Similkameen Crossroads

Similkameen Crossroads


Reconciling complex, often contradictory, spiritual and cultural identities.

Project Details

In the Similkameen Valley, near the town of Hedley, British Columbia, a century old white chapel sits idyllically a quarter mile off the highway. Filmmaker, Tyler Hagan, pulled off the road here to explore the church and the indigenous land around it, to learn its history, and to meet its present while confronting the conflicted position of the Church on First Nations reserves in Canada. It was a highly personal undertaking for Hagan, who, since obtaining his Métis citizenship, has struggled to reconcile his suburban Christian upbringing with the blighted history of the Church in Indigenous communities.

We worked with Hagen and producers at the NFB Digital Studio to bring his contemplative story to life. The interactive feature combines his stunning still and video images of the church and surrounding valley and a rich audio essay that features voices from his exploration of place, faith and identity.

The user experience is built around the audio story. Our smart player initiates chapter and section titles, reveals who is speaking, as they speak, and provides story navigation. The player is compact, allowing the accompanying visual content to shine. The images are arranged loosely according to the editorial voice of the essay but are independent from the audio allowing the user to explore at their own pace. Pausing the story layer initiates an ambient music layer for users simply wanting to browse the images. The type work compliments the quiet, meditative tone of the story and signifies its emphasis on traditions of all kinds.

Similkameen Crossroads lives online at NFB/Interactive and was presented as an exhibition at Gallery 44 in Toronto as part of the ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival and at the I-Docs Symposium at Watershed, in Bristol, UK.

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