View the prototypes from POV Hackathon 3 »

In this batch of nonfiction-based digital prototypes from POV Hackathon 3 (April 13-14, 2013), you’ll place yourself between two foot soldiers on opposite sides of a war-ravaged border, you’ll see how at-risk refugees might connect with lawyers using ubiquitous cell phones, you’ll trace the impact of the largest dam removal in United States history through interactive video, you’ll use your smartphone to play a public game that seeks to end homelessness, and you’ll contribute your sexual milestones to a web app that presents a nuanced view of virginity.

The prototypes were made in 32 hours, and all are now online to explore.

POV Hackathon 4 will take place from July 27 to 28, 2013, in New York City. Apply by Friday, May 31, at midnight Eastern Time.

Start viewing the prototypes from POV Hackathon 3 »

Portraits of the Enemies

Participants’ Choice Award winner

Click on the image to interact with a demo of the Portraits of the Enemies prototype developed at POV Hackathon. (This prototype is best viewed in Chrome.)

Launch the demo »

Team: Jack Kalish, Karim Ben Khelifa, Maria Rabinovich.

About the Project: Portraits of the Enemies is a web-based documentary by international photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa that juxtaposes portraits of enemy fighters.


  • HTML5
  • CSS
  • JavaScript/JQuery for video, transitions, scrolling, audio.
  • Soundjs for interactive audio.
Jack Kalish (Photo: Tina Shayevitz)

Jack Kalish is a new media artist, designer, and software developer living and working in New York City. He is interested in the convergence of art and technology as a means of exploring new ideas through engagement and immersion.

» Portfolio Website
» Follow @BusyBeingJack on Twitter

Karim Ben Khelifa

Karim Ben Khelifa is an award winning photojournalist who freelances regularly for Time Magazine, Le Monde, Stern, The New York Times, Vanity Fair and dozens of others. He is also the co-founder of He has worked in more than 80 countries and territories and has had exhibition on four continents. Karim is in 2013 the Carroll Binder Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

» Portfolio Website
» Company Website
» Follow @KBenK on Twitter
» Follow @karimbenkhelifa on Instagram

Maria Rabinovich

Maria Rabinovich is an artist and developer interested in novel experiences afforded by new communication technologies. She likes to think about how these experiences frame information and effect our relationship to our devices and each other. She loves hackathons and building rapid prototypes to experiment with ideas.

» Portfolio Website
» Follow @mariarabinovich on Twitter


Launch the demo video »
View the project on GitHub »

Team: Danny Alpert, Heidi Boisvert, Brandon Forant, Josh Klobe.

About the Project: @home is a project combining documentary film, social media and a real-world game that conveys one simple idea: homelessness can be solved and we are all part of the solution.

@home trailer »
Follow @home_campaign on Twitter »

If you would like to be a beta user, please send an email to Josh Klobe at, and he’ll send you a test flight invitation.


  • iOS SDK
  • Mapkit framework
  • AV Foundation framework
  • Adobe Photoshop and InDesign
  • After Effects
  • Final Cut Pro
Danny Alpert

Danny Alpert is the producer of @home and executive director of the Kindling Group. He is a producer, director and editor whose films have been nominated for Academy and Emmy Awards, and have aired on PBS, HBO, A&E, and at festivals around the world. His projects have been consistently accompanied by innovative and effective community engagement campaigns.

» Production Company Website
» Follow @dannyalpert on Twitter
» Follow @KindlingGroup on Twitter

Heidi Boisvert (Photo: Sam Ritter)

Heidi Boisvert is a new media artist, game designer, experimental filmmaker, writer and educator. She designed the first 3D social change game, ICED I Can End Deportation and America 2049. Heidi founded and serves as the CEO & Creative Director of futurePerfect lab. She is a PhD candidate in the Electronic Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

» Company Website
» Follow @hjboisvert on Twitter

Brandon Forant (Photo: Ryan Anderson)

Brandon Forant works at Alchemy50. Brandon is the Art Director, and is a specialist in branding, mobile, and web design.

» Company Website
» Follow @alchemy50 on Twitter

Josh Klobe (Photo: Ryan Anderson)

Josh Klobe works at Alchemy50. Josh is the Technical Director. He has been making applications for mobile devices for almost as long as there have been mobile devices.

» Company Website
» Follow @alchemy50 on Twitter

Refugee Registry

Click on the image to interact with a demo of the Refugee Registry prototype developed at POV Hackathon 3.

Launch the demo »

Team: Elise Brouwer, Sean Flynn, Cameron Hickey, Laura Scherling.

About the Project: Refugee Registry is a digital initiative that connects refugees with lawyers who can make a difference.

The List Website »
The List trailer »

While this is not a traditional project intended for a general audience, we wanted to create a platform for crowd-sourced storytelling that can translate immediately into action that benefits the refugees telling their stories. We envision future iterations of this platform would include more tools that help lawyers work with endangered refugee clients to build a compelling narrative, establishing their persecution claim and expedite resettlement.

Text PLEASE HELP to +1 573 384 3526 to initiate SMS-based registration.


  • Twilio API to enable SMS-based account creation, data collection, voice recording and calling between lawyers and refugee clients.
  • Ruby on Rails to build the application.
  • Heroku for cloud hosting.
  • Adobe Illustrator for site and flyer design.
  • CSS3 for styling.
  • Adobe Lightroom for editing photographs.
Elise Brouwer (Photo: Kasper de Weerd )

Elise Brouwer is a graduate student Culture Media & Film studies at University Utrecht in the Netherlands. She is currently an intern at Principle Pictures in Boston, and board member of a foundation in Indonesia that aims to support local nature and society. She additionally works as a volunteer director for a children’s hospital-television channel in the Netherlands.

» Elise Brouwer on LinkedIn

Sean Flynn (Photo: Kevin Belli)

Sean Flynn is a documentary producer and Director of the Points North Documentary Forum at Camden International Film Festival. Recently, Sean spent four months in India on a Fulbright developing a participatory media project. In September, he will join MIT’s Open Documentary Lab as a research assistant and Master’s candidate.

» Follow @seanflynnfilm on Twitter

Cameron Hickey

Cameron Hickey is a developer, cinematographer and producer focused on documentary and television news, primarily for PBS. Hickey shoots and produces science stories for the PBS NewsHour, and has produced, directed, shot, and/or edited for PBS, BBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera English, and WNET THIRTEEN. Hickey was a founding member of DocAgora, a doc-media thinktank focused on the intersection between documentary and interactive technology.

» Portfolio Website
» Follow on Vimeo
» Follow @cameronhickey on Twitter

Laura Scherling (Photo: Laurence Wilse-Samson)

Laura Scherling is a designer who works with print, web, and interactive mediums. Her interests include participatory culture and green education initiatives. She works in The New School’s in-house design studio (Office of Communications) and is the co-creator of GreenspaceNYC. She is writing a dissertation about placemaking and design, likes baseball, and Game of Thrones.

» Portfolio Website
» Company Website
» Follow @greenspacenyc on Twitter

Return to Elwha

Click on the image to interact with a demo of the Return to Elwha prototype developed at POV Hackathon 3. (This prototype is best viewed in Chrome.)

Launch the demo »

Team: Peggy Bustamante, Jason Jaacks, Erik Reyna.

About the Project: Return to Elwha is a web-based documentary project that follows the largest dam removal in United States history.

Return to Elwha Website »
Return to Elwha Trailer »


  • HTML5/CSS3
  • Google Maps API
  • jQuery
  • Stamen Design tools
Peggy Bustamante

Peggy Bustamante is an interactive and news apps developer at the news organization Digital First Media. She previously worked at Newsday on Long Island, where her design and development work with the Multimedia departments “A Fighting Chance” project garnered her a 2013 Emmy nomination. Always imagining new forms of visual storytelling, Peggy earned a Masters in IT/Digital Media from Harvard University.

Jason Jaacks (Photo: Sam Ritter)

Jason Jaacks is a nonfiction multimedia storyteller working at the intersection of social issues and the environment. He is currently pursuing a Masters at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

» Production Company Website
» Follow @jasonjaacks on Twitter

Erik Reyna (Photo: Lance Booth)

Erik Reyna is visual journalist who has just begun his graduate studies in New Media at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He earned his Bachelors of Journalism in Photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

» Portfolio Website
» Follow @erikreyna on Twitter

V-Card Experience Engine

Click on the image to interact with a demo of V-Card Experience Engine prototype developed at POV Hackathon 3. (This prototype is best viewed in Chrome.)

Launch the demo »
Fill out the live survey »

Team: Therese Shechter, Ellice Litwak, Cori Schattner, Steven Melendez

About the Project: V-Card Experience Engine is a digital crowd-sourced storytelling project about the myth and meaning of virginity in American culture.

How to Lose Your Virginity Website »
Follow How to Lose Your Virginity on Facebook »
Follow How to Lose Your Virginity on Tumblr »

The V-Card Experience Engine is an interactive storytelling project that empowers our audience to anonymously chart their sexual milestones. After inputting information through a playful Mad-Libs-style interface, they can access data visualizations of the information already collected from our online community. By considering a series of experiences, rather than a one-time virginity loss, the project presents a more diverse and nuanced idea of becoming sexual.


  • Django web framework to maintain and serve pages
  • Google Docs to share presentation scripts and spreadsheets of stories and tags
  • Google Forms to conduct our initial surveys
  • D3.js a JavaScript data visualization library, to create the pie chart visualizations
  • to create prototype text visualizations
  • jQuery for basic JavaScript page manipulation
  • Free services from Github and Dropbox to store source code and let the designer and developer share version-controlled files
  • Free cloud-based web hosting from Heroku to serve our webpages and database
  • jQuery for basic JavaScript page manipulation
  • R, the statistical programming environment, to generate quick initial graphs of the survey data and find interesting stories to demonstrate
Ellice Litwak (Photo: Therese Shechter)

Ellice Litwak is interested in exploring the areas between autobiography and fiction. For the last three years, she has contributed her writing, editing and research expertise to How to Lose Your Virginity. In addition to this documentary project, Ellice works for a New York-based LGBTQ Jewish organization.

Steven Melendez (Photo: Casey de Pont/WNYC)

Steven Melendez is a programmer-journalist on the data news team at WNYC. Having previously worked as a developer and reporter, he holds an MS in journalism from Northwestern University and a BA in computer science from Harvard University.

» Company Website
» Follow @smelendez on Twitter

Cori Schattner (Photo: Rochelle Schattner)

Cori Schattner is an interactive designer, product manager, strategist, and multimedia raconteur. She has executed award-winning interactive TV applications for brands including Lipton and AXE. Currently she’s responsible for architecting a supply flow for integrating eBook-based learning into K-12 classrooms.

» Follow @CoriSchattner on Twitter

Therese Shechter (Photo: Jason Webber)

Therese Shechter fuses humor-spiked, personal narrative with grassroots activism to make award-winning documentaries such as I Was A Teenage Feminist and How I Learned to Speak Turkish. Her films and writings have appeared worldwide, and she’s spoken at venues as diverse as Harvard University and Galapagos Art Space.

» Follow @trixiefilms on Twitter

The prototypes were presented in front of a public audience and a panel including Marc Weiss (Web Lab / Digital Innovations Group), Michelle Byrd (Games for Change) and Karen Helmerson (New York State Council on the Arts). Find out about future POV Hackathon screenings at

Quick links to the prototype pages:
» Portraits of the Enemies (Participants’ Choice Award winner)
» @home
» Refugee Registry
» Return to Elwha
» V-Card Experience Engine

Want to see more? View the prototypes from POV Hackathon 1 (August 2012) and POV Hackathon 2 (January 2013).

POV Hackathon 4 will be held the weekend of July 27-28 2013, in New York City. The Call for Participants is now open at

Applications are due by midnight ET on Friday, May 31, 2013.

Keep up with developments at POV Hackathon: Subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs!

Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.