Popathon Hack Jam - 2014

Popathon invites filmmakers, technologists and designers to collaborate on storytelling projects that can only exist on the web. Participants team up to brainstorm ideas, create open-source code and demo prototypes of their own web-native stories.


Popathon invites filmmakers, technologists and designers to collaborate on storytelling projects that can only exist on the web. For one weekend you team up to brainstorm ideas, create open-source code and demo prototypes of your own web-native stories. Participants compete against the clock, not against each other. Teams are formed by combining different skills and spend a short and intense period creating a story prototype that is born on the web. After the final sprint all prototypes are presented in a live demo open to the public. All the source code powering the projects will be shared as an open source repository for others to study and build on beyond the event. This special edition of Popathon is presented in partnership with Lighthouse and Mozilla.

Explore projects hacked at previous editions

This ever unfolding story of digital pre-natives was waiting to be told. A real-time dynamic life story that is different every time, thanks to the Instagram API.

How stereotypical are your ideas about the people living in the different parts of Barcelona? An interactive video quiz with embedded data visualisation.
Big cities are a constant buzz. Imagine you can conduct the sounds of your city into an urban symphony. Come in to play while listening what Barcelona has to say.


Visual storytelling has been with us since the beginning of times. Through the ages the way we tell stories has changed along with the evolution of different media. The capability of the web enables stories to be interactive, dynamic and participatory, allowing for engaging experiences around them. While this is hugely exciting, we believe a language of web-native storytelling is still developing and want to help that process along by hands-on collaboration.


Teams thrive when different skills are combined. Popathon invites 3 specialities to the mix, each with their own perspective and reasons for taking part. We believe disciplines like filmmaking, web development and design already offer the most important skills required to make engaging stories that work on the web. By having different perspectives around the table, we share our expertise and learn from eachother.

Filmmakers / Storytellers

Filmmakers, writers, producers, documentarians, content creators and journalists who like to:

  • Explore how your storytelling can become dynamic and interactive
  • Brainstorm and prototype ideas for a new medium
  • Meet and collaborate with designers and developers


Web developers, mobile developers, installation artists, back-enders with an itch for design, front-enders with a passion for interactivity, JS hackers who think open source. Technologists who like to:

  • Experiment with new libraries and frameworks in an informal setting
  • Create a visually-rich interactive multimedia project
  • Meet & collaborate with designers and filmmakers


UX, UI, interaction, graphic, print and service design is all welcome and useful. Join to:

  • Design the future of storytelling on the web.
  • Tackle questions like: what does an interactive film look like?
  • Meet & collaborate with filmmakers and developers


You can sign up individually or with a group of collaborators. Tickets will soon become available, stay tuned…

Tickets are available at an Early Bird rate until 31 August.
We’ve also got Student tickets at a discounted rate.

Teams compete against the clock, not against each other. By sharing ideas at an early stage, teams help each other to tackle challenges in the creative process.

We encourage bringing ideas and content for projects you have in mind or in production.

After the final sprint all prototypes are presented in a live demo and all the source code powering the projects will be made available as open source for others to study and build on beyond the event.

Bring whatever you’ll need to hack with. Charged laptops with production software and external drives with footage or have everything online. Also bring headphones, as you’ll be working in a shared space.

Nourishing lunch, delicious snacks and WiFi access will all be provided.

To make sure we’ve got a good mixture of skills, tickets are released in equal sized batches for each type (storytellers, technologists, designers). This means that a ticket type, say designers, may be temporaraly sold out, until we’ve got an equal number of storytellers and technologists signed up. Don’t worry, you can sign up on the waiting list and you’ll be notified as soon as we release more tickets. Protip: Know anyone with complementary skills? Bring them along!








Final sprint


Team Formation
Wireframe presentations

Final prototype presentations


“Popathon was a great experience, highly recommend it to anyone working on a web doc”


“I thought it was great. It was a good combination of people, there were some great filmmakers with some great material and some good developers and we were all inspired by each other.”

Mark Boas | Front-end Web Developer | co-creator of jPlayer and


“Something like today is really important in terms of bringing people together across these different skillsets and bringing them into an easy conversation”

Mandy Rose | Director Digital Cultures Research Centre, University of the West of England



Q: Is this a one-off event?
A: No, we aim to grow a community of interactive storytellers who use the web as their medium. This Hack Jam part of a larger series of similar events across Europe.

Q: Can I bring my own project?
A: Absolutely! We encourage everyone to bring their own ideas and footage for projects. This will actually help to come up with awesome prototypes.

Q: (Filmmakers / Designers) Do I need to know HTML or JavaScript?
A: This Hack Jam brings together complementing skills to take projects to the next level, letting participants focus on their own expertise. Coding skills are not expected from everyone. Having said that, it never hurts to introduce yourself to the workings of the medium you use.

Q: (Web developers / JS hackers) Will I be required to build with a certain framework / API?
A: We encourage the use of open-source technology as much as possible, but everyone is free to use their favorite tools and technologies.

Any questions?

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