Downloads: Media Release

For Immediate Release – POV (Point of View), PBS’s award-winning independent documentary series celebrating its 25th anniversary, is challenging five teams of filmmakers and developers to “hack” their films during POV’s Hackathon, a two-day workshop taking place Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 11-12, 2012 in Brooklyn, N.Y. The event offers an opportunity for filmmakers with digital visions to work with developers and designers to create finished interactive prototypes–be they mobile sites, web apps, widgets, games or something we’ve never seen before–for the Web.

The five projects are Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys, a documentary about Finnish reindeer herders; Living Los Sures, which examines a changing neighborhood in Brooklyn; StoryCorps, the Peabody Award-winning oral-history project; Feed Me a Story, which uses food as a starting point to discover Americans’ shared experiences; and Op-Video, which tackles the day’s issues with handmade animation and opinion–but without the screaming pundits.

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“We’re thrilled to have such a talented group of individuals participating in POV’s first Hackathon,” said Adnaan Wasey, director of POV Digital. “We hope to nurture creative relationships that will push the boundaries of documentary storytelling.”

POV’s Hackathon schedule and projects follow. Journalists interested in attending and covering a Hackathon project: Please write to 

Saturday, Aug. 11

10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Hacking

Sunday, Aug. 12

11 a.m. – 6 p.m.: Hacking
6 – 7 p.m.: Break
7 – 8:30 p.m.: Screening

Hackathon Projects:

1.     Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys

Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys is a feature-length documentary that follows a year in the life of a family of reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland. Equal parts story, game and educational study guide, the film unfolds over the course of a year in the Arctic. It is a study of hard work, hard-earned leisure and an intricate bond between man and nature. The complementary online component will expand the reach and depth of the project, bringing each participant face-to-face with the unique challenges of herding reindeer. Utilizing video, photos, maps and infographics for their Web component, the filmmakers aim to show that the struggles herders face are the struggles of traditional, agrarian communities around the world.

Filmmaker: Jessica Oreck
Jessica Oreck’s first feature documentary, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, was released theatrically and aired on PBS’s Independent Lens. She is currently in production on two new feature documentaries. Mysteries of Vernacular, her series of animated shorts, is now playing at the IFC Center in New York City.


Mike Knowlton
A digital veteran of 20 years, Mike Knowlton is a recognized leader in the transmedia community in New York City. He co-founded the nonprofit, immersive storytelling community StoryCode. He has also founded and led a number of technology companies, including digital agency BASIK and interactive film company Murmur.

Hal Siegel
Hal Siegel’s work represents a unique blend of storytelling, visual design, interaction design and usability. As a creative director at BASIK, he leads the development of Internet initiatives for arts and cultural organizations. He recently co-founded the interactive film company Murmur.

 2.     Living Los Sures

Living Los Sures is a collaboratively produced, interactive documentary that explores the legacy of urban poverty on the increasingly trendy south side of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. It seeks not only to capture a diverse collection of important and unusual stories from the neighborhood, but also to create new shared histories and relationships among neighbors. For POV’s Hackathon, the Living Los Sures team will develop simple, shifting navigational features that work creatively with video assets and start to build a testing environment for artists in the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio.


Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen is founder of UnionDocs and an initiator of numerous experiments in documentary and interactive media. His individual works and collaborative productions have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the Volksbühne theater, Direktorenhaus in Berlin, Independent Film Week, and at Sonár, DIVA and the Conflux Festival.

Andre Almeida
Andre Almeida is a media theorist, filmmaker and Ph.D. candidate currently writing his dissertation on interactive documentary. He is affiliated with UnionDocs and the University of Porto and has been exploring the boundaries of nonfiction through linear features, including From New York With Love, and interactive projects.


Danny Bowman
Danny Bowman is a recent Bay Area transplant to New York City. He worked previously as a front-end software engineer at a social gaming startup in San Francisco and as a program manager and internal tools developer at Google.

Kyle Warren
After completing a degree in computer science, Kyle Warren engineered the nonprofit site for the 2008 election. He has recently worked on such products as Words with Friends, Timehop and projectOPEN, while finding time to cultivate his interest in software as art.

3.     Op-Video

An Op-Video is a short-form, freely embeddable, mixed-media essay that features experts, writers and doers, as well as hand-drawn animation and original music, about current public affairs. As ever-quickening news cycles create an echo chamber centered on a never-ending “horse-race,” Op-Videos invite the viewer into a more thoughtful and inventive space to learn about the important public issues of our time.


Joe Posner
Joe Posner works at the intersection of documentary film, motion design and music. His work as a mixed-media director has appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast and APM: Marketplace, and he has contributed motion design to several documentary feature films.


Lam Thuy Vo
Lam Thuy Vo is a multi-platform journalist currently producing infographics, videos and animations for The Wall Street Journal and NPR’s Planet Money. She is an instructor in multimedia and data journalism and has spoken at conferences and universities around the world.

4.     Feed Me a Story

Feed Me a Story is a transmedia project that encourages the sharing of secret family recipes in a documentary-style food truck, video cookbook and Web application. The filmmakers seek to break down socio-cultural barriers through intergenerational storytelling. As people answer such questions as “What is your favorite childhood food?” and “What food is important to your cultural experience?” the project explores what it means to be American. Feed Me a Story was performed on Ellis Island as part of its first artist-in-residence program.


Theresa Loong
Theresa Loong is a filmmaker and interactive media professional whose work has been exhibited worldwide. She directed the documentary Every Day Is a Holiday and has produced digital media projects with AMC Networks, and Food & Wine magazine. A Harvard graduate, she has lectured at New York University and The New School. 

Laura Nova
Laura Nova is an artist and associate professor in creative art and technology at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. She received Lower Manhattan Cultural Council funding to create The Crescendo Project, an interactive praise-singing machine. She holds a master of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was a Rotary scholar at Goldsmiths College.


Lauren Hasson
Lauren Hasson is an iOS developer with a degree in electrical engineering, computer science and economics from Duke University. She is a graduate of Leadership Texas and is co-chair of the Dallas chapter of Women in Wireless. She currently develops iOS apps at Bottle Rocket Apps in Dallas, which she describes as “the greatest place to work on Earth.” 

5.     StoryCorps Audio Slideshows

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization that provides people of all backgrounds with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives. StoryCorps produces audio segments weekly for NPR and since 2010 has turned a selection of stories into Emmy Award®-nominated animations for POV and the Web. So, what’s next? At POV’s Hackathon, StoryCorps will begin work on a new Web platform to complement its distinctive audio style.


Michael Garofalo
Michael Garofalo is senior producer for StoryCorps, where he leads the production team. He has had a hand in nearly all of StoryCorps’ content, including producing segments for NPR’s Morning Edition and the StoryCorps podcast and co-producing animated shorts on POV.

Isaac Kestenbaum
Isaac Kestenbaum is the production manager for StoryCorps. He previously worked as a reporter for the Portland Press Herald and logged many hours as an erstwhile farmer and lobsterman. He is a graduate of Vassar College and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.


Antonio Kaplan
Antonio Kaplan is the CEO of Innovent and creator of the Transmedia Toolbox. Leveraging decades of experience in online video and media, he co-founded Innovent to help media creators use technological innovation to realize their creative and commercial goals.

About POV

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 25th season on PBS in 2012, the award-winning POV is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. POV has brought more than 325 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV’s Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. Visit

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the desJardins/Blachman Fund and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

POV Digital (

POV’s award-winning website extends the life of our films online with interactive features, interviews, updates, video and educational content, as well as listings for television broadcasts, community screenings and films available online. The POV Blog is a gathering place for documentary fans and filmmakers to discuss films and get the latest news.

POV Communications: 212-989-7425. Emergency contact: 206-790-8697; Cathy Fisher,; Amanda Nguyen,

POV online pressroom:

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POV Pressroom
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.