Victoria Mapplebeck is a BAFTA award winning Director, artist and writer. She is also Professor in Digital Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. In 1999, Victoria wrote and directed Channel 4’s first interactive documentary series, 'Smart Hearts', in which web cams streamed live from the subject’s homes for over 18 months.
Victoria’s research explores how interactive documentary has evolved since the late 90s. In 2014, Victoria wrote and directed TEXT ME, an award winning interactive arts project produced in partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. TEXT ME is a live and online platform which creates an evolving and living archive in which users are encouraged to collect, curate and share stories from their digital past. TEXT ME won The Merging Media Prize for Best European Cross platform Project and The 2014 Pixel Lab Prize. Text Me was also featured in Wired magazine and selected for University UK’s 20 Ideas for Life.
Over the last few years, Victoria has begun to specialise in smartphone production and making short form online video with impact. In 2015, Victoria filmed and directed '160 Characters' a smartphone short for Film London. Shot entirely on an iPhone 6, '160 Characters' brings to life the secrets buried in a vintage Nokia. It won the Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Short of the Week Film Awards and was short listed for the Innovation category of the 2016 AHRC Research in Film Awards. When the film launched online it received a Vimeo Staff pick and has since gathered over 1.5 million online views.
In 2017, Victoria shot and directed 'Missed Call', a smartphone short which explored the relationship between Victoria and her teenage son Jim as they work out how to reconnect with his father who’s been absent for a decade. 'Missed Call' was the first commissioned short film to be shot on the iPhone X and won a 2019 BAFTA in The Best Short Form Film Category and The Best Documentary Short award at the 2019 Broadcast Digital Awards. In 2018, 'Missed Cal'l won the Social Media Short Award at the 2018 AHRC Research in Film Awards .
Victoria's multi platform project 'The Waiting Room', is a Film and VR experience exploring her breast cancer journey from diagnosis to recovery. In January 2019, Victoria was awarded a major EPSRC Immersive Documentary Encounters Commission, to create 'The Waiting Room:VR', a 16 minute VR experience designed to tour festivals, exhibitions and hospitals . 'The Waiting Room VR' premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival and won The IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling . 'The Waiting Room' Film and VR project also featured on BBC Click. This multi platform project also includes a 30 minute smartphone short film, commissioned by Guardian Films. 'The Waiting Room' smartphone short launched on The Guardian website in June 2019.
In January 2019 , Victoria won a Women Film and TV Network development bursary to develop, her smartphone feature documentary, 'Motherboard' which brings to life the stories archived in the phones Victoria has owned since 2000. From a Nokia 8310 to the iPhone X, 'Motherboard' will uncover the messages, videos and photos that create a digital family album that spans nearly two decades.
Recently, Victoria has received IDFA Doclab R and D funds to develop 'Testing Times' an immersive audio experience, which will create an unfiltered and unromanticized portrait of family life during a global pandemic. Victoria will collaborate with her 17 year old son Jim to capture their conflicting and contrasting experiences of months in lockdown.
Victoria writes regularly about smartphone production and VR for The Guardian, The Huffington Post and The Conversation. Victoria has given lectures and keynotes at The Banff New Media Institute, Sheffield Doc Fest, IDFA, The V and A and is interviewed regularly for ITV, BBC and and Sky news on developments in digital archives and interactive storytelling.
In 2021, Victoria co founded and curated 'SMart; The London International Smartphone Film Festival', an annual festival which celebrates the innovation, intimacy and diversity of Smartphone filmmaking
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