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Visit Postwar Vancouver in Tribeca Film Festival’s transmedia storyworld Circa 1948

by on April 23, 2014
Circa 1948 interactive iOS app

Circa 1948 interactive iOS app

Step back into time through a new transmedia storyworld called Circa 1948, debuted yesterday at the Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes, open to the public today and available for free on the iTunes App Store. Users can step into the shadows of the postwar era in Vancouver through Circa 1948, a groundbreaking and immersive interactive storyworld co-created by the National Film Board of Canada‘s award-winning Digital Studio in Vancouver and internationally acclaimed artist Stan Douglas. This expansive artistic universe premieres worldwide in three interactive formats: a 3D art app for iPad and iPhone, online, and a live event—a projection-mapped installation that will be featured in the Storyscapes section of New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival. 

Circa 1948 Storyworld

A scene from the Circa 1948 Storyworld

Circa 1948 is a bold extension of Stan Douglas’s historically based recombinant storytelling into the interactive world. The experimental nature of Circa 1948 is an attempt to evolve a new visual and narrative language, with the project making use of emerging technologies to offer multiple entry points into an imagined world, created using photorealistic 3D illustrations based on Douglas’s extensive historical research. The Circa 1948 app takes audiences on a nonlinear journey of discovery through two vibrant communities struggling in a time of unforgiving change: an old hotel in Vancouver’s affluent West Side, then squatted by homeless war veterans, or the muddy streets of ethnically diverse Hogan’s Alley in the working-class East Side, populated by racial minorities, gamblers, prostitutes and corrupt police officers. 

Produced by the NFB, Circa 1948 is one of only five projects selected from around the world for the Tribeca Film Festival’s second annual Storyscapes program, created in collaboration with BOMBAY SAPHIRE® Gin, and is eligible for the prestigious BOMBAY SAPHIRE Award for Transmedia. This multi-platform transmedia program recognizes interactive, web-based or cross-platform approaches to story creation. The public is invited to live the Circa 1948 experience from April 23 to 26 at the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination at 121 Varick Street in Soho. The public may register to attend at Tribecafilm.com/storyscapes.com. 

Quick Facts

•    By pushing the limits of 3D rendering on the tablet, using binaural sound with touch and gyroscope-driven navigation modes, and running it all on an independent, Canadian-made, open-source rendering engine to control what is essentially an art experience, Circa 1948 distinguishes itself as a truly groundbreaking work. 
•    The online site creates an entry point to the project and serves as a primer to a unique storytelling experience of gentrification and power in post war Vancouver. 
•    The interactive installation at the Tribeca Film Festival allows Storyscapes audiences to literally step into the past and experience this immersive virtual reality on a larger scale. The live launch event will feature Stan Douglas and members of the NFB team unveiling the work. 
•     Circa 1948 was co-created by Douglas and Loc Dao, Executive Producer/Creative Technologist for the NFB. Other key NFB team members include producers Selwyn Jacob and Dana Dansereau and project director Kelly Richard Fennig. 

Circa 1948 for iPad and iPhone is available free from the iTunes App Store.


  1. […] Step back into time through a new transmedia storyworld called Circa 1948, debuted yesterday at the Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes, open to the public today and available on iTunes App Store for free.  […]