Unfinished Sentence
February 14, 2011 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Imagine your hometown never changed. That no one ever grew old or moved on. Part book, part film, part family photo album, Welcome to Pine Point unearths a place frozen in time and discovers what happens when an entire community is erased from the map. [Autoplaying music/film in links]

Featuring the music of indie rock band The Besnard Lakes.

Created by The Goggles (authors of I Live Here)

Based on the Website: Pine Point Revisted.

From Canada's National Film Board Interactive Site.
posted by Potomac Avenue (26 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
I watched this last week and was just completely stunned. It's perfect. It was like being tricked into exercising by playing something fun like dodgeball. I settled in to learn about a town that dissappeared, and ended up learning so much more, about myself, our culture, our capacity to remember stuff and the importance of events we might otherwise write off as mundane.

And the format is so cool and well executed. It's basically an interactive feature length documentary. Something I had no idea existed, but am so glad I stumbled across it.
posted by pwally at 8:28 AM on February 14, 2011

Speaking of things that never change, the 'Pine Point Revisited' link just transported me back to 1998.
posted by COD at 8:28 AM on February 14, 2011

What an amazing piece of design, this website. Breathtaking.
posted by JtJ at 8:33 AM on February 14, 2011

Really cool site, never really seen anything like it.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 8:43 AM on February 14, 2011

Just beautiful. I love this. I had my second birthday in a town that no longer exists. It was built for the workers of some large scale project in northern Quebec, and when the project ended everyone left and the town ceased to exist anymore.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:45 AM on February 14, 2011

Strangely enough I was reading about Pine Point recently, when researching ghost/abandoned towns, but I never looked at this website. I'm now very glad I did. Anyway, this is a wonderful, beautiful project full of humanity and whimsy. Thanks for posting it.
posted by ob at 8:59 AM on February 14, 2011

Wow, there is a lot to love about this. Truly an example of how to use the power of computers to create something new and deeper than either film or a book could have presented. Thanks so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 9:25 AM on February 14, 2011

That is a pretty neat site indeed. I'd seen information about this place previously, I believe. But as others have said, the presentation is pretty cool, if overdone a bit for my tastes.
posted by cashman at 9:34 AM on February 14, 2011

OK, I don't want to be That Guy, but this project seems kind of meh to me, and everybody else on this thread thinks it's awesome, so I have to wonder: Am I missing something? All I see is a trailer.
posted by KGMoney at 9:48 AM on February 14, 2011

Oh... Nevermind.
posted by KGMoney at 9:50 AM on February 14, 2011

I don't have to imagine. I'm from Ann Arbor.
posted by klangklangston at 10:00 AM on February 14, 2011

I'm going to have to check it out tonight.

It reminds me of Pithole, Pennsylvania. Similar to Pine Point in that it only existed for the duration of a profitable mineral enterprise. In the case Pithole, the boom and bust cycle of the U.S.'s first oil rush; it was established in 1865, peaked at 20,000 residents by December 1865, collapsed to 2,000 residents twelve months later, and wiped off the map by 1877. Unlike Pine Point, it wasn't a company town built and removed by a single owner, instead it ebbed and flowed as speculators and hangers-on looked for fortune and succeeded or failed.

There's a forest there now, with lanes in the woods where the streets used to be, and you can still see the overgrown foundations of some of the buildings.

I've been mildly obsessed with Pithole for decades, and I'm not sure why. but the Pine Point documentary made that obsession come rushing back.
posted by ardgedee at 10:00 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm working on kind a similar thing, regarding the town of Zouerate in Mauritania -- actually, a retrospective of a band that played in the club. Coincidentally, also a mining town, and while not defunct, the expats that once populated it have mostly left.

Internet research led me to this site, Zouerate.com -- with old photos, forums, and some ambitious plans, including the design of sort of Sim-ish "virtual Zouerate"...a serious labor of love that can never really extend beyond the former inhabitants.

It feels like the mining or factory towns in particular have this communal source of identity, stronger than some town in constant flux without a central purpose.
posted by iamck at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wow. Thanks.
posted by VicNebulous at 10:25 AM on February 14, 2011

Rick's story (the bully, and how he changed), and the way it is told...just fantastic.
posted by circular at 10:36 AM on February 14, 2011

I found this incredibly sad.
posted by cedar key at 11:08 AM on February 14, 2011

That's outstanding. Just passed the link along to someone in Hay River, to see if they have heard of it.
posted by acheekymonkey at 11:55 AM on February 14, 2011

I came for the Besnard Lakes; I stayed for the utterly compelling interactive documentary.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:59 AM on February 14, 2011

Very well implemented and beautiful.

It was a little bit self conscious at times and verging on pretentious and forced, but those moments were rare.

Lots of heart and good material there, I like it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:07 PM on February 14, 2011

cedar key - maybe its the Monday blahs, but I'm with you. I watched this a couple hours ago and I'm still in a funk. Certainly very compelling presentation, however.
posted by CaptApollo at 12:08 PM on February 14, 2011

I saw this a couple of weeks ago and remember thinking it would be a good Metafilter post. Thank you for posting it.

I found this project touching, amazing and completely absorbing--I spent quite a bit of time going through the site. I agree with those who find it heartbreakingly sad, too. The pictures and story reminded me so much of the tiny, resource-dependent instant company town that I moved to for my first real job after graduating from university. Unlike Pine Point, however, after this town went through a bust cycle it just continued to limp along, rather than being razed to the ground. It is still limping along. I don't know which fate is better.

Having moved to this town from the big city, I experienced total culture shock and (I am ashamed to admit now) could not understand why people were so fiercely loyal to the town, fighting to stay and not wanting to move away, or doing so reluctantly. I am older now and less of a big-city snob, so I think I understand it better, although I have no desire to move back. I think this project perfectly captures the feeling of why people can look back on these places with nostalgia. They're home. They were home. It was where they grew up, or where they became adults. These towns were never perfect, but there is a sense of community and, as iamck commented above, a shared purpose and communal sense of identity that is much more intense than in many other places.

There are a lot of these towns in my province, some ghost towns, some still going, though for how much longer I don't know. It makes for an eerie landscape.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:46 PM on February 14, 2011

Man, if only all the Internets were this beautiful.
Then again, if they were, I would achieve nothing.
posted by Artaud at 2:40 PM on February 14, 2011

This is one of the best things I've seen on the internet in a long time.

Thanks, Potomac.
posted by mhoye at 5:21 PM on February 14, 2011

After seeing how Rick (the bully, now suffering from MS) maintains that Pine Point Revisited website using only his voice, I'm completely in awe of it.
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:43 PM on February 14, 2011

Best of the Web, thank you Potomac Avenue.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:18 PM on February 14, 2011

The owls are not what they seem.
posted by Harry at 3:11 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

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