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Using mobile apps to extend a documentary

Last month, I blogged about the Longform storytelling in a short attention span world panel discussion. One item which still has me pondering today came from PBS documentary maker, Raney Aronson-Rath, who mentioned the future of documentaries is in extending them in digital media. Since then, I’ve been wondering how. What would be the best way to extend a documentary without interrupting the narrative?

Then I came across this beautiful idea, Under The City. It’s a documentary about Montreal’s lost rivers (long story short: rivers were dried up to make way for urban development). And of course, in this day and age, a film is complemented with a website. But my attention got perked when I saw that an accompanying iPhone app is currently in the making.

There used to be a river where I am now walking

The app will allow users to explore Montreal’s lost rivers via geo location and storytelling.

I think this is a fascinating way to continue the documentary long after the closing credits. With their smartphones, viewers will be able to experience the content as they go about their business in the city. And it’s a fun, interesting way to learn about an invisible history of your city.

One Comment

  1. MelMillette
    MelMillette April, 2011

    Mobile dialogue with viewers – who become part of the experiment! Great use of mobile app, I agree! :-)

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