Downloads: Press Release

Join a ’70s encounter group through a graphic novel; Visit the secret Cold War “nuclear city” buried under ice in Greenland; Learn about a Guatemalan dictator’s trial; See how an 1893 terrorist act in Chicago collides with a 2023 climate-induced cataclysm; Explore the mystery of dark matter.

View and download photos from POV Hackathon 7 »

POV (Point of View), PBS’ award-winning independent documentary series, played matchmaker to filmmakers and digital developers in its seventh nonfiction media lab POV Hackathon the weekend of November 8-9, 2014. POV Hackathon 7, which took place at the Center for Social Innovation in New York City, challenged five teams to “hack” documentary films and create innovative digital prototypes. From bringing a Cold War nuclear research lab in Greenland to life to exploring dark matter and the Big Bang with some of science’s greatest minds to inviting visitors to become part of a graphic novel, the resulting projects offered arresting visuals, deep research material and creative new applications.

The POV Hackathon 7 projects are Anatomy of a Trial; Axion; Camp Century; Chicago Ghosts; and The Dandelion King. Explore the prototypes on the POV blog.

Watch a demo of The Dandelion King prototype

At the end of the weekend, the prototypes were presented to the public and a panel of judges for critiques and Q&A’s. The Participants’ Choice Award for best prototype was given to The Dandelion King, based on a graphic novel by Heide Solbrig about the culture and politics she grew up with in the ’70s.

The judges: Aina Abiodun, co-founder of StoryCode; Liz Cook, film community manager at Kickstarter; and Bjarke Myrthu, founder and CEO of Blind Spot.

The mentors: Sean Flynn, research assistant at the MIT Open Documentary Lab; Will Kreth, director of metadata management at Showtime Networks Inc.; multimedia director/producer Theresa Loong of Local Projects; and Andres Cortes, co-founder of neuplot.

POV Hackathon is a weekend laboratory that since 2012 has provided matchmaking and mentorship for visionary nonfiction media makers and inventive technologists as they create prototypes that re-invent the documentary for the web. Fast Company called POV Hackathon one of 2014’s “most anticipated events.” Visit the POV Hackathon pressroom. Twitter: #povhackathon.

“This POV Hackathon was a wild ride–nerve-wracking, surprising and inspiring,” said Adnaan Wasey, POV Digital’s executive producer. “Not only did teams start from scratch to create something real on an impossible deadline, but they also had to sell it to an audience an hour after they thought they were done! Even though the lab is fundamentally about experimentation, more than half of all but the most recent POV Hackathon projects have gone from prototype to product. That wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous creativity and tenacity of the kinds of hackers who’ve joined us to push the boundaries of documentary storytelling.”

About the POV Hackathon 7 Projects:

Anatomy of a Trial

An interactive web documentary about the 2013 genocide trial of Efrain Ríos Montt in Guatemala opens the doors of the courtroom to lawyers, human rights activist and students. Anatomy of a Trial allows users to explore each side’s legal strategy and tactics and deeply examine the historical, political and cultural context of the internationally unprecedented case. Participants: Nora Christiani, Zack Dinerstein, Blake Hunsicker, Peter Kinoy, Meka Montanez


Axion is an interactive documentary about dark energy and dark matter, and a meditative exploration of the scientific method and the human instinct to explore our place in the universe. The project encourages viewers to immerse themselves in a seamless narrative experience while tailoring the video for personal learning styles and science backgrounds. Participants: Jacob Baskin, Steven Melendez, Jason Wishnow

Camp Century

Climate change and new discoveries of oil in the Arctic bring up old strategic conflicts in one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. But as the ice melts, something more sinister is being exposed, and vestiges of a military legacy come, quite literally, to the surface. Based on work by Nicole Paglia. Participants: Anrick Bregman, Brian Chirls, Luigi De Rosa

Chicago Ghosts

What happens when a Chicago neighborhood is not only the scene of the 1893 murder of Mayor Carter Harrison, but also nature’s triumph over man’s technological hubris in 2023? Chicago Ghosts explores the stories we share through great expanses of time and small expanses of space that connect us through the past and the present. Participants: Andrew Ritchie, D Schmüdde, Ziv Schneider

The Dandelion King

Participants’ Choice Award winner The Dandelion King is a companion mobile application to the graphic novel of the same name by Heide Solbrig. The project allows readers to access audio and video related to the book and participate in a series of interactive, multiplayer “encounters” themed around a moment in each of the book’s chapters. Participants: John Benton, Amos Latteier, Colin Rothfels, Heide Solbrig

About POV Digital
Since 1994, POV Digital has driven new storytelling initiatives and interactive production for POV. The department created PBS’s first program website and its first web-based documentary (POV’s Borders) and has won major awards, including a Webby Award (and six nominations) and an Online News Association Award. POV Digital continues to explore the future of independent nonfiction media through its digital productions and the POV Hackathon lab, where media makers and technologists collaborate to re-invent storytelling forms.

About POV
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and now in its 27th season on PBS, 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 365 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide. POV films have won every major film and broadcasting award, including 33 Emmys, 17 George Foster Peabody Awards, 10 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards® and the Prix Italia. 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, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Bertha Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, The Educational Foundation of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, and public television viewers. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

About the Centre for Social Innovation
The Centre for Social Innovation is a coworking space, community, and launchpad for people who are changing the world, with three locations in Toronto and a location in New York City. We provide our members with the tools they need to accelerate their success and amplify their impact. Together, we’re building a movement of nonprofits, for-profits, entrepreneurs, artists, and activists working across sectors from farming to finance and everything in between. We’re catalyzing new ideas for a better world. Find out more

POV Communications: 212-989-7425.
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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.