The Phi Centre, MIT Open Documentary Lab and MacArthur Foundation present
A conference on one of the most relevant topics of the moment

Photo credit: ScanLAB Projects, ibeyi and XL Recordings.


The Phi Centre announces its collaboration, in the role of co-presenter, for the event Virtually There: Documentary Meets Virtual Reality, with the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with Telefilm Canada and the Talent Fund. Also featuring an exhibition and workshops, the conference will take place May 6 and 7 at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge.

While asking questions redefining the relationship between virtual reality and narrative, the conference will explore the various strands of this new medium and their implications for representing reality, defining truths, and changing the documentary image and experience. Participants include Raney Aronson-Rath (FRONTLINE), Jessica Brillhart (Google) and Félix Lajeunesse (Felix & Paul Studios).

“In this case [of Virtual Reality], we do have a technology, but we don’t have any clear idea how to fill it with content.” – Werner Herzog

The exhibition will feature virtual reality works including some highlights of the most recent edition of the IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam).

For details on programming, speakers and tickets, visit

MIT Open Documentary Lab

Drawing on MIT’s legacy of media innovation and its deep commitment to open and accessible information, the MIT Open Documentary Lab brings storytellers, technologists, and scholars together to explore new documentary forms with a particular focus on collaborative, interactive, and immersive storytelling. The Lab understands documentary as a project rather than as a genre bound to a particular medium: documentary offers ways of exploring, representing, and critically engaging the world. It explores the potentials of emerging technologies and techniques to enhance the documentary project by including new voices, telling new stories and reaching new publics.

A center for documentary research, the Lab offers courses, workshops, a fellows program, public lectures, and conferences; it incubates experimental projects; and it develops tools, resources, reports, and critical discourse. These activities, and the partnerships with artists, journalists, technologists, and media makers that they have enabled, aim to push documentary’s boundaries and deepen the impact and reach of innovative reality-based storytelling. In the spirit of MIT’s open courseware and open source software movements, the Open Documentary Lab is inclusive, collaborative and committed to sharing knowledge, networks, and tools. ‘Open’ in its understanding of documentary’s forms and potentials, the Lab is catalyst, partner and guide to the future of reality-based storytelling.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy; the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago; and generating new knowledge about critical issues.

Talent Fund

The Talent Fund supports first features by talented filmmakers trained at film schools across Canada. The Fund fosters online distribution and promotion of their releases, so that that they will enjoy more national and international success. This private donation fund, under the leadership of an advisory committee of eight business and community leaders, has raised over $15 million to date from companies, foundations and individuals.

Telefilm Canada - Inspired by Talent. Viewed Everywhere.

Telefilm is dedicated to the cultural, commercial and industrial success of Canada’s audiovisual industry. Through its various funding and promotion programs, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creative talent here at home and around the world. Telefilm also administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Visit and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

The Phi Centre

The Phi Centre is a versatile space with venues that adapt to accommodate the event at hand: launches, conferences, seminars, screenings, exhibitions, concerts, performances, interactive installations. It has creative studios and production suites equipped with the latest technology for all artistic needs. It’s a multifunctional centre where art can express itself in its various forms. It’s a space where people can exchange, learn, discover, launch, shoot, record, and more.

The Phi Centre is an initiative of Phi and its founder, Phoebe Greenberg. Phi’s mission is to provide the public with excellence in all types of art from every possible horizon.

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Phi Centre

Phi Centre
407 Saint-Pierre Street, Montreal
Tel.: 514 225-0525 •

Public Relations:
Myriam Achard
Director of Public Relations and Communications
Tel.: 514 844-7474, ext. 5104 •

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