A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

Press Releases & Media Kits

The fate of the world's largest energy project is in play a second time in Fort McMoney

Press release

2014/01/21


Montreal, January 21, 2014 – Starting January 27, people everywhere are invited to participate in the second round of the documentary game Fort McMoney ( fortmcmoney.com), where they can once again take control of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and decide the virtual fate of the world's largest energy project. Launched by TOXA and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), in association with ARTE, Fort McMoney first went live in November, attracting more than 350,000 visits. The second round of the game features new missions and exclusive, previously unseen content. Players' feedback from round one has also been incorporated into the game, with changes made to navigation and other features.

In February, Fort McMoney will be in competition at Paris's Festival international du film d'environnement.

Created by David Dufresne, Fort McMoney is a trilingual (English, French and German) immersive online experience set in Fort McMurray―sometimes called “Fort McMoney”―a boom town that is going to play a critical role in determining the energy future of the planet. Starting January 27, over a period of four weeks users will have the power to decide the virtual future of the city while learning more about its social, economic, political and cultural history in order to better understand what's at stake.

As the game unfolds, players make decisions related to the economy, politics, the environment and social issues. At the end of each week, a referendum influences future directions. Each participant can make their own opinion known and try to convince other players. What positions will they take? Will they prioritize the economy... or the environment?

Round One: The Environment Carries the Day

Number of players
Between November 25 and December 22, 309,000 unique visitors populated Fort McMoney (making more than 350,000 site visits)―or more than triple the real-life population of Fort McMurray, including its residents and transient workers.

Players' languages
French: 46%
German: 37%
English: 17%

Fort McMoney: The numbers

By the end of the first round, Fort McMoney had shown itself to be quite different from its real-life twin city of Fort McMurray. The results of polls and referendums in the documentary game caused the number of barrels of oil produced to drop dramatically and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 58%. That drop came with a price: the work camps emptied out, with the number of people living there being reduced from 40,000 to under 4,000. Average annual household income fell from $192,707 $9,287, while the unemployment rate climbed to 28%.

Fort McMoney: The debates
More than 5,300 arguments were made online―by 1,869 players, in many different languages―during the four debates that punctuated the game. These arguments were courteous, reasoned, and often well-researched. Nearly 5,000 tweets mentioning #FortMcMoney or @FortMcMoney were posted during the first round of the game.

Fort McMoney: The comments
A quote from Will Wright, the creator of SimCity, from The New York Times:
Reading about issues is one thing. Being in the driver's seat “to make decisions yourself,” Will Wright said by e-mail, allows for something deeper. Though he had not yet seen the final version of Fort McMoney, he said, “Games are becoming an important part of our way of seeing the world.”


About Fort McMurray and Canada's oil sands


Over a 10-year period, Fort McMurray's population has shot up from the tens of thousands to well over 100,000 people. Today, more than 1.5 million barrels of oil are extracted from the oil sands, and over the next 20 years that number will increase to five million barrels a day.

Canada's oil sands are the third largest oil reserves on the planet. But it's oil that comes with an environmental cost, accounting for 7% of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions. With billions of dollars, energy independence, environmental concerns and crucial issues at stake, tensions are sky-high etween those for and those against extracting that precious black gold.

About David Dufresne

David Dufresne is a documentarian, author and co-director of the Web documentary Prison Valley, which received international acclaim, including the 2011 World Press Photo Multimedia Award (Best Non-Linear roject). In 2012, Dufresne published Tarnac, magasin général, which won the 2012 Prix des Assises du Journalisme. A former reporter for the French daily newspaper Libération, and editor-in-chief for iTélé (part of the Canal + Groupe), Dufresne is also a founding member of the investigative website Mediapart.

About TOXA

TOXA is the driving force behind the magazine and TV series URBANIA. This combination between a communications agency and a production company is a multiplatform content creator (television, Web, mobile, publishing) which has been devoted to finding communication solutions since its inception in 2000. TOXA has been the recipient of numerous awards, both local and national (Gemini, Boomerang, Canadian Magazine Awards) and international (Webby Awards, Flash Festival Paris, FWA), for its documentary series, interactive experiences and creative branded content solutions. toxa.com

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. The NFB has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Canadian Screen Awards, 7 Webbys and 12 Oscars. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.

-30-


For more information

Melissa Than
NFB Publicist
Tel.: 416-952-8960
Cell: 647-248-9854
E-mail: m.than@nfb.ca

Lily Robert
Director, Corporate Communications, NFB
Tel.: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261
E-mail: l.robert@nfb.ca