Production of interactive documentary in the latin area (II)

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Figure 1. Los niños que nunca volvieron.  Photographs of children who never returned from the war

The content of this series focuses on an introduction and theoretical approach to the emerging genre of interactive documentary in the Spanish and Latin area. Several examples are cited and three significant projects produced in recent years in the Spanish area are discussed in depth: Guernika, pintura de guerra (CCRTVi and Haiku Media, 2007), Las Voces de la Memoria (RTVE, Association of Relatives of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients of Valencia and Barret Films, 2010), and Metamentaldoc (Universitat de Vic and Pintao, 2011).


Figure 2. Los niños que nunca volvieron. Presentation of the project

Los niños que nunca volvieron  [The children who never returned]  (2008)

Los niños que nunca volvieron[1] is an interactive documentary that tells the stories of several children (now grown up) who, during the Spanish Civil War, were forced to migrate away from Spain and their parents. This documentary work was brought out by the Directorate General of Spanish Citizens Abroad, the Ministry of Labour and Immigration (now Ministry of Employment and Social Security) and produced by the production company Dos de Mayo. Directed by Jaime Solano, the Dos de Mayo team began working on this project in 2008. In a first phase, interviews were conducted with experts and nine children of war. The project continues to be quite active. The dissemination of the project started in the social media, and the team has continued to collect new evidence through a blog, which also shows who will be the new exiled-children storytellers in the documentary.


 Figure 3. Los niños que nunca volvieron. Interface

MetamentalDOC (2009)

MetamentalDOC multimedia is an interactive documentary that looks at documentary film and independent documentary film. It is a project that contains a great deal of content of various types. The project came about as the result of an audiovisual documentary produced by the same team, and grew to the point where it became a larger work than its predecessor. MetamentalDOC multimedia is also a documentary based on a web and interactive medium. In this platform, the content has been expanded and the audiovisual project has become part of the multimedia, with the inclusion of some parts and at the same time, the inclusion of audiovisual content.


Figure 4. Homepage

From the point of view of the core concept of this work, it is an interactive application halfway between the documentary genre – as can be seen in the interviews section and the documentary piece itself – and a work of cultural dissemination with a didactic and pedagogical objective – as can be seen in the historical background and virtual classroom sections. The newness and added value of this example is based on three key points.


Figure 5. Virtual classroom

First, the fact that there is no similar project on the subject covered, due to its complexity and originality; second, there is also no platform with the attributes that this one possesses, which make it possible to view an audiovisual documentary, and browse or interact five broad sections in a non-linear way; and finally, apart from the innovation in terms of the subject matter and languages used – Spanish and Catalan – there are no other similar experiences on the market that mix an idea for entertainment and a learning and educational idea in such an effective and attractive way.


Figure 6. Projection room

What really adds value to MetamentalDoc Project is this triple aspect:

– The cross-media strategy behind: one project with several parts for different platforms.
– A production conceived as an educational and training tool: acts as a secondary Virtual Campus for a whole Communication College.
– Open project available online that allows users to upload content: includes a 1 hour-long documentary film, 40 interviews and more than 150 downloadable documents and videos.


Figure 7. Interviews

Each part metamentalDoc Multimedia features content that can be browsed in a specific mode and using an original metaphor. The modes used in this documentary are audiovisual, time, spatial, testimonial and preferential. There are five different ways of browsing and interacting with the various types of content.


Figure 8. Historical background

Figure 9. Complete scheme of the project


Arnau Gifreu
Researcher, producer and lecturer



Barret Films; RTVE; Asociación de Familiares del Alzheimer de Valencia. Las voces de la memoria. España (español), 2011.

Blasco, I.; Campos, G.; Figueira, M.; Gifreu A.; Molinos, M. Metamental-i-doc. Espanya (català i espanyol), 2010). Facultat d’Empresa i Comunicació. Universitat de Vic. [WEB].


CCRTV Interactiva; Haiku Media. Guernika, pintura de guerra.España (catalán), 2007.


Solano, Jaime;  Dos de Mayo. Los niños que nunca volvieron. Dirección General de Ciudadanía Española en el Exterior. Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración de España. 2008.