Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Powerful multimedia to illuminate the past

Posted in Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook on January 27, 2010

65 years ago today, Russian scouts entered the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau near Krakow in Poland, and one of the darkest chapters in human history came to an end.

These days the end of the Holocaust is remembered with events around the world; this year multimedia is playing a big role in reminding a new generation about what happened. The Media Guardian reports on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust‘s web 2.0 efforts, including a Facebook group and Twitter feed.

They’ve also commissioned a pretty extraordinary film. Anyone who’s met me in person may know about my personal pet project to reinvent how history is done for mass audiences. So much is dry and formulaic about the offerings of the mainstream TV networks I could be here all day talking about.

But telling stories from the past isn’t easy, which is why these cliches exist: depending on what period you’re talking about, many of your subjects will be dead; you are left with GVs, archive photographs and grainy footage…and at worst beardy talking head historians: the Times New Roman of interviewees.

I’m excited the internet & multimedia provide the potential for new styles, new stories and new audiences, and even more excited the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust have invested in that with this film.

OK, it’s narrated by Harry Potter, and OK, it is 10 minutes long…but it is beautifully shot, elevated by strong characters, amazing stories and a haunting soundtrack. And just wait until you see what they’ve done in After Effects (you’ll know when you see it). It’s good to see history being illuminated with innovative storytelling.

At the time of writing, it’s only had 552 views in 5 months which is a crying shame; it’s something the people at Chocolate Films should be very proud of.

4 Responses

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  1. […] Powerful multimedia to illuminate the past […]

  2. 23monkeys said, on January 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    A superb doc. Really very very powerful and should be seen by everyone as a reminder.

  3. Charis Budd said, on February 6, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Valuable data and excellent style you got here! I would like to many thanks for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! Thumbs up


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