POV Hackathon 2 is getting underway this weekend. In a series of blog posts, we’re introducing you to the participating filmmakers, developers and designers.
Faith in the Five Boroughs documents the role that faith and religious communities play in the lives of immigrants and their children.
The Hackathon team includes filmmakers Matt Ozug and Scott Elliott, designer Tim Stegner and developer Tim Nabzdyk.
Matt Ozug has reported for public radio from Pakistan to South Sudan. In 2003, he helped launch the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps project. He is a co-recipient of a Knight Foundation grant for reporting on religion and American public life and a co-founder of Faith in the Five Boroughs.
Scott Elliott’s first feature documentary, Slumming It: Myth and Culture on the Bowery aired on PBS in 2005. His latest documentary, Into the Gyre, has won numerous awards at international film festivals. He is currently in production on The Trees, about the World Trade Center Memorial.
Our production team has created a website for Faith in the Five Boroughs, but we are not digital natives — our backgrounds are in public radio and television. We have created a website where video shorts about faith and the immigrant experience in New York can be watched individually, but where the stories are also in conversation with one another. This Hackathon is a chance to think about how to most effectively present that conversation, to highlight connections and differences among stories, and to encourage users to participate in the conversation in creative ways.
The aim of the project is to not only document but also map the religious diversity of New York City. Currently, each video we produce is posted on an OpenStreetMap. We hope to come out of the Hackathon with a new concept for this mapping – one that both presents these individual stories in an effective way, but also tells a wider story about the connections between these religious communities, and presents an overall picture about immigration and faith in New York. We’re also aware that the concept of ‘mapping’ or tracking houses of worship is potentially fraught and carries some serious and legitimate concerns post 9/11. One of our chief challenges through the Hackathon will be to engage around the question of how to create a product that feels transparent, respectful and where users are encouraged — and excited! — to post their own material. How do we create a site that is open, while ensuring a respectful tone when discussing two topics prone to defamatory comments: religion and immigration?
Tim Stegner is UI/UX designer at the University at Buffalo. Most recently he’s led the design of both the university’s enterprise-wide website templating system and their newly launched mobile apps. He also doubles as brand manager and production designer for Torn Space Theater, Buffalo’s premier avant-garde theater company.
I’m a big fan of public television, documentary filmmaking and film in general. Combining the fixed nature of documentation with the fluidity of dynamic online content seems like a great challenge and a lot of fun. As a designer and developer I’m well aware that good experiences can only come from good content. Working with a filmmaker means that we’re already starting with solid material. Development and implementation are what are going to make that good content a great experience. Also, most of my work has been for larger organizations. Working with a filmmaker gives me the opportunity to focus on realizing a more singular vision rather than an institutional one.
Tim Nabzdyk is a front-end developer and information architect at the University at Buffalo. He has worked as the digital media coordinator at Buffalo’s NPR Station, WBFO, and is currently engineering an online collaborative platform for the classification of evolved psychological adaptions, psychtable.org.
I’m excited by the focused energy and talent that the Hackathon brings together with the added pressures of producing a viable product within a given time constraint. I’ve often found that these types of pressures, in combination with adapting to the dynamics of group, define a process and tangible result that’s specific to that timeframe and location. I’m interested in exploring what can be produced at the boundaries of the time constraint.
As a developer, I really just want to test the limits of what I’m able to produce in the limited time frame. In working with the filmmakers, I’m hoping to pick up a few techniques on how to communicate temporal information through a single viewpoint while maintaining interactivity with the content.