1 Year Long Global Competition
365 Site Of The Day Winners
12 Site Of The Month Finalists
58 International Judges
2 Rounds of voting
1 Site Of The Year Winner

The FWA Site Of The Year 2012, winner:

Bear 71

Description: Multi-user, multiplatform story world. Interactive Documenatry about the intersection of animals, humans and technology. Features Mia Kirshner, Radiohead and Atlas Sound.

Credits (full credits below): National Film Board of Canada (http://www.nfb.ca/interactive); Jam3 (http://www.jam3.com/); Aubyn Freybe-Smith (http://www.sometimes.ca/).

Full credits -

Creators: Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison
Bear 71 Voice: Mia Kirshner
Producers: Loc Dao, Bonnie Thompson, Dana Dansereau, Rob McLaughlin
Executive Producers: Loc Dao, Rob McLaughlin, David Christensen
Writer: JB MacKinnon
Editor: Jennifer Moss

Interactive Agency: Jam3
Interactive Creative Director: Jeremy Mendes, Pablo Vio
Interactive Technical Director: Mark McQuillan
Interactive Producer: Media Ridha
Interactive Art Director: Jeremy Mendes
Interactive Developers: Mikko Haapoja, Sunil John, Matt Fisher, Tom Dysinski

Design: Aubyn Freybe-Smith, Cole Sullivan
Sound Designer: Joshua Stevenson
Video Editor: Bill Hardman and Hart Snider
Music Consultant: Jonathan Orr
Wordmark Design: Patrick Johnson
Social Story Design/Installation Co-Creator: Lance Weiler

Marketing: JS Defoy, Moira Keigher
Publicist: Jennifer Mair
Associate Creative Technologist: Vincent McCurley
Project Manager: Vanessa Fukuyama
Production Manager: Janine Steele
Centre Administrator: Darin Clausen
Production Coordinator: Faye Yoneda, Ginette D'Silva, Teri Snelgrove, Jennifer Roworth

Trail camera images provided by: Parks Canada, Alberta Provincial Parks, and Montana State University.
Stills Photography provided by: Graeme Pole/Mountain Vision
Additional footage by: Alex Taylor and Leanne Allison

The Creators would like to thank: Steve Michel, Colleen Campbell, Jesse Whittington, Tony Clevenger, Nikki Heim, Adam Ford, Melanie Percy, Zoe Dao-Kroeker, Shari Frilot at Sundance, Caspar Sonnen at IDFA, Hugues Sweeney, Monique Simard

Reactions from winner:

"It's awesome, exhilarating and humbling to be honoured by our peers. We're excited to see this new form of storytelling we call interactive documentary celebrated in this way.  We're especially happy that the subject matter of the doc - i.e. our technology driven disconnect from nature and our natural instincts -- is being recognized. It was our realization of this disconnect in our own lives and the emotion and power of Bear 71's story that inspired this project. 

This project was the result of a unique multi-disciplinary collaboration between Interactive Storyteller and Art Director Jeremy Mendes, Filmmaker Leanne Allison, Producer and creative technologist Loc Dao, Pablo Vio and his team of interactive creatives and technologists at Jam3, Designer Aubyn Freybe-Smith, Producer Bonnie Thompson, creative technologist Dana Dansereau, writer James Mackinnon, actor Mia Kirshner, sound designer Joshua Stevenson, music programmer Jonathan Orr and the team at the NFB Digital Studio.  

It would not have been possible without the support and vision of the head of the NFB Tom Perlmutter, the head of English Programming Cindy Witten and Executive Producers Loc Dao, Rob McLaughlin, David Christensen. Thank you
." - The National Film Board of Canada

"The amazing thing of being part of such a unique project is seeing the journey evolve into something so emotional; none of us could have predicted the response it would eventually receive when we first cracked the whiteboard. Composing the story of Bear 71 with the technology mediums we got to create was the highlight of the year for everyone at Jam3." -  Pablo Vio - Creative Director, Jam3

"It was a wonderful thing to sink into Bear71's world and have her moving story fuel design. And it gets even more wonderful, considering the competition, to have FWA recognize the project in such a tremendous way. Thank you!" -  Aubyn Freybe-Smith, Designer

A few words from FWA Founder, Rob Ford

“In a year when we have seen so much experimental work, so many agencies and clients focused on just trying to be cool with mobile, I was delighted to see a real idea and a powerful story win this year's Site Of The Year. Without a doubt, Bear 71 was the most captivating and thought-proviking experience of 2012, executed with perfection for our digital consumption, and a very worthy winner of our ultimate yearly title.” - Rob Ford

FWA judge’s comments:

Tom Daly, The Coca-Cola Company:

"The team behind 'Bear 71' put interactive story telling at the new edge of how we should imagine things."

Wesley Ter Haar, MediaMonks:

"A site that is steadfast, almost stubbornly interactive. It interweaves narrative with data in a way that creates something uniquely digital, while also managing to resonate far beyond the experience itself. I catch myself thinking of Bear 71 in the same way I do about books or movies that have made a lasting impression, it is proof that our industry can create compelling, emotive work and will be the standard-bearer (pun not intended) for years to come."

Eric Jordan, 2Advanced Studios:

"Bear 71 is masterful blending of documentary-style video and information graphics, which combine together to make the site deeply engaging and informative.”

Matias Corea, Behance:

"An educational documentary that understands 'experience design' and storytelling and raises the bar to new levels. It completely made me captive within seconds of loading the site."

Ivan Todorov, Blitz Agency:

"Bear 71 pulls on your heart strings and captivates your attention in just a few short seconds, communicating its message thoughtfully and emotionally. The story, writing, video content and interactivity amplify the effectiveness of the message and work together flawlessly."

Julie Campagna, Adobe:

"Innovative and memorable, yet disturbing."

Steve Lemarquand, Resn:

"I felt emotionally compelled to trek the virtual landscape for Bear 71.”

Mathias Appelblad, BBDO:

"A beautiful experience that pulls you right in. A great example of how technology and interaction can tell a story in an innovative, engaging and emotional way."

Ric Peralta, ATTIK:

"Bear71 wrapped me up entirely.  Massively immersive, the entirety of the data, and the compelling story created such an envelope that one could not help but be moved by the events that slowly unfold.  I could not shake the sadness until morning.  For those of us that interact with a story real-time, this experience will be the one to which we will compare our future entertainment and research.”

Thomas Lewis, Microsoft:

"Bear 71 is a great example of explaining the real world in a digital way that is not only effective but compassionate."

Corinna Falusi, Ogilvy & Mather:

“I especially love that the interactive and fragmented style of storytelling in Bear 71 does not act as superfluous artistry - it truly helps the film makers to create a deeper narrative totality. People have been discussing the possibilities of interactive film for decades, Bear 71 is one of the first examples of a director getting it right."

Ashley Ringrose, Soap Creative:

"I was intrigued by the bear's story. It sucked me in and I sat there watching then exploring. I wanted to know more. Not many sites do that these days as they are all about gags and tricks than real stories."

Clemens Dopjans, adidas AG:

"Brilliant way of interactive storytelling documenting the overlap between the wired and the wild world."

Lynda Weinman, Lynda.com:

“I chose Bear 71 because of its innovative use of data visualization, interactivity, and video  to tell a powerful and emotional story.”

Nathalie Assemat-Tessandier Huni, TBWA|Paris, DAN Paris:

“If Technology and Creativity had a love child, it would be called Bear 71. It's so engrossing,  it's a very powerful storytelling medium.”

Kurt Noble, Kurt Noble, Inc.:

"A Somewhat haunting and powerful execution.  I felt such a connection with the actual Bear!”

James Baker, WDDG/Funtank:

"A powerful, brilliant accomplishment in interactive storytelling that pushes technology beyond the browser into the real world.”

Matthew Atkatz, CP+B:

"Bear71 raises awareness for an environmental issue that demands immediate action through the use of an innovative approach to storytelling. The site combines video narrative with an exploratory interactive interface to shed new light on the plight of the Grizzly bear. It's equal parts art and educational science."

Ville Heikari, Rovio:

“Stunning design and execution, a prime example of web technology as documentary media. I couldn't remember the last time a website really moved me emotionally - but I can now.”

Daniel Stein, Evolution Bureau:

“This site is unreal.  The information is so real, consumable and engaging, I could literally spend hours with the site. I want to know where the story goes from here. It's not just an experience you look at for a minute and forget about.”

Michael Lebowitz, Big Spaceship:

“Amazing piece of work. Mature and engaging. Not just bells and whistles."

Laura Jordan, Dare:

"I just loved the way that Bear 71 transported you into another place and swept you away with it."

Jared Kroff, RED Interactive Agency:

"The thought behind it created a very unique experience that was beautifully executed. It stuck with me."

Benjamin Laugel, Soleil Noir:

"I've learned 2 things today: 1/ A bear can run much faster than me 2/ Always carry fireworks when traveling in Canada!"

James Begera, Wrecking Ball Media Group:

"An amazing story of the bear and an experience like this with such detail and interactivity could only be executed with Flash!" 

Oscar Trelles, Night Agency:

"When powerful narrative takes the reins of technology and makes smart use of it, what you get is an outstanding storytelling achievement. Bear 71 delivers a truly emotional experience, thanks to the clever juxtaposition of media streams that keep the viewer engaged and wanting more."

Jonathan Hills, Domani Studios:

"Bear71 is among the best examples of immersive storytelling i've ever seen - the execution is stunning without overshadowing the power of the content and narrative. Wonderful stuff!" 

Kat Egan, Kat Egan Co:

"Bear 71, is what I hope begins an important trend in web design -- a beautiful and powerful combination of technology, data, culture, education and storytelling.  I was transfixed by the stories, the soundtrack, the images and the mystery of what was behind each part of the map. Bravo for making data deeply compelling, moving and a pleasure to spend time with. I grew up camping in National Parks (including Banff)  -- spending time on this site heartfelt and nostalgic tug of longing for things to stay wild as long as possible (knowing it's a nearly impossible feat)."


About FWA

FWA, established in May 2000, is an industry recognized recognition program for cutting edge digital work. FWA specializes in identifying emerging trends whilst showcasing the latest progressions in digital creativity. The FWA network showcases not only cutting edge digital via its flagship website but also the best in mobile via the FWA Mobile Showcase and the best in photography via FWA Photo. FWAwebTV is a video channel featuring one great video per day from previous FWA winners.


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