[FILM] In Limbo

[FILM] In Limbo

Antoine Viviani’s In Limbo, a personalized interactive film that reveals the traces we leave on the Internet, launches today

Live the interactive experience at nfb.ca/inlimbo

February 12, 2015 – Montreal, National Film Board of Canada

What personal traces do we leave on the Internet? And just how permanent and public are they? These are the questions addressed by the interactive film In Limbo (nfb.ca/inlimbo), directed by Antoine Viviani (INSITU), co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), ARTE France, and Providences, and available online as of today. In Limbo creates a disturbing mirror image of data incorporated from its users’ accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn), making them realize how big a footprint they’re leaving on the Web. Eight people, including computer pioneer Gordon Bell and Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, also share their thoughts and experiences regarding this new social phenomenon.

In Limbo is part of a broader reflection being conducted by the NFB French Program’s Digital Studio about how the digital world is changing us. Launched last fall, the mobile app Cancer of Time (NFB/France Télévisions) explores our inability to enjoy a bit of downtime from our electronic devices. The upcoming interactive documentary series Do Not Track (NFB/ARTE/BR), slated for release in April 2015, takes this reflection to another level, with particular focus on the commercial aspects of digital life. Producer Louis-Richard Tremblay commented, “We’ve been exploring these questions for over two years. Our research has brought us into contact with the founders and developers of technologies that are transforming our existence into digital content. It’s fascinating what goes on in the electronic circuits behind your screen. How does that involve you? What are the goals pursued by the alchemists of the digital age: To make you immortal? To sell you the latest gadget? Or simply to sell you?”

Quick Facts

  • In Limbo, an instruction manual for an eye-opening experience
  • Designed as a personalized interactive experience for computers and tablets, In Limbo integrates its users’ data into its story. Built around a 30-minute film, In Limbo enables users to explore the Internet and the digital world by means of their own input into the global data stream.
  • The user is invited to connect to their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Gmail and LinkedIn accounts. All the data collected are seamlessly integrated into In Limbo in 12 personalized sequences.
  • Images of the eight interview subjects are captured by a Kinect camera, and they see themselves being digitized and converted into lines of code, in a constant interplay between the Web and reality.
  • Meandering through the almost infinite memory of big data, the user will begin to grasp the dreams and fears of this new connected humanity. What are we building: a new civilization, or simply a vast data cemetery?

Participants in the 30-minute film

  • Gordon Bell, a researcher emeritus at Microsoft
  • Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google
  • Paul Miller, an American journalist who disconnected from the Internet for a year
  • George Dyson, a historian of the creation and mythology of the digital universe
  • Cathal Gurrin, a computer engineer
  • Laurie Frick, an American artist who turns her personal data into art
  • Liesl Capper, CEO of MyCyberTwin, an AI company that sells virtual human beings
  • Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive

Duration of the In Limbo experience

Approximately 30 minutes, including integration of the user’s personal data

Creative team

Director: Antoine Viviani

Writers: Antoine Viviani, Léa Todorov, Bojina Panayatova

Editors: Pierre-Alain Giraud, Lucas Archambault

Web Designer: Jérôme Pidoux

Front-End Developer: Yves Diffre

Back-End Developer: Maxime Gravouil

An NFB/ARTE France/Providences co-production


Executive Producer, French Program Digital Studio: Hugues Sweeney

Producer: Louis-Richard Tremblay

ARTE France

Director of the Web Department: Gilles Freissinier

Head of Web Productions and Transmedia Projects: Marianne Lévy-Leblond

Commissioning Editor: Alexander Knetig


Producer: Antoine Viviani

Production Manager: Émilie Arlet

About Antoine Viviani

French filmmaker and producer Antoine Viviani has made several music documentaries (for REM and Arcade Fire, with music video director Vincent Moon) and worked with video artist Pierre Huyghe. He founded his own production company, Providences, through which he directed his first films: Little Blue Nothing (2009, 52 min); Fugues, a short-film series about classical music; and INSITU, co-produced with ARTE in 2011, a poetic feature-length documentary for the Internet and the cinema about the urban space in Europe, as seen through diverse artistic experiences and public space interventions. It received the DocLab Digital Storytelling Award at IDFA 2011 and the Time Out Best City Film Award at Open City Docs Fest in London in 2012.

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Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb1JGGdm6RE

Photo gallery: onf-nfb.gc.ca/eng/press-room/photo-gallery/

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