Hot Docs 2016: DocX

Returning to Hot Docs this year is DocX, which consists of a variety of interactive installations, and virtual reality and 360° video experiences. I ventured into the upper floor of Hot Docs House (610 Markham Street) and tried out a number of this year’s DocX experiences.

Cardboard Crash (Canada)
Presented by the NFB, this Virtual Reality experience puts you behind a self-driving car made of cardboard. At one point, you have to make a difficult ethical choice, which doesn’t have an easy answer. Cardboard Crash has some well constructed CG graphic and you have to make your choices by looking at the various icons that appear. While currently in beta, Cardboard Crash is fun experience, which questions who is ethically responsible for self-driving cars.


The World in Ten Blocks (Canada)
The World in Ten Blocks is an interactive tour of Toronto’s Bloorcourt neighbourhood. Using an iPad, I would virtually scroll through the neighbourhood and stop a various points of interest. An interactive documentary that you view at your own pace is an interesting concept and The World in Ten Block looks to be one that will grow over time, with you being given the option of subscribing for updates at the end of the tour.


Surviving Solitary (Canada)
This VR experience presented by The Globe and Mail puts you inside of solitary confinement, with various audio clips describing the experience. Surviving Solitary is a relatively well-constructed experience, which simulates what it would be like to be in a tiny jail cell. There are many interactive objects in the cell, which activate various clips by the prisoner whose cell you choose to explore. Just be warned that this experience requires a lot of rotating and may result in some motion sickness.


Inside the Box of Kurios (Canada)
Step right up for this interactive VR performance by Cirque du Soleil. Inside the Box of Kurios is an excellent example of the power of VR filming, as you are placed right in the middle of a 360° performance, which features everything from acrobatics to musical numbers. There is so much going on in this presentation, you might want to try it out multiple times, just to see it from every perspective. This is a highly recommended experience.


Digital Me (UK)
Digital Me uses social media feed to have a conversation with your digital self. Digital Me is an interested experience to say the least, as it reveals what type of person you are online. However, other than being a curiosity, there is nothing too deep about this interactive experience.


DocX experiences are all free and open to the public from now until May 7 from 11 AM-6 PM at Hot Docs House

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).