Though Swedish hybrid production company B-Reel has been around since 1999, merging film, interactive, games, and mobile to create new methods of storytelling, it exploded into the broader consciousness with 2010’s “The Wilderness Downtown.”
The interactive short film dreamed up by Chris Milk and the band Arcade Fire for its song “We Used To Wait” is a Gen-Y paean of childhood nostalgia, where the singer pines for a simpler, not-so-far away yesteryear where people wrote love letters on paper and anxiously awaited the arrival of an envelope in return. In return for their work, the interactive film’s creators took home the 2011 Grand Clio.
A data-driven Chrome Experiment built using HTML 5, “The Wilderness Downtown” prompts you to enter your first address and then watch as your character dashes through the streets of your old ‘hood to your childhood home, courtesy Google Maps and Streetview.
“[The Wilderness Downtown] really took your feelings away; you get very touched by it because it’s playing out on your childhood street,” says B-Reel CEO Anders Wahlquist. “That’s a quality you want to have in the interactive field–to reach out to people and touch them and interact in new ways.”
As B-Reel continues to crank out an impressive array of creative technology mashups that combine industrial robots and fashion, mind control and cars, and “social film,” among other feats, we sat down with Wahlquist to talk about how he motivates the B-Reel team to tap into the outer reaches of their creativity.