Honkytonk and 31Septembre introduce interactive documentary

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'Journey to the end of Coal' by Honkytonk and 31Septembre

‘Journey to the end of Coal’ by Honkytonk and 31Septembre

Two French multimedia companies, Honkytonk and 31Septembre, recently developed “Journey to the end of Coal,” an interactive Web documentary set in China. I absolutely love the innovation of this piece, and how they utilized the choose-your-own-adventure interactivity to customize each user’s experience. This interaction is truly the difference between a TV and web documentary, and it is definitely worth your time to get some inspiration from this innovative presentation.

Honkytonk believes in the interactive power of the Web, as shown on their homepage: “We think the internet constitutes a place to develop new narrative formats, where interactivity can help build great stories and involve our audience like never before.”

For more information on the project, read this insert from their project page:

“Journey To The End Of Coal tells you the story of a sacrifice. A sacrifice millions of Chinese coal miners are making everyday, risking their lives and spoiling their land to satisfy their own country’s appetite for economic growth.

Your journey begins in Datong which is located just a couple hours away West from Beijing. You travel from there all around the region and visit its major coal mines, from the “best” state-owned complex to the worst private coal plants.

In and around the coal mines, you get the story first hand from the mingong, the rural migrants traveling their country looking for work.

At your own pace and will, you meet them and learn more about how they live in this valley of death and pollution, sometimes even literally bumping into them as they leave their home for their night shift, in the frozen winter of Northern China.

Ultimately, you might discover China forbidden mines in which happen most of the accidents.

Based on the interactive story telling format “FIRST PERSONS”, conceived by Abel Ségrétin, Grégoire Basdevant and Arnaud Dressen.

First released on French news portal lemonde.fr with 1.5 million page views and counting.”

WOW. 1.5 million page views?! Obviously they are doing something right here …

Interactive producers at 31Septembre added on their site that the Web documentary was built with Flash and Flex. I would LOVE to see the back-end to figure out how they programmed it to run so smoothly. Excellent job to everyone involved!

[Hat tip to Zach Wise for bringing this piece to my attention.]

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