On April 22, 2014 History Will Not Be Silent

“Circa 1948” Artist Stan Douglas and NFB Co-Create Postwar Era Through Immersive Art Experience
We are thrilled to announce the National Film Board of Canada has engaged Culture Shock, NY-based creative agency specializing in art and technology, as their US Agency for the third year in a row. In 2012 we crafted the launch campaign of the world premiere for Bear 71 (NFB Vancouver Digital Studio) at Sundance New Frontier, the Webby winner for best net art that was also named 2012 Site of the Year at the Favourite Website Awards, and in 2013 the breakthrough work A Journal of Insomnia (NFB Montreal Digital Studio) at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes program, both projects drawing rave reviews from national and international media.

On April 22, 2014, we will announce the premiere of the NFB Vancouver Digital Studio’s latest project, Circa 1948, an immersive interactive art experience co-created with internationally acclaimed visual artist Stan Douglas (represented by David Zwirner Gallery). This truly remarkable project is new form of art making and interactive storytelling. In the age of interactive storytelling, there is no longer the single narrative component, but rather a vast array of related strands and pieces, all of them serving to expand a story in different ways and contributing to the creation of a storyworld.

Enter the shadows of the postwar era Circa 1948, co-created by internationally renowned artist Stan Douglas (represented by David Zwirner Gallery) and produced by pioneers of artistic collaboration, the award winning National Film Board of Canada’s Digital Studio in Vancouver with Loc Dao as Executive Producer.

The Circa 1948 online portal will launch on April 22nd as an introduction to the immersive interactive 3D art app for iPad and iPhone and live event and interactive projection-mapped art installation that will debut at Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes Program in collaboration with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin. (On view April 23-26)

The Circa 1948 project kicks off at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes program with a live event featuring Stan Douglas and members of the NFB team unveiling the work. This is complemented by an interactive installation where users experience the story using their bodies as an interface. Online, a website frames the Circa 1948 story and characters, creating a unique entry point to the project. Stan Douglas is also involved in a related project, the original stage play Helen Lawrence.

Audiences from around the world are invited to use their tablets and smartphones to enter the shadows of postwar Vancouver, BC through the real-time 3D photorealistic environment and discover two vibrant communities struggling through a time of unforgiving change. Circa 1948 takes Stan Douglas’ widely acclaimed, historically-based recombinant storytelling a step beyond. In the end, the user will walk away enlightened as to the extent to which the troubles of the past are similar to those of the present, and enchanted by the detailed and thorough artistic renderings.  “The artist’s momentous choice to use gaming technology for his latest piece results in “an incredible mixture of artistry and technical innovation,” according to NFB Executive Producer Loc Dao.

Circa 1948 incorporates interrelated narratives, platforms, stories, and interpretations capable of reaching many different audiences. The expansive artistic universe of this multi-level interactive experience asks its audience members to put aside their traditional notions of linear narrative.   Instead, the experience is a slower, self-guided technique capable of drawing a more accurate and nuanced picture of the world, architecture painstakingly researched by Douglas for historical accuracy.

By pushing the limits of 3D rendering on the tablet, using binaural sound with touch and gyroscope-driven navigation modes, and running it all on an independent, Canadian-made, open-source rendering engine to control what is essentially an art experience, it’s safe to say that Circa 1948 distinguishes itself as a truly groundbreaking hybrid work opening the genre of digital interactive experiences to new audiences.

Though firmly rooted in the past, Circa 1948 ties economic recession to urban planning, and police corruption to the black market economy—relevant considerations in any age.

A leader in audiovisual storytelling advances, the National Film Board of Canada has established itself as one of the world’s most acclaimed digital content hubs, creating trailblazing interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences that to date have won more than 100 awards, including seven Webbys.

About the NFB Digital Studios

A leader in audiovisual storytelling advances, the NFB has established itself as one of the world’s most acclaimed digital content hubs, creating trailblazing interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences that to date have won more than 100 awards, including seven Webbys.The NFB began a sweeping digital transformation back in 2006: changing the way it created and worked, and forging a new connection with audiences.

In 2009, it established two digital production studios devoted to advancing the art of digital storytelling.The NFB’s English Program Digital Studio is based in Vancouver, with Loc Dao as executive producer, while its French Program counterpart is headquartered in Montreal, headed by Hugues Sweeney. Together, they have already produced over 50 pioneering works.

The NFB’s Digital Studio in Vancouver, producer of Circa 1948, is home to many of the NFB’s most acclaimed interactive works, including two-time Webby Award winner Welcome to Pine Point and Bear 71, the Webby winner for best net art that was also named 2012 Site of the Year at the Favourite Website Awards.

Since 2009, the NFB’s multi-year, multimedia documentary project HIGHRISE, created by KaterinaCizek and produced by Gerry Flahive, has offered audiences an innovative look at life inside residential highrises around the world, with a series of projects that between them have garnered some of the interactive world’s highest honours: the inaugural IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling, an International Digital Emmy Award, the first-ever award for Best Original Program for Digital Media, Non-Fiction, at the Canadian Screen Awards, and more.

The NFB’s Montreal Digital Studio has developed such breakthrough works as A Journal of Insomnia, an interactive doc that invites hundreds of insomnia sufferers to share their experiences, which debuted at prestigious Tribeca Film Festival and drew rave reviews from the New York media, as well as BLA BLA, a Webby-winning interactive animated “film for computer” that also received the SXSW Interactive Art Award.

The NFB has also launched a growing family of acclaimed apps, including its new stop-motion animation application for iPad, StopMo Studio, as well as its iPad app McLaren’s Workshop, which made the App Store’s Best of 2013 list and was named Best in Canadian Culture at the Digi Awards.

With a film collection of 13,000 titles, the NFB library is an audiovisual legacy for Canada and the world—one that the NFB is now digitizing to make available to Canadians everywhere via its NFB.ca screening room and apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.