For Antenna’s first documentary hackathon, which took place during the Antenna festival, five teams of filmmakers, designers and web technologists came together to work on prototypes for interactive documentary storytelling projects. Hunkering down at incredible venue Hub Sydney over two days, the teams got cracking with developing, breaking apart and reworking their prototypes, ably assisted by the following experienced mentors: Renae Mason, UX/digital strategist & producer; Jonathan Richards, Creative Lead at Google Creative Lab; Matt Smith, interactive designer & developer at SBS; and Ingrid Kopp, Director of Interactive Programs at Tribeca Film Institute.

A big thank you to the mentors, and also our expert panelists, who provided feedback in the final pitch session. The panellists were: Ben Cooper, Group Innovation Director at M&C Saatchi; Ryan Harrington, Vice President of Artist Programs, Tribeca Film Institute; Mary-Ellen Mullane, Investment Development Manager at Screen Australia; and Chris Godfrey, visual effects supremo.

Thanks to Tribeca Hacks for their invaluable assistance and input with developing the hackathon, and to our fabulous sponsors: Screen Australia, Screen NSW, Hub Australia and the American Embassy.

 The Alchemy Project

The Alchemy Project is a multiplatform, transmedia short documentary film series about extraordinary Australians who turn awful into awesome. Life has its ups and its downs. The ups are great, but there are some folk who take the downs and turn them into something better; like a brilliant new idea, a 360º career change or a brand new passion. They’re the Alchemists of Adversity. Episode 1 is ‘Ballsy’; The story of 32 yr old Bondi-surfing, ad executive Ben, who lost a testicle and grew some balls. Series 1 (in development) tells the stories of six inspiring Australians who embarked on the adventure from awful to awesome, found a formula and returned with pure gold. At the core of The Alchemy Project are the short documentary films and their ‘orbital’ extra features, e.g. a Q&A with each Alchemist about their formula and a timeline of their awful to awesome story. The immersive Alchemy storyworld, however, comes to life with rich, interactive experiences: the rest of the Alchemy website (including a space where a global network of everyday Alchemists swap tips, get inspired and upload their own stories); the Alchemy app; e-book; album and series of talks.

Hackathon team:
Director, producer, designer: Sinéad McDevitt (@sinead_mcdevitt)
Web developer: Tiger Brown

 Booby Trap
Booby Trap Bingo is a distinctive multi-platform experience that brings into play everything that we love about bingo, but with an irreverent breastfeeding twist. The web experience pivots around the breastfeeding journey of five central characters of varied age and background: Kelly, Zoe, Lisa, Tamara and Vanessa. The primary online interface is an interactive bingo card that depicts the most common obstacles (booby traps) encountered by new mothers when breastfeeding. Users step into the shoes of each mother and explore her story by playing the game and interacting with a bingo card that provides a visual snapshot of her main ‘booby traps’. Each trap has associated content that can be unlocked by playing the game. Weaving together observational documentary, arresting photo-essays, expert opinion and interactive tools, this character-led content provides users with insights into how each ‘booby trap’ can disrupt the normal biological process of a mother feeding her baby. Combined with an evolving ‘living survey’ of user-generated stories curated around each ‘booby trap’, the project is designed to create an urgently needed paradigm shift around what is considered ‘normal’ when it comes to breastfeeding. At the end of the game players can continue the conversation by sharing their stories on social media; by hosting their own Booby Trap Bingo live event or by igniting social change through the Bosom Buddies impact campaign.
Hackathon team:
Creators: Anna Kaplan and Britt Arthur
With tech support from hackathon mentor Matt Smith

What would it be like to live in a gas field? The rush to exploit coal seam gas has seen vast stretches of farmland and bush turned into industrialised gas fields. A journey through ‘Fracklands’ will put you in the shoes of the people living the CSG life. Following the gas pipeline across QLD we’ll enter the world of the farmers, families and town-dwellers whose homes and communities are surrounded by the thousands of wells now producing gas in QLD. By entering your postcode you can virtually re-assemble the CSG infrastructure from a real life situation into your backyard offering both a sense of scale and a far more jarring image of the gas industries’ intrusion into the land and lives of ordinary citizens. After you’ve seen the stories and lived the experience you can then choose to become part of the resistance movement by virtually declaring your house ‘gas fields free’. You’ll be able to track the growth of the resistance against the growth of the industry and from there the level of engagement is up to you – sign a petition, join a local group, share the stories, switch to a fossil-free super scheme or host a screening of the film ‘Frackman’.
Hackathon team:
Storytellers: Kate Hodges and Richard Todd
Digital producer: John Macfarlane
Technologist: Jack Zhao

This web series is a comedy of errors about young Tasmanian farming couple Eliza and Guy. Over 8 episodes we follow them as they try to build a rare breed, free range farm without going broke. Guy and Eliza invite you to have a go at running their farm, through an interactive game that is incorporated into the series. Maybe you can do a better job? In each episode, Guy and Eliza tackle a different challenge. Whether it’s testing out their new pig fat soap giftware range or trying to get into the lucrative romance industry with pig farm weddings – they are willing to try almost anything to make their dreams work. Audience members can sign up to run their own virtual farm, where alongside the weekly episode release they will be challenged to make a range of choices as virtual farmers – some will be ethical, some will be economical, some will be emotional. As virtual farmers they can compete both against Guy and Eliza as well as other virtual farmers throughout the 8 weeks.
Hackathon team:
Filmmaker: Bronwyn Purvis
UX Designer: Jack Hsu
Project Manager: John Lau

Hacks Image2
When our lives are threatened, human instinct compels us to do whatever we can to survive. But what happens next? Cup Half Full is a transmedia narrative, built from diverse, intimate stories told by women and men, attempting to navigate life, sexuality and relationships after cancer. Curated by a young woman who is about to find out if she has inherited the breast cancer gene, this interactive audio conversation and feature documentary film will shed light on the importance of sexuality for relationships,
identity and quality of life, around a subject that can often be very difficult to talk about. Each character tells their story in real time through delicate confessionals, and audience members will also be able to contribute by creating audio replies, as though each story were a conversation, a sharing of experiences and of intimate secrets.
Hackathon team:
Writer/Director: Jessica Hamilton
Technologist: Graham Meintjes


The Antenna Documentary Hackathon is made possible thanks to the support of the following sponsors: