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Friday, October 7, 2011

Innovative Interactivity (II) | Behind the scenes of “Africa to Australia” #idoc

Behind the scenes of “Africa to Australia”

Many of you may know that I am a big fan of interactive documentaries. So, when Matt Smith of SBS Online approached me about their newest interactive “Africa to Australia,” I knew that I wanted to take you behind the scenes.

Six videos and six photo stories document the stories of African refugees and immigrants living in Australia. Each is presented in a full-browser Flash interface, and deep-linked for easy access. Moreover, all content is presented in seven languages, from English and French to Dinka and Swahili.

I hope you enjoy this interview with multimedia producer Matt Smith and documentary editor John MacFarlane. Personally, I enjoyed learning how they successfully managed a team of 30 producers and how they overcame difficulties that they faced offering multiple languages.

1. Explain the rationale for doing this story – how did the idea come about and who pitched it to whom?

John MacFarlane: The evolution of this project was slightly out of the ordinary. There wasn’t a pitch, but in this case that also meant there wasn’t pressure in the early stages to focus on anything too specific – which can be a luxury.

Africa to Australia actually began as an idea tossed back and forth between SBS and Screen Australia (a national funding body) to find a home for some new and archival footage about African refugees and immigrants.

SBS had commissioned a documentary called Community Cop, about a policeman in Melbourne working with a (mostly young) African refugee community in inner-city Melbourne, and it was decided that we could film additional interviews with the key characters with the intention of creating some kind of online project around that footage. Then the project grew somewhat and we began thinking about presenting a wider spectrum of stories – most Africans in Australia have arrived quite recently, and there are some common threads and themes in their stories, as well as (of course) many unique aspects. We realised we had an opportunity to provide a deeper look into these communities.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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