and Zuraida Buterjest amounts to 5,000 euros.

The festival will run from November 8 to 19, when the winners of the various competition categories will be announced.


For more information, see:

The School, a world – interactive observation document

S?awek runs through the fields with a metal detector. Marzena is browsing Facebook in the barn. Adam with a bending barbell breaks the world record in weightlifting. Only cows still go to school. Where? In Chlebiotki, a small village in Poland.

Barely 60 people live here. On Sunday they go to church and during the week everyone does their own thing. Houses are rimmed with thuyas to ward off neighbours. In the evenings everyone is online. Dreaming of something different. There is an empty building in the village. It used to be a school, built by a community effort. But there are almost no children in the village anymore. So Wojtek bought the run-down school and for 8 years has been trying to turn it into a business, with no success so far.

“The School, a World” is an interactive documentary based on observation, annoyance and love. Each chapter is devoted to one of 8 characters. The immersive sound leads the narration. The film’s director grew up in the village. The school was her home. She returned after 20 years to seek traces of her past and found a whole, complete world.


Iga ?api?ska – director. She is involved in documentary, oral history, editing and self-promotion in TV film channels. She wanted to be a scientist, which is why she studied Polish philology and film studies, but she much prefers practice to theory. For the Stopklatka TV channel, she has conceived and produced programmes about cinema such as „Prywatna historia kina”, „100 kultowych filmów”, „Ja tu tylko ogl?dam” and „8 i pó? filmu”. She directed the 6-part web documentary ‘Krótki kurs kultury romskiej’. With Ewa Jarosz, she invented an instagram educational series for young people entitled. “Nina_innahistoria” – about a teenage girl in a Polish-Jewish town before World War II (main prize in the O?rodek KARTA film hackathon; project not yet realised). Until the age of fifteen, she lived in Chlebiotki, a small village in Podlasie. She talks about it in the documentary ‘The School, a world’, which is her interactive debut.

Ewa Jarosz – project manager, historian, Judaist, activist associated with the food cooperative movement. Graduate of the Jagiellonian University, University of Southampton and the Tischner European University. Enthusiast and practitioner of community management of common goods, interested in the history of grassroots social action during the communist period. For ‘The School, a World’ project, she co-created the concept, interactive narrative, archival layer and editorial.

The project was financed under the Ministry of Education and Science programme within the framework of the “Regional Initiative of Excellence” for the years 2019-2023, project number 023/RID/2018/19, funding sum PLN 11 865?100