“Documentaries are no longer confined by conventional linear narratives,” said Adnaan Wasey, executive producer of POV Digital. “By leveraging digital technology, we are able to elevate nonfiction content into a creative art form to connect with more audiences and tell stories on an entirely new level. And the short interactive documentary format gives creators more room for experimentation as this nascent field develops.”
In addition to premiering the projects online, POV will also present three of the projects at the New York Film Festival’s Convergence program (Sept. 27-28, 2014).
The projects are as follows:
“89 Steps: A Chapter of Living Los Sures”
In the late 1950s, Marta’s mother found refuge for her family in Williamsburg after leaving her village in Puerto Rico and enduring homelessness and hunger elsewhere in New York. When Marta became a single mother, she fought hard to stay in Los Sures. Now struggling to afford the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, Marta must decide whether to stay or go. “89 Steps” is an interactive experience that visits Los Sures. As the viewer explores, Marta’s voiceover reacts, providing guidance, descriptions and anecdotes. The project offers a deeper understanding of the pressures and incentives that force individuals to give up their homes and longstanding communities.
Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill’s acclaimed documentary project “Empire” is an investigation into the aftershocks of the first global capitalist endeavor. In the 17th century, the colonists and mercenaries of the Dutch East and West India Companies laid claim to lands stretching from the Cape of Good Hope to the Indonesian archipelago, and from New York to South America’s Wild Coast. The impact of their actions can still be seen in the cultures—and bloodlines—of people and communities in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. “Empire” tells the stories of individuals and communities whose lives are still in some way defined by Dutch colonialism. It is now available online as a series of four interactive experiences: Cradle, Legacy, Migrants and Periphery.
Set three years after the calamitous meltdown, “Fukushima: The Eternal Season” creates an impassioned portrait of a resident as she strives to hold on to her identity and ancestral heritage while the specter of nuclear fallout looms over her. By showing the beauty and loss in Fukushima, the short film brings into focus the potentially destructive power of nuclear energy and the choices people are forced to make. “Fukushima: The Eternal Season” is one chapter in a four‐part feature‐length documentary project with the working title “Unknown Spring Year 3.”
“Immigrant Nation” is a new interactive storytelling project designed to document the United States’ diverse immigrant narratives and experiences and share them with the world. Through short documentary films, live events and an online Story Hub, the project aspires to shift and deepen the way that Americans understand themselves – and one another – one story at a time.
“The Most Northern Place”
“The Most Northern Place” tells of a clash of cultures and a conflict about territory during the run‐up to the Cold War, which led to the forced relocation of the Inuit population native to the town of Thule by the U.S. Army, circa 1953. Visitors to the website take small steps to explore an empty village and its surrounding landscape; it is a place that is devoid of people, a beautiful but unforgiving environment. The viewer discovers what happened in Thule step‐by‐step through the memories of the people who lived there, all those years ago.
“Whiteness Project: Inside the Caucasian Box” (View on 9/29)
We take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be white? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? What privileges are exclusive to Caucasians? This last question is the subject of “Whiteness Project: Inside the White Caucasian Box,” an interactive look at how white people process their perceived advantages or disadvantages. The project is created from interviews shot in Buffalo, N.Y. that represent a cross‐section of the city’s white population. An interactive graphic component uses demographic information to reveal how participants’ perceptions line up with the realities of their community.
Find out more about the projects here.