NFB and Stan Douglas' acclaimed immersive experience CIRCA 1948 comes home

From September 18 to November 13, travel back into the Vancouver of the past as Circa 1948 makes its Canadian premiere at Simon Fraser University

VANCOUVER, Sept 1, 2015 /CNW/ - From September 18 to November 13, people in Vancouver's Lower Mainland will be able to literally step into Vancouver's past as the interactive virtual reality experience Circa 1948 makes its Canadian premiere as part of Simon Fraser University's Cultural Programs. People in downtown Vancouver will be able to experience this immersive installation from September 18 to October 16 at SFU Woodward's as part of Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures: A Festival of Immersive Arts, then it travels to SFU Surrey from October 27 to November 13. These events are presented by SFU in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Co-created by the NFB's award-winning Digital Studio in Vancouver and acclaimed Vancouver digital artist Stan Douglas, Circa 1948 is a life-sized user experience that physically immerses audiences in the city's post-war past―in the former Hotel Vancouver on the West Side, squatted by homeless war veterans, or the muddy streets of Hogan's Alley in the working-class East Side, populated by racial minorities, gamblers, prostitutes and corrupt police officers.

If it all sounds a little like Star Trek's "holodeck," Time magazine hailed Circa 1948 as a "clue as to a possible future for storytelling" during its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival's Storyscapes program, proclaiming "Canada builds a virtual time machine."

A bold extension of Stan Douglas's historically based recombinant storytelling into the interactive world, Circa 1948 transports audiences into a nonlinear journey of discovery through two Vancouver communities struggling in a time of change. The users' bodies become the interface in this interactive experience, which responds in real time to let audiences explore key historical locations and stories, touching on issues of race, class, politics and corruption.

The Circa 1948 experience in Vancouver will be situated in the Woodward's Atrium at Abbott and Cordova Streets from September 18 to October 16. Stan Douglas and NFB Digital Studio head Loc Dao will be participating in a Digital Futures Discourse panel discussion on September 19. The Vancouver installation runs daily and advance bookings may be made at

Following its Vancouver run, Circa 1948 moves to SFU's Surrey campus at 13450 – 102nd Avenue (attached to the Central City Shopping Centre) from October 27 to November 13. The Surrey installation will run weekdays only, and no advance booking is required. Admission is free at both locations. 

Circa 1948 is produced for the NFB by Selwyn Jacob and Dana Dansereau, with Kelly Richard Fennig as project director and Loc Dao as executive producer/creative technologist. Other key team members include Laura Mitchell as project manager, Janine Steele as production manager, Jonny Ostrem as art lead and Kearwood Gilbert as lead software engineer. The installation experience was designed in collaboration with Marshmallow Laser Feast; set design in Vancouver provided by Double Dare Design and GNW Scene Shop.

Circa 1948 is also available as a 3D art app for iPad and iPhone, available free from the iTunes App Store.

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Associated Links

Simon Fraser University
Hidden Pasts, Digital Futures: A Festival of Immersive Arts,
Vancouver International Film Festival
Stan Douglas
Time magazine
Tribeca Film Festival
Marshmallow Laser Feast
Double Dare Design
GNW Scene Shop

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About the NFB

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the world's leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. NFB interactive productions and digital platforms have won 100 awards, including 11 Webbys. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.


SOURCE National Film Board of Canada

Image with caption: "NFB and Stan Douglas’ acclaimed immersive experience CIRCA 1948 comes home (CNW Group/National Film Board of Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: Media Relations: Pat Dillon, NFB Publicist, Cell: 514-206-1750, E-mail:, Twitter: @PatDoftheNFB; Lily Robert, Director, Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs, Tel.: 514-283-3838, Cell: 514-296-8261, E-mail:;


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