ZERU is an innovative transmedia project: an interactive graphic novel enables the reader to get an individual and immersive journey through a linear story, while a documentary platform is dynamically providing real world footage, bringing facts, interviews and other kind of content relevant to the cause.
The originality of this transmedia project is the bi-directionnal and personalized connection between the two mediums: the interactions of the reader within the interactive graphic novel will let him stay into his own narrative path through the story, while creating a trace that will trigger an individual surprise coming from within the documentary platform. More on that later.
The synopsis of ZERU:
Set on a business trip to Tanzania, a restless Afro-American financier, WALTER, is confronted with the horror of the lives of Albinos, persecuted and murdered by sorcery networks. His path will cross that of BADU, a 10 years old child, hunted like an animal because of the color of his skin. Called to choose between indifference and action, he’ll see his routine trip soon turn into a terrifying nightmare. ZERU is a dark and suspenseful thriller, a merciless hunt that reveals the full horror of a situation rarely tackled by the medias.
While stepping through the chapters of this drama, the reader can interact with visual elements: symbols, parts of the image can be clicked on. The subtle interactions preserve the immersive narrative experience while personalizing the way the story unfolds. The user will be able to interact with some specific visual elements that will change and adapt with sounds and colors.
The reading experience is exploring the native possibilities of the medium that enables it (the tablet or the smartphone): the real innovative and original part of the experience is the connexion to the documentary web platform, through a surprise that will be generated out of the interaction path of each individual reader… This surprise, at the end of the reading, will be the generation of an unique and personalized movie.
This movie will be a starting point for a new exploration of the cause: stories coming from the real world, accessible through this individually generated movie but also by navigating the linked documentary elements over a map, a playlist…
We had the opportunity to pitch the project to a dozen people, coming from the publishing, broadcast or narrative industries. The feedbacks where all very positive and enthusiastic: the story, the esthetics and the interaction concepts made sense for everybody.
On top of that, the project got a prize: ”The ITVS Impact Pixel Market Prize for the Best Social Impact Project was awarded by Jim Sommers, svp content management at ITVS to producer Dan Wechsler, and project manager Ulrich Fischer for Zeru.”
With this financial help and the symbolic impact of the prize we will be able to push the project on step further, in order to get production money to achieve a demonstrator for Q3 2014.
Memoways is the close technical and conceptual partner on this project – we are looking forward bringing this project to life, with the aim to create a concept that could be used by others.