Author Archives: MODE Istanbul

Lab MODE showcases at Which Human Rights? Film Festival

MODE Istanbul organizes two showcases of selected Doc Next and Lab MODE media works at the 5th Which Human Rights Film Festival to be held in Istanbul between December 14th and 18th, 2013.

Launched in 2009 on the occasion of the Human Rights Day, the Which Human Rights? Film Festival carried out by the Documentarist team celebrates its 5th edition between 14-18 December 2013. The festival showcases films from all around the world that deal with human rights issues, and the main theme of this year’s program is “resistance”. Audiences can download the full program of the festival here.

As part of this year’s festival program, MODE Istanbul will host two showcases of selected Doc Next and Lab MODE works: The first showcase Remapping Europe “Migration Stories” will be held on the 14th of December at 15:00 in SALT Beyoğlu. A 75-min selection of remixes completed at the Remapping Europe Creative Remix Ateliers by participants from Turkey, UK, Spain and Poland will be presented to the audiences.

The second showcase Lab MODE “Gezi Stories” will be held on 16th of December at 19:00 in Aynalı Geçit. The screening will include a selection of media works created as part of the Gezi (Media) Lab, launched at the onset of the protests to provide a space for young people to explore the Gezi Spirit and to produce new media works, individually and collectively. Gezi Lab was organized as part of the Lab MODE program, which includes various long-term projects and media labs of MODE Istanbul including Remapping Europe activities. 

A talk with the media makers will be held following each screening.

Read more about the screenings and selected works.

Mini Lab on “Gender and Resistance” in Istanbul

MODE Istanbul‘s mini lab on ‘Gender and Resistance’ was underway last weekend. Between August 23rd and 25th, at Simotas Building in Kuzguncuk/Istanbul, guests from the LGBT community and the Socialist Feminist Collective as well as academics working on gender issues talked about their experiences in relation to Gezi incidents and shared their insights on the culture of resistance.

Lawyer Levent Pişkin, one of the organizers of the LGBT Honor Week, was the first speaker to talk about the LGBT community in Turkey and he gave a historical and sociological insight into what resistance means for the community.

sfk1Cenk Özbay, associate professor at Bogazici University, first went over the basic terminology of gender studies. He then defined and started a discussion on the concept of ‘insurgent masculinity’, which he portrayed as an undertow to the prevalent idea of masculinity, within the context of Gezi process and linked it with a caricature project he has been working on.

Bilinç Şüküroğlu, a representative of the Socialist Feminist Collective, talked about her experiences on feminist resistance in relation to the Gezi Protests. Continue reading

Social Impact Through Web Documentaries – Case-Study

I love EthiopiaIn this week’s blog on the topic of interactive documentaries, guest editor Paulina Tervo looks at how web documentaries can be used to make social impact using her own web documentary as a case-study…

“In my third and final blog post in this series I will look at how web documentaries can be used to make social impact. Using my own web documentary project as a case-study, I am going to put forward some of the ideas that my team and I have developed on audience participation and the strategies for social change. I welcome your feedback on this via my Twitter account @PaulinaTervo.  Continue reading

Interview: Web Tools for Interactive Storytelling

In this week’s blog on the topic of interactive documentaries, guest editor Paulina Tervo decided to look into some of the web tools for documentary makers wishing to create interactive stories.

“As I argued in my previous post, one of the major challenges documentary makers face when creating interactive docs is that there are no sustainable business models yet. The idea that producing a project for the web is cheaper than a traditional documentary is a myth and in many cases it can in fact be the opposite. To make an engaging interactive documentary, you not only need a well crafted story but you also need to develop and design the user experience, and find a coder to put it all together. As the genre is still in its early days, it can be very difficult to find a coder who can understand the filmmaker and vice versa.

Now some companies are tapping into this specific need by offering filmmakers easy-to-use editing and publishing tools that allow them to create interactive and non-linear stories without much knowledge of code or design. What previously would have been a highly expensive and labour-intensive pursuit now gives media makers the freedom and opportunity to experiment without taking huge risks.

In order to understand these new tools and their functions better, I talked to Arnaud Dressen from Klynt (Interactive Producer / CEO at Honky Tonk Films) and Bjarke Myrthu (Founder/CEO) from Storyplanet.


I asked the same questions to both of them. I hope that their answers below will shed some light on what these tools are there for.

Q: What does your tool do and who is it aimed for?

AD:  Klynt is an editing and publishing tool that allows filmmakers to create non-linear and interactive stories easily and without the need to use a programmer. It was designed as an affordable and creative solution to explore new narrative formats on the internet. It is primarily aimed at journalists and filmmakers but is also being used by NGOs.


BM: Our online builder tool makes it easy for you to turn images, video and text into beautiful, engaging stories. You can use our free online toolbox to do everything from your next school project or family album to documentaries, timelines, presentations and more. Storyplanet is aimed for a wide audience, including photographers, journalists and filmmakers as well as educational users and NGOs. 3rd party developers can build on it and extend it. The software is currently in BETA.


Q: What kind of stories can you create using your tool?

AD: You can create stories with any subject, length or genre, ranging from investigations to analytical, observational, historical documentaries, games and mind-map stories. You can create any kind of story architecture.  With Klynt you can do something quite sophisticated and interactive with little knowledge of design or coding. It is not to say that it cancels the need for a graphic designer and a coder completely. In fact a designer and a coder can help you create more original stories using Klynt. Most of our users create stories using their own content.

BM: Storyplanet has broad storytelling possibilities ranging from e-books, interactive timelines, linear movies with links within it, page-like stories where you decide your own user journey, stories with hyperlinked overlays on the image etc. We are trying to cater for all these different scenarios. We are currently talking to the guys at Mozilla to find out a way to integrate our tool with Popcorn maker.


Q: Will you offer templates?

AD: No, with Klynt we decided not to develop templates as our users were not keen on the idea.

BM: Yes we are developing templates at the moment, we call them ‘themes’. There is a debate on whether templates are necessary and there are two camps. We are developing them so that we can cater for a wider user base.

Q: Can you give me some examples of projects that have been created using your tool?

AD: Our production arm, Honky Tonk Films, uses the tool for all its productions. This allows us to push the boundaries of the application, and helps us define the features for future versions. Examples of the productions made with Klynt are  “Journey to the End of Coal” and “Manila Moneyla“.

BM: Witness used Storyplanet to create a timeline of 20 years of their work (which can be seen here), and Al Jazeera used it to create a story on 18 days of revolution in Egypt (which can be seen here).


Q:  What is your revenue model?

AD: Our revenue comes from 3 main sources, 1/3 from license fees, 1/3 from associated production services and 1/3 from training and consulting. We offer two types of licenses to Klynt, 150 euro for the light version and 500 euro for the pro version.

BM: Storyplanet will be a free tool but premium features will be charged for. These may include extra storage, analytics, own URL etc. We are also building a market place for templates (similar to the app store) in order to boost revenue.

Q: Can you guarantee a sustainable environment for filmmakers? What happens to the content in 5 years time?

AD: This is a growing concern for us all. In order to tackle it we are moving closer to more standard technologies and open source policies to give our users more control and ownership.

BM: We are developing a way for users to download their data in order to store it on their own server. Since we are still in BETA stage this feature is not functional yet but we can do it for users manually for now.

Q: Do you offer any business models for filmmakers using your platform / software?

AD: This is not our primary purpose. Every project we have done so far has been released for free. In the future we may integrate crowd-sourcing or micro financing options.

BM: Yes. We are planning to have a market place for filmmakers and photographers, so that through our platform you could become a pro-producer and charge for the use of your content. We are also hoping to function as a publishing network, and establishing partnerships with big media outlets who could search and buy content from makers on our platform.

To compare and contrast these two tools, here are the features of each tool in a nutshell:

Edit Rich Narratives
* Mixed Media Editing
Texts, images, audios, videos and hyperlinks
* Customizable layout & design template
Create your own look and feel
* Visual Storyboard
Edit your storyboard like a mind map
Connect Your Story to the Web
* Mash-up Ready
Mix YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo videos and Flickr images
* Facebook & Twitter Friendly
Share your favorite sequences on social networks
* Custom Maps
Geolocalize your content
Publish Anywhere
* Quick Publishing
Automatically export your final edit
* Embedable Anywhere
Show your program on any webpage
* Tablet and Mobile Device Compatible
HTML5 player (coming February 2013)

To try Klynt for free sign up on here.

* Flash based – HTML version coming
* Free – planning to make money from premium templates, extra storage and statistics
* Cloud based: No need to download or install software
* Works on Mac, PC and Linux and in all major browsers
* Embed the final story on any kind of website or blog
* Build any kind of story structure by placing tiles in a grid
* Create any kind of layout with video, photos and text
* Add navigation using buttons and hotspots
* Navigate stories going left, right, up and down
* Coming: Embed content from Youtube, Vimeo, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox etc
* Coming: Collaborate and share media
* Coming: Extend buy building your own plugins and themes

To try Storyplanet please sign up for BETA testing here.

There are many other brilliant and useful web tools for documentary makers, which I did not have the time to delve into. But here is a list of some other tools that you may also want to explore:

Popcorn maker

By Paulina Tervo for Doc Next Network

Insights Into the “Interactive Documentary” Realm: An Introduction

I’m Paulina Tervo. I have been invited to write for the blog in the next few weeks around the topic of Interactive Documentary. Firstly, I would like to introduce myself and tell you a bit about my background. I work as a documentary filmmaker and interactive producer at Write This Down Productions. I was based in London until recently but in April 2012 I relocated to Istanbul with my husband and business partner Serdar Ferit (who I co-own Write This Down with). Not long after we arrived, we met Gokce Su Yogurtcuoglu, and got acquainted with MODE Istanbul and with Doc Next Network. Fast-forward 8 months and we are sharing an office and planning many interesting collaborations together. Su asked me to contribute to this blog, knowing that I am very passionate about this subject matter.

I was introduced to interactive documentaries in 2009 while I was a participant on EsoDoc. The idea of combining the power of the internet with documentary storytelling really excited me. I have always been more of a short documentary maker and I find that short stories can be very powerful. I wanted to experiment and see if I could take storytelling a step further and engage the audience in contributing to the story, giving them tools to make their own decisions about how they experience the story as well as build in ways in which they can get involved in making change.

As a result, in 2010 I started to develop a film idea into an interactive documentary (The Awra Amba Experience). Through this project, I have been exposed to a new world and learned a lot of things about gaming, web design, coding, interactivity and social media. Starting an interactive documentary project has been nothing less of enriching both professionally and personally. But more about my project later!

In this post, I want to briefly introduce interactive docs, including what’s currently going, and what some of the challenges are. Next week I will review a few of the web tools that are being developed for filmmakers wishing to make interactive documentaries. In my third and final post, I will go into the project I mention above in more detail.

In preparation for this post, I have been talking to my colleague Matthieu Lietart, from Not So Crazy! Productions in Belgium, whose book ‘Web Docs – A survival guide for online filmmakers’ is essential for anyone wishing to navigate their way around the web doc jungle. Matthieu says: “What is fascinating is that our audience can interact with our content and with one another creating communities or even social movements. The tools are there, so let’s see what we can produce to make social change happen!”

I highly recommend the book both as an entry point for beginners as well as a important reference tool to more seasoned media makers.

The genre of interactive documentary is very young. The first mention of it was in 2002 in France. It has since taken off particularly in France, where public institutions, such as the CNC award grants to interactive documentaries and where broadcasters and publishers including Arte, France 24 and commission web documentaries.

Canada is another country where many innovative projects take flight. The National Film Board of Canada stands out as an early innovator in the genre, with projects such as Highrise, Waterlife and Bear 71 to their name.

In the UK, some broadcasters like Channel 4 and the BBC have been experimenting with interactive programming for a while, whilst organisations such as Power to the Pixel and Crossover have led the revolution on training and project development. Sheffield Doc Fest and the Pixel Market offer some of the best international pitching opportunities for interactive projects, attracting some of the biggest names in the industry. On the academic side, iDocs has been forging links between academia and practitioners, with their annual symposium in Bristol.

Over in America, technological innovation has emerged through organisations such as the Mozilla Foundation, who have for instance developed an open source web tool ‘Popcorn maker’, which I will review in my next post. On the funding front, Tribeca Film Institute is currently one of the only financiers of international interactive documentary productions (where no broadcast film is needed alongside the web component) through their annual New Media Fund.

On the festival circuit IDFA Doc Lab has been the pioneer of showcasing interactive documentaries ever since 2007. Next year, Tribeca Storyscapes begins a new transmedia program to showcase work that explores new forms of storytelling, highlighting innovation across a variety of platforms.

Workshops, labs and hackathons where filmmakers meet coders, web designers, game designers, app designers etc. are getting increasingly popular around the world. Labs and hackathons are great not only for networking but in fostering a culture of creative collaboration. If you are interested in this, I advise you to check out for example what POV and the Mozilla Foundation are doing: POV Hackathon and Living Docs.

There are many fantastic interactive projects out there and not enough space to mention them all. But here is a small selection of my favourites:

Out My Window by director Kat Cizek, NFB

The Johnny Cash Project by Chris Milk

At Home by the NFB

Gaza Sderot by Upian

We Feel Fine by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar

It is an exciting time to be a media maker. We have access to data and stories like never before. Yet, all of this presents a challenge for us. Suddenly, we are expected to take on a host of new roles. You can no longer just be a director but you have to constantly develop yourself to move with the times. You may also have to become a story architect, a web producer, and a community manager – all of these require a whole set of new skills.

Matthieu talks about another challenge filmmakers face:

“One of the biggest problems for many filmmakers is that there is no clear business model in the webdoc industry. Large experiments have so far only been possible thanks to help from film funds like the CNC in France or NFB in Canada, or broadcasters like Arte, France5 and VPRO. Yet, there are also many smaller webdocs that have been created using very innovative financial strategies. Today’s webdockers have to be open-minded and look for new partners and create new funding strategies. But remember that others made it and there are lessons to be learned from that…”

Some people say that web docs are a passing phase. Whatever the future may be, it is clear that the documentary genre is being reinvented. The internet offers us a chance to take the documentary out of its box and gives us new tools to tell stories. I think it’s time to put our egos aside, and put the user first. It’s time to open our minds to new kinds of collaboration across industries, and across continents. The revolution has started and there is no stopping it.

What to pay attention to when developing projects

1. Cross-over! Talk to and learn from people in other industries. It is important to forge partnerships and build a good team of experts in their respective fields.

2. Story is always the most important, technology should come second.

3. Use what the web has to offer and then you can create a truly interactive project – also think outside the box on how to engage the audience in offline events.

4. Find partnerships for distribution – link your story with existing stories, build relationships with online publishers and brands to get your story out there to a wide audience.

5. Small is beautiful – vast complex projects just confuse the audience. Sometimes it is the simplest projects that are most effective.

6. Put the user first – always think from a user’s perspective; how is their experience and what will they do when they first come to your site? Create different entry points to your story.

7. You will need to be multi-skilled and a great manager – you need to stay on top of the entire project all the time (this is not an easy task!)

8. Have fun! Experiment, try new things, don’t be afraid. Nobody has a formula as to what interactive documentaries are – be part of inventing it!


Interview Doc Next maker Hande Zerkin


Documentary director and street photographer Hande Zerkin from Izmir, Turkey, participated the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) 2012 as one of the invited media makers of Doc Next Network. Hande is one of the directors of the short documentary Just Brewed It, We’re Waiting for It to Settle (Demledik, Çökmesini Bekliyoruz), screened as part of the Doc Next Mini Cinema program during IDFA 2012.  The documentary was completed during the Youth MODE Creative Documentary Workshop ‘Local Heroes of Izmir’, organized by Doc Next partner MODE Istanbul in February 2012. Hande also took part in the North Aegean Narratives project, produced by Istanbul Digital Culture and Arts Foundation and facilitated by MODE Istanbul, and completed as a part of the project the short documentary I Missed the Bus. 

MODE Istanbul team interviewed Hande Zerkin during IDFA 2012. To read the interview in Turkish please click here.


Imagining Europe: Is A New Europe Possible?

Between the dates of October 4-7, 2012, the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) presented Imagining Europe at the renowned cultural space De Balie in Amsterdam. Live performances, debates and encounters to imagine a new Europe were held during the four-day event.

 De Balie in Amsterdam hosted a series of activities under the title Imagining Europe, presented by the ECF, between the dates of October 4-7, 2012. During the events, talks and discussions, participants tried to find out what the contemporary problems in our societies are, and imagined the future of Europe; artists from different countries and backgrounds displayed their live performances. One of the most memorable events was the live cinema performance of European Souvenirs, a Doc Next Network project commissioned by the ECF, curated and designed by Zemos98 (Seville) in collaboration with other Doc Next partners, the British Film Institute-Future Film (London), the Association of the Creative Initiatives “ę” (Warsaw) and MODE Istanbul (Istanbul). All the artists and participants of Imaging Europe tried to find an answer to the question of how to re-imagine and re-map a new Europe.

October 4 – Imagining Europe started with the opening speech of the ECF’s President Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands at De Balie. After the Princess’s speech, Dutch TV presenter Twan Huys introduced internationally known Bengali Indian author, Amitav Ghosh to the audience. Ghohs talked about world economy and politics, and the crisis of climate change during his speech. He gave comparative examples from different regions of the world and the different periods in history, and focused on the problem of growth and consumerism. After the dinner, renowned Syrian clarinetist player and composer Kinan Azmeh and Dutch trumpet player Eric Vloeimans shared the same stage for their exclusive live performance.

October 5 – The second day of Imagining Europe continued with the debate “Reclaiming the Public Space” at De Balie.  As the opening speech, British curator and writer Charles Esche came to the stage and talked about the role of art in Europe’s and the world’s shared future, and the question of reinventing democracy. Then, moderator Farid Tabarki, the founder and director of Studio Zeitgeist in Amsterdam, invited Belgian lecturer and poet Peter Vermeersch, British sociologist Tiffany Jenkins and Spanish innovation manager Juan Freire to talk about the role of the artists and cultural actors in creating new channels for a new political imagination. Participants of the debate discussed about the contemporary problems in Europe as well as in the world, and shared the belief that we need to re-imagine and re-develop new organizational approaches.

After the debate on the Europe’s future, the night continued with the world premiere of “a culinary experience”, Trash Cuisine, by Belarus Free Theatre, at Stadsschouwburg of Amsterdam. Belarus Free Theatre, which is formed by a group of artists who were exiled by dictatorial leadership in their home country, performed an exceptional and emotional play underlying the political pressure and violence in Belarus.

October 6 – The third day of Imagining Europe continued with the “Reflection on the Future of Funding Cities” at the Mirror Salon, De Balie. After the debate, European Souvenirs took the stage. The five European media artists Karol Rakowski (Poland), Barış Gürsel (Turkey), Farah Rahman (Netherlands), Malaventura (Spain) and Noriko Okaku (United Kingdom / Japan) presented an experimental live cinema performance, which is created by remixing materials gathered through extensive research on media archives. While European Souvenirs artists questioned Europe and the world, they showed how borders are crossing (shifting) by reminding the viewers the universal concepts such as family, travel, borders and memoirs.

October 7 – On its fourth day, Imagining Europe ended with a film screening and conversation with the film director and cultural activist John Akomfrah.



A 90-minute short documentary selection from the ever-expanding Doc Next Media Collection will be screened at Documentarist 2012 Documentary Festival in Istanbul today!

The selection includes short films, documentaries, political remixes and media biographies depicting alternative perspectives and new ways of storytelling, capturing the insights of young people and contributing to a new understanding of Europe across its various regions. The screening is presented by MODE Istanbul, the Doc Next Network partner in Turkey, and will be held at SALT Beyoglu today (June 6) at 16:00. A Q&A with the present media-makers will be held after the screening.



  • Demledik, Çökmesini Bekliyoruz, 6:05, Metin Akdemir, Hande Zerkin, Güneş Uyanıker, Gülgün Dedeçam, Turkey
  • İçimizden Biri (One of Us), 6:10, Gamze Akan, Ilgın Aksoy, Şengül Moral, Turkey
  • Sesler ve Gölgeler (Sounds and Shadows), 4:55, Selin Gündüz, Erkan Atay, Alper Dutkin, Ahmet Turan, Turkey
  • Gel-Git (Ebb and Tide), 11:01, Nazlı Kaya, Turkey
  • Launderette, 9:33, Alex Nevill, Bertie Telezynski, UK
  • Recover & Rebuild: Croydon, 4:59, Rebecca Richards, UK
  • Wires, 7:57, Jacob Dwyer, UK
  • Taki Typ Ptactwa (This Type of Birds), 12:06, Małgorzata Goliszewska, Poland
  • Biuro Rzeczy Zagubionych (Lost Property Fffice), 9:51, Anna Rok, Agnieszka Kokowska, Poland
  • Bez Widza, 6:03, Rafal Andrzej Glombiowski, Poland
  • El Sexo Sentido (Sex sense), 5:00, José Manuel Borrego, José Manuel Expósito, Pedro Fernández, Rosario Fernández, Noelia Fernández, Belén Márquez, José Antonio Márquez, Iván Ruiz Vergara, Pablo Domínguez, Spain
  • Cuentos ilustrados (Illustrated Stories), 12:07, Pablo Domínguez Sanchez, Felipe G. Gil, Spain
  • Our Dangerous Demands, 2:00, Malaventura, Spain
  • The Manifacture of Consent, 2:22, Enrico Argento, Portugal

For the screening info on Documentarist website click here. For more information:


Youth MODE Documentary Workshop in Izmir

MODE Istanbul will be organizing a creative documentary workshop in Izmir between January 30th and February 5th. The national applications are closing this Friday, the 13th of January.


Participants will be given seminars on creative documentary making, screenwriting, digital camera techniques and editing. They will shoot 5 minute documentaries on the theme of “Local Heroes of Izmir”. All documentaries completed during the workshop will be added to the Doc Next Network’s Media Collection.


The workshop will be held in collaboration with Bornova Municipality’s 4 Seasons 4 Colors Workshops and with the support of the universities in Izmir, mainly the Izmir Ekonomi University. All films made during the workshop will be showcased as part of the 4 Seasons 4 Colors Screening Event on Febuary 23rd .


For more information on the application guidelines and the online form please click here.






IDFA, here we come!

Nazli (left) and Selin (right)

Two young DIY media-makers from Turkey, Akile Nazli Kaya (31) and Selin Gunduz (21), are ready to participate IDFA 2011 next week as part of the Doc Next filmmakers group that will take part in the IDFAcademy and all related events. Nazli’s film “Ebb and Tide” is among the ten short Doc Next documentaries that will be screened at IDFA 2011 prior to the feature length films. Two other films from Turkey, “Ece’esque” (dir. Ozge Yesilcimen, Bora Balbey, Bade Selcuk, Caner Kececi) and “Dear Brother Sakir” (dir. Bahar Demirkan, Okyar Igli, Hayati Kose and Morteza Moghaddam), which were made during Youth MODE Workshops, will be screened at IDFA’s Doc Next Mini Cinema section featuring continual screenings of a selection from the Doc Next Media Collection.


Nazli is an awarded animator/director/designer working and studying in Prague. Nazli’s productions focus on important themes such as immigration, food security and personal freedom. Her biggest ambition in life is to make creative, innovative and inspiring short animated films and documentaries that address social and environmental issues. Her dream is to open an animation studio in Prague and Istanbul that will create socially and environmentally concerned ‘green’ films.” Her film in IDFA 2011 program “Ebb and Tide” is about a young woman reading from her diaries about her life in the Czech Republic while showing the life of her parents, who also temporarily immigrated to another country. As an interpretation of home videos made on S8, the film’s emotionally charged story challenges the existing imagery of Turkish people living in Europe. Nazli’s awarded animation documenaries “Zlin Soup” and “Nazli in Zlin” are also in the Doc Next Media Collection. She is currently working on a new ‘green’ film “The Seed”.


Selin is an aspiring DIY filmmaker with tremendous self-motivation. She did not attend university nor did she receive formal media education, but she pushes herself to learn more about filmmaking, screenwriting, photography and acting by attending certificate programs, workshops and seminars. Selin participated the Youth MODE Documentary Workshop in Canakkale last year and made the film “Sounds and Shadows“, also included in the Doc Next Media Collection,
with fellow workshop participants Erkan Atay, Ahmet Turan and Alper Dutkin. “To me, filmmaking is not a temporary interest. It has captured me completely. I want to build my life on it, I am saving money by working other jobs in order to make films and also to attend screenings and other film related events,” says Selin, who now works on the script for her new short film and is preparing a documentary on internet censorship in Turkey.

We wish both ladies the best of time at IDFAcademy and we are also very excited to be joining them in Amsterdam next week!

Click here to read more about the IDFAcademy participants and program.



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