A program of short stories that would never have existed without the internet.
This multimedia collage is a morale booster for the residents of McDowell County, who keep hope alive in their shrinking region.
One in three American towns is dying, with more people leaving than coming. McDowell County in the eastern inland of West Virginia is just such a place. It’s population peaked in the 1950s at around 100,000, but a poor economic outlook means that it has fallen to just a little over 22,000. Who are the “last of the Mohicans,” why do they stay in McDowell, and how do they maintain a sense of community in this shrinking region? Making limited but effective use of interactivity, this web documentary introduces us 30 to residents with a surprising faith in the future. There are citizens here who run a food bank, gym or literacy training center, while another records the area’s natural beauty for posterity. They talk passionately about their enthusiasm for their declining hometown. Elaine McMillion transformed the portraits into a multimedia collage containing an impressive wealth of material. There are video interviews, photographs, data visualizations, quotes and moody dramatic soundscapes. Scroll along and they pass before you like pictures on a roll of film. It is McMillion’s morale booster for the people of McDowell, who are doing their utmost hope alive.
IDFA DocLab is the New Media program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Since 2007, the program showcases new forms of documentary storytelling and interactive media art, both online and offline. During the IDFA Festival in November, DocLab presents a competition program for Digital Documentary Storytelling, live cinema events, interactive installations, workshops and industry panels. The program is open to all media that can be used to tell a documentary story.