The National Film Board Measures "Human Side of the Canadian Economic Crisis" with Web documentary

As the global economy recovers from its most severe downturn since the Great Depression, the National Film Board of Canada is documenting how Canadians are experiencing the crisis and its aftermath with its first bilingual web-documentary GDP: Measuring the Human Side of the Canadian Economic Crisis

Jointly produced by the NFB’s English and French programs, the ambitious one-year pilot project was launched in September 2009 and now features nine hours of online visual content - over 138 short films and photo-essays that document the "Great Recession" as it plays out in different communities and sectors across Canada. From BC’s embattled logging towns to Bay Street, from a Quebec family farm to an inner city high-rise, takes the pulse of a nation as it comes to terms with a crisis that has shaken the very foundations of the global economy. During these first six months, GDP has gone to the heart of Canadians’ concerns, documenting their everyday struggles and sharing their hopes and passions.

To date, there have been over 200,000 viewings of GDP - on the English and French versions of, at the NFB’s online Screening Room as well as on iPhone app platforms.

Produced by Marie-Claude Dupont, the project is directed by Hélène Choquette (The Refugees of the Blue Planet, Avenue Zero) with the participation of over 30 gifted filmmakers and photographers across Canada - a remarkable creative team that’s giving vibrant form to this new documentary genre. The project captures the real-time experiences of a diverse cross-section of Canadian society, through more than a dozen episodic film series, hearing from an unemployed autoworker in Oshawa, Filipino guest-workers in Alberta, a Newfoundland couple in the midst of a midlife career shift and others. Complementing the films are beautifully crafted photo-essays, incisive snapshots of Canada’s recession experience, featuring such compelling subjects as a Windsor mom fighting to keep her boy safe from the psychological fallout, and Bevan Jones, brother of convicted Montreal fraudster Earl Jones. The project features an interactive map displaying films, photo-essays and comments from across Canada, and is also complemented by a Google map of participating Canadian communities.

"Our visitors constitute a vital part of the GDP project," says Dupont. "We already have 4,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks - and many have been contributing their own material to the site, enriching the overall interactive experience. By the time we wrap up in September 2010, the GDP project will feature over 200 original films and photo-essays, along with hundreds of user comments - and will constitute an invaluable audiovisual document of a pivotal chapter in our collective experience."

 [May 7, 2010]

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