Two Towns of Jasper

Gunthar Hartwig, Chetan Bagga, Yvonna Caravia, Sumier Phalake, Susan Robinson, Nina Walia

The Georgia Tech team created a DVD prototype of a navigable version of the film. The DVD allows viewers to follow individual citizens of Jasper as they come to terms with the horrible murder and its explicitly racist motivation, and to compare points of view on key issues such as history, change, and justice.

This project was undertaken in collaboration with the American Film Institute’s Enhanced TV Workshop for 2002 and the PBS documentary series P.O.V. “The Two Towns of Jasper” is a documentary film created by Marco Williams and Whitney Dow. The film deals with the racially-motivated murder of James Byrd, who was dragged to his death in 1998 in Jasper, Texas. The documentary was shot by two teams of filmmakers, one black, the other white, each focusing separate attention on the community’s reactions to the murder from black and white viewpoints. It was broadcast on PBS in January 2003, preceded by an ABC Nightline appearance by the filmmakers and followed by a Town Meeting in Jasper moderated by Ted Koppel.

The Georgia Tech team created a DVD prototype of a navigable version of the film. The DVD allows viewers to follow individual citizens of Jasper as they come to terms with the horrible murder and its explicitly racist motivation, and to compare points of view on key issues such as history, change, and justice.

The application resides on a hybrid DVD-ROM which is playable both on DVD players and DVD-enabled desktop computers. It incorporates digital video and XML-structured metadata, running in Flash MX . The core elements of the data are video clips from the film. However, in the future, other media types such as audio, text files (such as message transcripts or news reports), still images, and numeric data sets may become equally important in the digital repository that is sure to grow in association with this groundbreaking film.