The Hotlist: June 2015
A Guide to the Web’s Most Cutting Edge New Media Content

Compiled by Elliot Feldman

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The Hotspot 
The Hotspot highlights Web content created by writers working under a WGA contract. 


Emma Approved is a Web series inspired by the Jane Austen character in the classic novel Emma. Joanna Sotomura plays Emma Woodhouse in the guise of a modern lifestyle adviser giving tips in a video advice column. It is produced by Pemberly Digital, the same team that created the popular Lizzie Bennett Diaries YouTube series. Emma Approved is offered as a cross-media production via YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Illusion Magazine
Illusion Magazine is an online nonprofit arts and film zine created by Canadian poet, illustrator, and web designer Adrianna De Barros. The zine's inventive multimedia content consists mostly of optical illusions and trick photographs contributed by artists from around the world. This three-time Webby Award winning zine can be experienced on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.


John Lennon - The Bermuda Tapes
John Lennon - The Bermuda Tapes is an interactive album app available via the iTunes store. It is the story of John Lennon's "life-changing journey sailing through a mid-Atlantic storm to Bermuda in June 1980." It was this journey that led to his collaboration with wife Yoko Ono on the Double Fantasy album. The application was produced by digital developers I/O and eyeball. It consists of demo tapes recorded in Bermuda and audio interviews with John and Yoko as interpreted through 3D illustrations.

Circa 1948
Circa 1948 was created by the Vancouver-based National Film Board of Canada Digital Studio and installation artist Stan Douglas. This app for iOS devices examines two distinct Vancouver neighborhoods, the wealthy West End and the vice-ridden East side, during the post-World War II years. The app includes historic archive photos and neighborhood maps as interpreted via an explorable 3D virtual world.

Video sharing app Vine allows users to record and edit tiny looping videos up to six seconds long. This app is accessible to iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. French entrepreneur Jerome Jarre is one of the most popular Vine "stars."


In Limbo
In Limbo is an interactive film directed by Antoine Viviani. It's a co-production of the National Film Board of Canada and German-French media group In Limbo explores individual user relationships with digital and social media by creating a visual representation of each In Limbo user's digital footprint. A warning: the Web site asks each user for access to their social media accounts, their physical location, and their computer's webcam. Notable digital media professionals have participated in this multimedia experiment, including computer industry pioneer Gordon Bell, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle and Google Director of Technology Ray Kurzweil.

Five Minutes is multimedia hybrid that's both a multimedia game and a branded interactive film. It began as a zombie video game created by two German university students Felix FaiBt and Maximillian Niemann. In the game story, players help rescue a victim of a zombie attack. The quality of the game then attracted the interest of high-tech company CASIO, known for their heavy duty G-Shock watches. CASIO brought in multimedia production company Unit9, who then helped expand the game by adding more game elements plus an interactive film extolling CASIO's G-Shock products.

Murat is a beautifully rendered interactive graphic novel presented as a story jigsaw puzzle that users can piece together. It was created by MOTIV, a design collective from the Czech Republic.

WE THE ECONOMY is a multiplatform documentary produced by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions and documentarian Morgan Spurlock's Cinelan. It's subtitled "20 Short Films You Can't Afford to Miss." Each film is 5-8 minutes long. They are a mix of animation, non-fiction documentaries, and scripted drama and comedy. Notable film directors include Adam McKay, actor Adrian Grenier, and film director Catherine Hardwicke. The 20 short films are linked together as a tutorial for the average American on how the American and world economy works. A group of top economic experts have worked as content supervisors. WE THE ECONOMY is available on platforms that include iOS and Android devices, YouTube, CNBC, Twitter, Facebook, Hulu, Netflix and Vimeo.


War Ink
WAR INK is subtitled "See their ink. Hear their stories." Sponsored by the Contra Costa County Library (CA), this interactive documentary's goal is for libraries to share the stories of 24 returning military combat veterans. Their tattoos are used as a documentation of their stories. WAR INK is divided into four chapters: "We were you," "Changed Forever," "Living Scars," and "Living Not Surviving." The project is the brainchild of former Army medic and military sociologist Jason Deitch and Contra Costa County Library senior manager Chris Brown. Note: to navigate the site and experience the full audio and videos, scroll down using keyboard arrows.

Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum
The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum Web site is an online virtual walk through what remains of the 16 blocks of the Riga Jewish ghetto as it exists today, using Google's Street View technology; and coupled with World War II era archival video as it existed then along with interviews of six Riga ghetto Holocaust survivors. The project is co-sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation and the Riga Museum. It was developed and spearheaded (pro-bono) by Cory McLeod from Olson, a Minneapolis-based digital media agency.

Gaza Sderot
Subtitled "life in spite of everything," Gaza Sderot is an interactive project telling stories of six residents of neighboring border cities: Palestinian-populated Gaza and Israeli-populated Sderot. While Gaza residents suffer daily under an Israeli border blockade, Sderot residents suffer as targets of constant Palestinian rocket fire. The project is co-sponsored by French-German television production company, Israeli production company Alma Films, and a Palestinian team from Ramattan Studios. Site visitors can experience audio and video content through a clickable map of the region and a clickable grid of interviewee faces.


Bulger on Trial | WBUR
Boston PBS station WBUR has used the Creativist digital storytelling platform to present a biography of famous Boston Irish gangster Whitey Bulger, using archival photos, documents and videos. The project was led by WBUR senior innovation producer Lisa Tobin.

We Are Angry
We Are Angry is a multimedia project created by India-based multimedia writer and former Reuters journalist Lyndee Prickitt and produced by Digital Fables. We Are Angry was inspired by a gang rape in New Delhi that became a high profile news story worldwide. Prickitt tells the story using clickable hypertext, news video, photos, and animation. She intersperses and expands the news story "with additional vignettes from a (Indian) society grappling over its treatment of women, from the police to the parents, from the doctors to the politicians."

BOOM - North America's Explosive Oil-By-Rail Problem
BOOM - North America's Explosive Oil-By-Rail Problem is a long-form journalism multimedia article that's part of the Weather Channel Web site. Pulitzer Prize-winning Inside Climate News journalist Marcus Stern and Sebastian Jones are the authors. Project sponsors also include the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund. The multimedia in the piece includes photos as well as documentary videos produced by Greg Gilderman.

The WGAW encourages New Media projects to respect content creators through Guild contracts. If you’re working in New Media and would like information on getting your project covered, contact Shelagh Wagener or call (323) 782-4511.

Elliot Feldman's novel, Sitting Shiva, was published in 2003 -- ISBN: 0964374064. And check out his comics at Scene4 Magazine - WARNING: Not for the easily offended.