Re-open a 1970s murder case through a “serialized, true-crime narrative” by swiping your mobile device; Pick a date when you lost a loved one to explore "real-time conversations" about joy and sadness; Do a “Google News search” to find out what African American men are saying about that topic; Discover the deeper meanings of “gender representations of emotion” in your favorite movies.

Since 2012, POV has brought together visionary filmmakers and inventive technologists to “re-imagine the documentary for web” in a single weekend. The eighth edition of our non-fiction lab, POV Hackathon has concluded… Now, spend some time exploring what four teams of hackers — most of whom had never met before participating — created in just one weekend at the Made in New York Media Center by IFP in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Find out more about the POV Hackathon process and future calls for participants »

Start viewing the prototypes from POV Hackathon 8 »

Hello, Fat Larry

Participants’ Choice Award winner
Hello, Fat Larry

Hello, Fat Larry on a mobile device

View the prototype »
Note: This prototype must be viewed on a mobile device

Team: Mark Harris, Mike Knowlton, Alix Lambert, Scott Macaulay

About the Project: A “fast storytelling” app for mobile devices, Hello, Fat Larry is a serialized true-crime narrative about murdered ’70s filmmaker Jon Pownall. Users navigate the stories of witnesses and suspects using intuitive swipe gestures. The app creates a data visualization of aggregated responses, prompting online fan communities to continue the investigation.


  • AngularJS is a structural framework for dynamic web apps. The team used it to as a JS templating language to extend HTML’s syntax to express the minimum viable product’s components clearly and succinctly. Angular has helpful data binding and dependency injection which streamlines code and performance
  • The team used Google Docs as a dead simple CMS solution for the MVP. With Google Spreadsheets, they created a basic CMS to ingest content into the app via JSON. This meant they could spend more cycles on the Front-End/User Experience aspects of the MVP
  • The MVP is built extensively with JavaScript to handle all animations, user interactions, and data loading
  • jQuery was used mainly for DOM manipulation
  • The team used a number of CSS3 effects for animating elements, transitions, and loaders
  • HTML5 created the mobile web-app. For the full implementation of Hello, Fat Larry the team will consider either an HTML Hybrid Mobile App or a Mobile Native App implementation
  • GreenSock is an amazing Javascript library that helps create, optimize, and manage complex animations
  • Photoshop, Illustrator, Quicktime were used for all graphic design, production, video and animation production
  • The team relied heavily on GitHub for ticketing, task management, code source control, and extensive inside jokes

Mark Harris

Mark Harris specializes in creating technology platforms focusing on performance and scalability. Mark was a creative technologist on Lance Weiler’s “Pandemic 1.0” at Sundance. He writes software for gameplay, storytelling, and transmedia. As a writer/director, he created The Lost Children, a combined feature film and live immersive experience.

» Murmurco
» Pandemic 1.0
» The Lost Children

Mike Knowlton

A digital veteran of 20 years, Mike Knowlton has always pushed the boundaries of storytelling and technology. He is the co-founder of the immersive storytelling community StoryCode — which programs immersive media case study presentations, workshops and Story Hackathons — creating a vibrant cross-discipline community of innovative creators.

» Murmurco
» StoryCode

Alix Lambert

Alix Lambert is the director and producer of three feature documentaries, The Mark of Cain, Bayou Blue, and Mentor. She wrote for the HBO shows “Deadwood” and “John from Cincinnati”, and directed shorts for MOCA tv, “Crime: The Animated Series” and “Ambiance Man”. Alix is also the author of Crime and The Silencing.

» Pink Ghetto Productions

Scott Macaulay

Scott Macaulay is a film producer and co-president of production company Forensic Films with his partner Robin O’Hara. Scott’s producing and executive producing credits include Gummo, Raising Victor Vargas, and Off the Black. He is also the editor of Filmmaker Magazine and was formerly Programming Director of The Kitchen.

» Forensic Films on Twitter

All This Time

A still from the All This Time prototype

View the prototype »
View the source code »

Team: Femi King, Simon Lindsay, Emily Pakulski, Angela Tucker

About the Project: This project gathers data points and real-time conversations on the web to create a video that explores the often painful and ironic juxtapositions between joy and sadness when one experiences a loss.


    Collaborative tools:

  • GitHub for sharing code
  • Slack for team chat
  • Google Drive for sharing copy

  • The backbone of the prototype is a Flask app calling functions from several smaller Python modules. The team used Python scripts to populate the database
  • MongoDB is used for storing tweets and links for the client side
  • BeautifulSoup Python library BeautifulSoup to parse HTML.

  • Twitter for tweet data
  • Giphy for gifs that we used for the dynamically changing background
  • Google Fonts for fonts used in the UI

  • HTML/JavaScript/CSS for general design work
  • React.js as UI framework
  • CSS3 animation
  • Theater.js typewriter effect on the UI
  • SASS for preprocessing CSS
  • CommonJS and webpack for compiling and minifying code.

Femi King

Photo: POV

Femi King is a software developer and hackathon enthusiast. He formerly worked as a medical engineering researcher.

» Femi King on GitHub

Simon Lindsay
Photo: POV

Simon Lindsay is a Creative Developer from New Zealand living in New York. He’s worked in the industry for over nine years with developers, designers, producers and art directors in agency environments at companies such as Resn, Fantasy Interactive, Firstborn and Ustwo. Lindsay has been nominated for and received awards from The FWA, Pixel Awards, Awwwards and SXSW.

» Simon Lindsay on Twitter

Emily Pakulski
Photo: Emily Pakulski

Emily Pakulski is a Computer Science student at Columbia University interested in hard problems and learning about back end challenges, especially those concerning scalability. In her coursework, she’s hoping to dive into distributed systems and databases later this year while continuing to work on thought-provoking projects outside of class.


Angela Tucker

Angela Tucker is a filmmaker based in New Orleans. Her work includes “Black Folk Don’t” — a web series featured in Time Magazine’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life” — and (A)SEXUAL, a feature length documentary about people who experience no sexual attraction.

» Angela on Twitter
» Black Folk Dont
» (A)sexual trailer

Represent & Redefine Headlines

Represent & Redefine Headlines

A still from the Represent & Redefine Headlines prototype

View the prototype »

Team: Chris Heuberger, Mario Morales, Guoqiang Pan, Bayeté Ross Smith, Will Sylvester, Hank Willis Thomas

About the Project: A tool that pulls out key words in video transcriptions from the transmedia project Question Bridge and matches them with top Google news stories to highlight and facilitate conversations.


  • Vanilla HTML5, no libraries used
  • CSS3 to style the page.

Chris Heuberger

Chris Heuberger is a web developer, UI/UX designer, and data visualization expert building on eight years of experience as a graphic designer. With an expertise in communicating complex information and a knack for problem solving, Chris is all about that connection between development and design.

» Chris on Twitter

Mario Morales

Mario Morales is a Statistician and Bioinformatician currently researching the exploratory analysis of public datasets available on the internet. Morales focuses on the development of new methods in data science, statistics and machine learning to improve society without ethical or privacy violations, as well as the development of Bioinformatic pipelines, methods and models at large scale.


Guoquiang Pan

Guoqiang Pan is an IBM Cognos Consultant at Widex Inc., SAP Consultant at Forum Consulting and a SAS Consultant at Deloitte. He has participated in many hack­­­ons, including SalesForce Summer of Hacks, Time Inc. Hackathon, Create a Better NYU Hackathon, Combating Domestic Violence Hackathon and more.

» Guoqiang on Twitter

Bayaté Ross Smith
Photo: Hank Willis Thomas

Bayet´ Ross Smith is a multimedia artist, photographer, and educator. He teaches at NYU and the International Center of Photography. His work has been shown with the Brooklyn Museum, the Oakland Museum, TEDx MidAtlantic, Sundance Film Festival, Sheffield Doc Fest, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

» An interview with Bayet´ Ross Smith
» Bayeté on YouTube

Will Sylvester
Photo: Bayet´ Ross Smith

Will Sylvester works at the intersection of art and technology and has an extensive background ranging from e-commerce and commercial photography to video art and film editing. He currently works on projects with Question Bridge: Black Males, the Cause Collective, and Hank Willis Thomas Studios.

» ?
» Will on Twitter

Hank Willis Thomas
Photo: Andrea Blanch

Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He has exhibited at museums and galleries across the country and abroad. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City and Goodman Gallery in South Africa.

» ?
» Cause Collective
» Hank Willis Thomas on Instagram
» Question Bridge

There’s No Crying in Baseball

There's No Crying in Baseball

Click on the image to interact with the There’s No Crying Baseball prototype

View the prototype »
Note: This prototype is best viewed in Chrome

Team: Eva Chu, Irena Rindos, Shirley Yu

About the Project: An interactive visual essay discussing gendered representations of emotion in media, There’s No Crying is Baseball is an attempt to bring works normally confined to the walls of academia to a wider audience.


  • Sketch for creating mockups and layouts, graphics
  • Illustrator for vector graphics retouching
  • Handbrake to extract DVD clips
  • Google Drive for storing and sharing files, writing and storyboarding
  • Photoshop to create graphics
  • Premiere Media Encoder, Quicktime, Final Cutfor working audio and video
  • as an editor for writing web pages
  • CSS3 to keyframe animations
  • Wow.js provided an easy way to implement scroll based events
  • Animate.css was a useful library of predefined CSS animations
  • Popcorn.js to trigger events based on the video timeline

Eva Chu
Photo: Aslan Malik

Eva Chu is interested in human-computer interaction. Her background is in advertising and marketing, and she is now pursuing a career in User Experience design with the goal of working on projects that improve people’s lives through technology and design.


Irena Rindos
Photo: Arin Crumley

Irena Rindos is a software engineer with interest in graphics, visual computing and gaming. She earned her Masters in Computer Science at North Carolina State University and her MFA in Digital Production Arts from Clemson University.

Shirley Yu
Photo: Jessica Vetter

Shirley Yu is interested in using technology to make visual essays that are educational, yet fun and accessible. She has a MFA in 3D computer graphics from Clemson University and her BFA in film from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

» Shirley on Twitter
» Blog


POV Hackathon mentors play a critical role in providing feedback, project management, therapeutic counselling… whatever is needed at any time to help the teams get their prototypes presentation-ready over the course of the weekend. At POV Hackathon 8, six mentors shared their expertise with the teams, and we can’t thank them enough for their time and for sharing their wisdom.

Gary Chan is a hackathon enthusiast, participating at over 40 hackathons. He loves how technology can broaden the ways we can tell and visualize stories. Currently, Gary is the Product Lead at Oz Content. Tip: Good start would be to check out the cool web effects at

» Gary on

Brian Chirls is creative developer based in New York, currently working on experimental interactive documentary technology as Knight Technology Fellow at POV. He has developed innovative models for interaction, data visualization and content-authoring in virtual reality and has researched design patterns and tools for interactive video. Brian’s work with POV will have been presented at CPH:DOX, IDFA DocLab, SXSW and Tribeca Film Institute.

» Brian on Twitter
» Brian on GitHub
» Brian on POV’s blog

Heidi H. Hamelin is a leader, producer, solver, maker, mover, and shaker. As a multimedia entertainment executive, she has produced documentaries, reality TV, experiential campaigns, and scripted films. She is a founding member of an integrated agency for gamers, a concept lab for creative ideation, and a networking event for carnivores. Technology is her muse. Personal narratives are her passion.

» Heidi on Twitter
» The Gamer Agency

Shayla Harris is an award-winning Senior Video Producer at The New York Times who oversees and commissions mini-docs and series for the web. Before that, she was a senior video journalist at the Times who produced, shot and edited local, national and international stories. She started as a producer and field producer on documentaries for Dateline NBC. Over her career, she has earned a News Emmy for her work on Life, Interrupted, a documentary series about a young woman with cancer, as well as a Digital National Magazine Award, two George Foster Peabody Awards, two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, several Emmy nominations and an Overseas Press Club Award among others. In addition, she has taught at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

A native of Montreal, Beth Janson most recently served as Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Institute. During her tenure, the organization more than doubled in size and capacity for filmmaker support. Beth is passionate about effective philanthropy and storytelling craft that expands beyond traditional dimensions. Under her direction TFI forged new pathways for the support of interactive, multi-platform and participatory artists. In partnership with the Ford Foundation, Beth conceived of and developed the TFI New Media Fund, the first-ever US-based fund for non-linear non-fiction stories that activate audiences around issues of contemporary social justice and equality.


J Dakota Powell is the Producing Artistic Director of LoNyLa, a transatlantic collective that explores the intersection of art/performance and technology, and TimeWave. As the former head of Entertainment for <kpe> Europe in London, Powell developed multiplatform digital entertainment (featured in Time Magazine Europe). Powell holds a BA from Yale and a MPS from NYU ITP.

» LoNyLa
» Time Wave Festival


The prototypes were presented to a public audience and judges who represent a cross-section of the documentary and technology industries. POV Hackathon 8’s judges were: Shayla Harris (The New York Times), Simon Kilmurry (POV), Eva Kozanecka (The Museum Of Modern Art?) and Susan Meiselas (Magnum Foundation).


Thanks to Made in New York Media Center by IFP for hosting POV Hackathon 8!

About the Made in New York Media Center by IFP:
A unique collaboration between the Made in NY business initiative, celebrating entrepreneurial innovation and content creation in New York City, and the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, the Made in New York Media Center is a new kind of co-working space and exhibition venue designed to connect and incubate the next generation of artists and creators.

If you missed any of them, here are links for quick access to the POV Hackathon 8 prototypes:

» Hello, Fat Larry (Participants’ Choice Award winner)
» All This Time
» Represent & Redefine Headlines
» There’s No Crying in Baseball

Want to see more? View the prototypes from past POV Hackathons at »

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.