We are privileged to announce our keynote speaker is Jonathan Harris. Harris is an award winning interactive artist and computer scientist, known for his work with data poetics and storytelling. In his keynote speech, Harris will present his latest work Network Effect and will address the attendees in a Q&A session.  The co-creator of We Feel Fine, the director of The Whale Hunt, I Love Your Work, among many others, Harris’s works have redefined documentary storytelling in the digital age. The winner of three Webby awards, his work has also been recognized by AIGA and Ars Electronica. Finally, Jonathan’s projects have been widely covered by The New York Times, CNN, BBC and NPR. TIME Magazine named his online storytelling library, Cowbird, one of the fifty best websites of 2012.

Distinguished multi-media documentarians Ralph Dfouni and Ghassan Fayad will present their current project Life on Hold, an interactive documentary that depicts portraits of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Dfouni’s career spans across various platforms including music-videos, commercials, and contemporary documentary forms. Expanding conventional cinematic boundaries, he challenges linear storytelling techniques and alters the scope of previously accepted genres. He has received esteemed critical acclaim in the form of multiple Webby Awards, to name a few, in regards to his work with Canadian Television broadcasters including CBC and CTV, as well as organizations such as Greenpeace and the media-network Al-Jazeera. Internationally recognized for his role in the ever-changing digital media landscape (webdocs, augmented-reality, transmedia), his latest project returned Dfouni to his native country of Lebanon to document the ongoing strifes. Fellow Webby award-winner, Ghassan Fayad has led the Montreal-based design firm Kngfu, as president, for over a decade.  In partnership with such influential organizations as Ubisoft, Radio-Canada, and Téléquebec, Fayad has demonstrated and is recognized as a cultural authority in software design, interactive illustration, and especially, digital- media. As a lecturer, frequent conference panelist, and judge of countless film-festivals, his prominence in the field is laudable. We are thrilled to welcome these preeminent figures to our symposium.  

Additionally, the Symposium welcomes panelists whose collective body of work intersects across the many proliferating boundaries of contemporary documentary technologies and aesthetics.We are proud to bring together writer, filmmaker, and Peabody Award Winner Gerry Flahivecelebrated filmmaker and co-owner of Pinnguaq Productions, virtual reality producer Nyla Innuksuk and co-founder and creative director of Shok Kreative Isaac RaymentModerated by York University Professor Caitlin Fisher, the panelists will respond to the central question of our Symposium: How do we learn, practice, and teach today’s documentary language?