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Doha engages with digital storytellers

BoomGen chief on need to feed tech-savvy aud

DOHA, Qatar — Digital storytelling came to Doha this week as a duo of events at the fourth annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival distilled the art of transmedia for both industry insiders and aspiring filmmakers alike.

At a Doha Talks session on Monday entitled “Transmedia: Storytelling in the Digital Age,” a panel of artists discussed cross-platform storytelling and the challenges creatives face in a hyper-technological world. Panelists explained how a powerful plotline can transcend multiple platforms; the role location plays in today’s storytelling; and how transmedia can be harnessed to engage an ever-impatient, technologically-savvy audience.

There are three primary drivers of change in the digital world, Mahyad Tousi, the Iranian-raised, Brooklyn-based CEO of BoomGen Studios, said on Monday: shifts in demographics, global power structure, and innovation. Along with his fellow panelists, he described how evolving technology forces a shift in the way we express and consume stories, thus making multi-platform and interactive storytelling the new norm.

Egyptian Yasmin Elayat discussed 18daysofEgypt.com, which shows the Egyptian revolution in snippets from mobile phones and social media. “We built a platform to enable people to upload and share their content, providing tools to help them tell their stories. We made the community the filmmaker,” she said.

The following day, Tousi led a workshop on what he calls “Sustainable Storytelling.” Using a BoomGen project as a model, he showed how the same story can be applied to platforms including an iOS graphic novel app, a video game, and a feature film, before inviting the audience to apply the model to their own projects.

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