Lately, we’ve been pondering the full range of documentary projects. From a storytelling standpoint, “Hell and Back Again” represents one end of the spectrum. The film, which won the documentary award at Sundance this year, tracks a soldier through combat, injury and back home to North Carolina. Watch the brief trailer and see a gallery of filmmaker Danfung Dennis’ powerful images from the movie.
A more experimental approach to delivering documentary, “HIGHRISE” is a multi-city, multi-year project recording “the human experience in global vertical suburbs.” Under the direction of documentarian Katerina Cizek, “HIGHRISE” uses layered images to recreate 360-degree views of participants’ living spaces, and offers audio of them talking about life in apartments and projects from Beruit to Phnom Penh and Chicago to Havana. Viewers can scroll through people or places, and click on rooms in a virtual highrise to find the apartment of a real person somewhere in the world. See the trailer or visit the site.
Even simple talking-head video posted by Amnesty International on the 25th anniversary of disgraced ruler Jean-Claude Duvalier’s 1986 flight from Haiti underlines the power of the human voice in storytelling. Since Duvalier recently returned home, it’s worth noting video’s instantaneous ability to remind viewers of just what life was like prior to his departure (via @PulitzerCenter).
And on the lighter (and interactive) side, “The Johnny Cash Project” is a crowdsourced tribute to the Man in Black – or, as the project’s site calls it, a “global collective art project.” Working within a framework of images and using a tool on the site, participants create their own portraits of Cash, which will eventually be included in a music video (via @MediaStorm).