GDP is an attempt to react to the global economic crisis that has hit everybody in the last two years. The National Film Board of Canada has a long tradition of social documentary but this time it has launched a very ambitious project: the country’s first bilingual web documentary, a pan-Canadian project that bears witness to the far-reaching effects of the crisis in the lives and communities of Canadian people. Until September 2010 over 200 short documentaries and photo-essays, each about four minutes in length, will combine to create a mosaic of how Canadians are experiencing this crisis. Under the direction of documentarian Hélène Choquette a team of eight field directors and eight photographers browse the country to document how Canadians cope with the crisis that is shaking convictions and lives.
Users/viewers are also encouraged to participate online with comments and photos as GDP wants to “tell the collective story of a country in transition”.
Find out more:
Read about the project
More about the NFB of Canada
I think it is remarcable that the NFB embarcs in such an ambitious project. This type of docu-web is important for several reasons:
- it shows the potential of this form: the depth and breath of docu-webs is potentially much larger than a linear documentary because it is expandable at will
- GDP involves a big team of people and shows NFB’s financial commitment to the docu-web form
- the collaborative side of the project (people are asked to participate) is potentially the best suited way to portray a nation… who else could do so, if not the people themselves?
- the topic of GDP – a nation in crisis- is not only relevant but important: could this sort of project help in energising people? Can it help to regain a positive attitude?
- social documentaries tend to take a position… while GDP is more a mosaic than anything else… what are the political and social implications of such approach?
If I am quite impress with the project itself, I have to say that I find its navigation quite confusing… One can browse by stories, maps or themes but once you start watching a video the interface is not very clear: how do you move from here? where are the stories of the same theme? How do I find my character again? How do I get out of the main map? I have been reassured though that the project is being re-designed so… hopefully those little problems will be solved soon.
My last comment is about the audience: who are the browsers of GDP and what do they get out of it? If would be very interesting to have some user feedback on this type of project because what matters here is to know how such a social topic is received and by whom… Is this just an interesting portrait of a nation or is it a social tool for involvement and change? How is it used? Does it create a debate? what is the level of involvment?
It would be great to have a comment on this by the producers of GDP….
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010