NFB makes Malting Silos story interactive for Hyperlocal

Melissa Bull's story has been adapted as an interactive piece by the NFB's Digital Studio as part of an online collection of neighborhood stories.

Melissa Bull’s In The Shadow of the Canada Malting Silos is getting an interactive adaptation of her story by the NFB’s Digital Studio.

Bull, the winner of the CBC Books – Canada Writes Hyperlocal Storytelling Challenge, was among 450 entries and 37 finalists submitted to the challenge.

Hyperlocal is a joint venture from the CBC and the NFB, calling on Canadians to tell their stories about what it was like to grow up in their neighbourhoods.

The challenge is for writers to notice the little visual details that that reveal a lot about the communities they live in. The stories are then turned into interactive visual collages that accompanied the stories narrated by the authors.

Five stories were commissioned by the CBC from notable Canadian writers to be both posted in text form and adapted into interactive productions by the NFB, with Bull’s story selected as the sixth.

Jennifer Moss of the National Film Board’s Digital Studio and Sean Embury of Vancouver-based digital agency Fulscrn worked together to turn the stories into a visual and interactive pieces.

In the behind-the-scenes story of how Bull’s project was made, Moss describes using photographs of the silos to tell Bull’s tale of her childhood hangouts.

Listeners are invited to click and drag over photos of the neighbourhood while listening to Bull describe Saint Henri as a “place overgrown with abandoned lots… where in the warmer months, wildflowers burst sunny and redolent over the stink of tar and exhaust from the spaghetti highways.”

The interactive and visual stories were put together in six weeks and are featured on an interactive map on the CBC website.

In the Shadow of the Canada Malting Silos joins Joseph Boyden’s Building Something (James Bay), Will Ferguson’s Garrison Woods (Calgary), Lisa Moore’s Traffic ( St. John’s), Heather O’Neill’s The Red Light District ( Montreal) and Miriam Toew’s My Hometown (Steinbach, Manitoba).

The jury panel choosing the winner consisted of CBC’s Ian Hanomansing, author Lisa Moore, winner of Canada Reads 2013: Turf Wars, and the NFB Digital Studio’s Jeremy Mendes.