For open source filmmakers, it's a "Happy World"


Image credits: Rhys Alton
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In 2009, two French filmmakers snuck into Burma to document what they're calling the "absurd decisions" of its dictatorial government. Now author Tristan Mendès France and director Gaël Bordier have edited their footage into a 30-minute "hypervideo experiment," are are using open tools to screen it for the world.

general_imageThe film, "Happy World," is crafted specifically for the Internet. Viewers can stream it from a website written in HTML5, but watching this satirical webdoc isn't meant to be a passive experience. Using Popcorn.js from Mozilla, Mendès France and Bordier have supplemented their footage with contextual links, which appear alonside the feature in real time. Clicking these links momentarily pauses the film and leads audiences to news reports, blog articles, online testimonies, interactive maps, and bonus materials (like a behind-the-scenes explanation of how Mendès France and Bordier managed to shoot a documentary in a country that does not allow journalists).

"Happy World" is also licensed under a Creative Commons license, so anyone wanting a copy for offline viewing can download one. But the license also allows others to embed the film into their websites or broadcast it without the creators' consent. Viewers wanting to customize the film for a specific audience can also insert their own data and links into its real time data stream and translate its captions into different languages.

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