The Angola Project

Click on the image to interact with the The Angola Project prototype, developed at POV Hackathon.

Launch the demo »
View the source code »

Team: Jeremy Xido, Vivian Tse, Brian Chirls.

About the Project: Civil war destroyed Angola’s Benguela railway, which opened the African interior to commerce in the 1920s. Now it’s being rebuilt by Chinese workers. A filmmaker has traveled the route and is sharing his personal connections in an interactive documentary.


  • HTML5 video: All of our video assets are rendered in hidden HTML video elements. Compared to Flash and hosted video platforms (e.g. YouTube), HTML5 video allows fine-grained seeking and time reporting and post-processing with a Javascript canvas API. Because we encode and host the videos ourselves, we can choose the best resolution and bit rate for our specific application.
  • WebGL – Seriously.js and Three.js: WebGL allows extremely fast graphics processing with GPU hardware via a JavaScript API, and Seriously.js and Three.js are high-level libraries that simplify WebGL for specific purposes. Seriously.js is a real-time video post-processing tool that we use for color transition and the “video painting” effect. We use Three.js to create the 3D navigation space.
  • GitHub: We used GitHub to host both our code and the live version of the site with all media assets.
  • Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro : We used FCP7 and Premiere Pro to edit both video and audio content used in the basic narrative sections of the project.
  • Adobe After Effects: We used After Effects to build a 3×3 grid to be used on rotating cubes of imagery and video used in the wonder chamber portion of the experience.

Photo: Arin Crumley

Brian Chirls (Technologist) Brian Chirls is creative developer based in New York, known for a range of online innovations, first with the groundbreaking film Four Eyed Monsters, and continuing with interactive stories and video for the web.

» Personal site and blog
» @bchirls
» Brian Chirls on Github


Photo: Steve Cordova

Steve Cordova (Technologist) is a second year graduate student in the ITP Program at NYU. He is currently working on physical computing projects with Arduino microcontrollers and continuing to further study human-computer interaction (HCI). He recently installed a magnet in his finger and built a wearable device that allows people to feel color.


Photo: Chris Doss

Vivian Tse (Media Maker) began her career working with Oscar-nominated producer Mark Gordon on a variety of films including Emmy-nominated And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, as well as with Julie Taymor on Golden Globe-nominated Across The Universe. She moved on to produce for National Geographic and program for the Tribeca Film Festival. Her short film Preamble was awarded the Silver Lei Award at the Honolulu Film Festival in 2009. Her feature script Joe Boy was selected for the 2013 Nantucket Screenwriter’s Colony.


Photo: Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

Originally from Detroit, Jeremy Xido (Media Maker) graduated cum laude from Columbia University in NYC and trained at the Actor’s Studio. A Fulbright grant took him to Europe where he was co-director of the Award winning film and performance group, CABULA6. Known as a performance artist with a unique artistic voice and approach to stage and film, blending emotionally gripping personal stories with the larger social contexts within which they emerge. Xido directed the film Death Metal Angola, among others. He lives in Harlem.


Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.