Multimedia documentaries to engage audiences in new ways

Media Releases · Digital · 15th December 2015

Audiences who enjoy documentaries are being invited to experience a more interactive way of factual story-telling with four new online interactive projects funded by NZ On Air.

NZ On Air is constantly looking for new ways to engage audiences. The multimedia funding agency recently sought ideas from documentary-makers for innovative ways to engage viewers using online platforms and tools to layer or extend information beyond a linear story.

 The first of four projects chosen for funding aims to give Christchurch residents a different way of participating in their city’s recovery. How A City Rises, produced by Gerard Smyth, will ask participants how they would build Christchurch, what decisions they would make, and how they would balance priorities. Following six mini documentaries viewers will engage with the key issues still facing Christchurch and are asked to interact with the content by making decisions about projects and priorities.

Understanding the lives of refugees in New Zealand through the examples of former refugee women will be the subject of Together We Make A Nation. Produced by Sandra Clark, the documentary will tell their individual stories, from fleeing their former countries, to their new lives in this country, where they experience highs and lows as they adapt. Viewers will be able to connect with these women’s stories through an interactive, multi-layered format.

Poi360, produced by Hinewehi Mohi, Lanita Ririnui Ryan and Amomai Pihama, is a project that will showcase the timeless poi. A responsive site, which incorporates immersive 360 3D virtual reality performance, will entertain and inform about poi songs and choreography, showing viewers the poi is more than a ball on a piece of string.

Conversations With Young Mums, produced by Vicky Pope, seeks to defy the stereotypes of young mums by humanising the teenagers’ stories and allowing an intimate window into their complex lives. Their stories are told through a combination of photographic portraits, personal quotes and video.

“There’s growing demand for content viewers can actively engage with rather than just passively watching. Interactive documentary is a growing media form, and one we think offers real potential for complex stories,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

The producers of the successful projects have a track record in television production and have partnered with digital agencies or producers to develop creative new ways of storytelling. The projects will stream on various platforms.

Funding details

Conversations With Young Mums, POP Film, $175,000

How A City Rises, Frank Film, $174,956

POI360, Through The Fire, $175,000

Together We Make A Nation, Story Inc, $176,860