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The Big Picture: Hyperlocal at the NFB

Sean Embury and the NFB Digital Studio teamed up to develop the overall creative approach to the Hyperlocal interactive project. 

Sean Embury is a digital media guru who runs his own company, Fulscrn. He recently teamed up with us here at the National Film Board of Canada’s Digital Studio to create Hyperlocal, an exciting series of interactive projects based on stories of local change. We faced a considerable challenge: making five fully functioning interactive pieces in six weeks.  If you know anything about programming (or about making art in a government agency), you’ll understand why Sean promptly reached out to talented programmer Steve Lindenberg for help. 

There were some tense moments—but the boys got the job done on time. I caught up with them at the NFB offices in Vancouver a few days after crunch time. 

I asked Steve what he thinks the biggest challenge is in creating interactive work: 


As co-creators, Sean Embury and the NFB Digital Studio were responsible for “the big picture,” the overall creative approach to the Hyperlocal interactive project. In dealing with the work of acclaimed authors like Joseph Boyden, Miriam Toews, Will Ferguson, Lisa Moore, and Heather O’Neill, there’s some pressure to cross your creative Ts and dot your technical Is. Each story warrants careful and individual consideration, to determine the best interactive approach to take. 

Here’s what Sean had to say about the process: 


And, of course, there’s more to the Hyperlocal project universe than the five commissioned stories; there’s also the ongoing writing challenge through CBC Books - Canada Writes. 


As you heard in the clip above, Sean and Steve and the rest of the Hyperlocal team at the NFB Digital Studio are going to make one last interactive piece that will join the others on hyperlocal.nfb.ca and hyperlocal.cbc.ca. That piece could be yours—so get writing! 



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