As filmmakers, storytelling is central to what we do. But according to the new interactive documentary Biology of Story, it’s also central to life itself.
Wrap your head around these statements for a minute: “Story is a living thing,” and “Living is a story thing.” These somewhat esoteric, but fundamental, notions are two of the main principles behind filmmaker Amnon Buchbinder’s interactive doc, the Biology of Story.
A collaboration with Helios Design Labs, the project has woven together hundreds of short videos that you can navigate in myriad ways, each exploring some notion of story and storytelling. With videos like “A Spectator Sport is a Story Machine” and “As Writers We Beat the Shit Out of Ourselves,” the project considers many storytelling platforms, including TV, gaming, theatrical and more.
The interactive documentary contains musings from a wide range of thinkers: screenwriters, novelists, physicians, clergy, scientists, journalists, and lawyers. Interview subjects include Carnegie Medal-winning writer Philip Pullman (whose YA book The Golden Compass was adapted as a film in 2007); 2016 Nieman Fellow and journalist Monica Guzman; internet pioneer and scholar Kenyatta Cheese of Know Your Meme, founding producer of StoryCorps Animated Shorts, Lizzie Jacobs; and dozens more.
Here, Cheese ponders whether cat macros will be the story of our time:
No matter what part of filmmaking we are involved in, from writing scripts to designing sets to manipulating lighting, we are all part of telling a story. We can all use bursts of inspiration and motivation from time to time. The diverse ways in which Biology of Story describes and dissects stories and their importance to humanity can provide just that.
The project is a living thing, as well. You can nominate storytellers—including yourself—to be interviewed here.