Neus Ballús premieres 'Qualified', an interactive documentary on the university stage

  • Through the life of former UPF students, the webdoc invites viewers to take a tour of the university stage and participate in the debate on the role of public universities in society

The premiere of Qualified was held in the hall at the Barcelona Contemporary Culture Centre (CCCB) gathered over 300 people interested in discovering the latest project of the filmmaker Neus Ballús. A project with its own label, co-produced by Pompeu Fabra University, UPF Barcelona School of Management and TV3.

The premiere of Qualified is one of the core activities of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of Pompeu Fabra University that has decided, through this project, to lead and promote a serious, public debate with an international focus on the role of the University. ‘Like the cinema, we want to be a university on the move. And we want to contribute to reflecting on the role of public universities in society”, said the rector of the University, Jaume Casals.

What better way to create the debate than to experiment with a new genre: the interactive documentary, a format that prevents projections in cinemas or on televisions open to the internet for everybody to see, experience and participate. "What we present today, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of UPF, is not the end of two year’s work, but the beginning of the project itself, that will grow with the participation and collaboration of everyone”, hopes  Jordi Balló, UPF professor and director of the Masters in Creative Documentary at UPF Barcelona School of Management.

TV3's participation in the project stems from the commitment of the Catalan Corporation of Audiovisual Media (CCMA) to the interactive documentary format that will also be available in the documentary space on the television portal.

The webdoc experience

To give the viewing public an idea, Lluís Marquina, director and host of the program Generación digital [Digital generation] on Channel 33 and the director of the webdoc, Neus Ballús,  took to the stage to make a public display of what it means to visit the webdoc. 'The main character of this documentary is the user navigating through the stories of others and building their own story ", explained Neus Ballús.

From the 30 stories proposed, the user can select which tour he/she would like to follow. "Each piece is different and depending on the user’s experience different conclusions are reached," added Ballús in the presentation of their work.

The same documentary is a parallel with the life of a student from wanting to go to the university to the present day. So, you can see the first concerns of the youngsters, vital moments of the university experience and where it has taken them and what impact the University has had in their personal and professional lives. In different two minute segments, a collage of personal stories is created, to which the viewer must be added. Thus, there are times when the user is encouraged to become part of the work and create their own content by leaving comments and photographs about their experience and opinion about the University. ‘With this collective reflection we want to detect any problems or failings that public universities have today and for improvement ideas to be suggested,” explained the director.

A project that has been championed without fear by Pompeu Fabra University to provide and deepen a key issue in society. This is why Qualified can be seen in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English in order to break the boundaries of the university and bring the debate to the entire academic world.