Documentary’s Digital Companion

Why your film's website design shouldn't be an afterthought

Plank embraces projects that help change the world

It’s that spirit of optimism and passion that attracts us to the arts and cultural sectors, and what started our love affair with documentary film. We have designed numerous websites and apps for documentary films, festivals, and artists over the last twenty years.

Inspired by our work with Michael Moore, Plank’s founder has been attending Hot Docs – North America’s largest documentary festival – since 2010 where he’s learned about the medium and developed a close relationship with the industry.

Building a website or app as a digital companion is not only a key component in marketing and promoting your film, but also a way to engage your audience and deepen the conversation.

“You worked hard to be able to tell your story. Let your companion website carry your voice to your audience in new ways so they can share in, or even expand, the unique experience encapsulated in your film.”

Dan Sonnet, Documentary Magazine

We’d love to explore the opportunities to amplify your documentary’s impact

We understand the funding landscape documentary producers are navigating. We can be an active partner in seeking out funding for your film’s digital component and will work collaboratively with you to exceed the criteria set by funders.

We want to help you build digital companion projects that are strong enough to stand on their own, drawing people deeper into the story of your documentary and strengthening their relationship with your film.

Read more about Plank’s work with documentary filmmakers

Michael Moore

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore holds the American flag

Our first foray into creating companion websites for docs was our work with the legendary Michael Moore from 2002 – 2009. In addition to redesigning his personal website, we created standalone sites to support three of his films; Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko. These companion sites offered extensive teacher guides, excerpts from relevant books, and concrete ways to take action on the issues his films exposed.

With Plank’s help, America’s favourite film renegade was able to connect with his audience and take full advantage of online tools for political engagement. Plank helped Moore accomplish this again and again, over the course of eight years. Working with Michael Moore was a milestone for Plank. Not only did the relationship raise our profile as a young company, but it challenged us in a way that no other client had before.

Learn more about our work with Michael Moore

Last Woman Standing & Go Fit Yourself

A screenshot of the Go Fit Yourself app

Prospector Film’s documentary Last Woman Standing tells the tale of friendship turned rivalry when two world champion boxers vie for an Olympic dream that can only be obtained by one of them.

Plank built the Go Fit Yourself app not only as a complement to the film but as an actual tool to help could-be contenders reach their fitness goals. Through a series of boxing exercises and routines, app users can build on their personal goals, set up a calendar with reminders and schedules, and visually track their progress and performance. To encourage them along the way, we also integrated social tools as well as helpful tips and advice from the film’s inspiring protagonists and boxing world champions, Ariane Fortin and Mary Spencer.

Check out Go Fit Yourself

Sugar Coated & One Sweet App

Screenshots of One Sweet App

Sugar Coated is a ground-breaking investigative documentary that pulls back the curtain on the troubling tactics used by the sugar industry to dismiss health claims against their products. Upon its release, filmmaker Michèle Hozer and producer Janice Dawe wanted to find a creative way to get Canadians actively involved in the conversation by creating a tool that would provide comprehensive information about sugar data and consumption.

Plank collaborated with the filmmakers to create One Sweet App, the world’s first ‘free sugar’ tracker. We worked closely with nutritionists from the University of Toronto to create a complex algorithm that factors the nutritional values of food products and identifies both total and hidden ‘free sugars’ amounts—juices, concentrates, and syrups, for instance—in packaged foods. From helping to secure funding to building an extensive and crowd-sourced library of sugar data for over 15 000 Canadian products, our team was able to provide thousands of Canadians and public health educators with highly accurate academic data that helped them measure and curb their sugar consumption.

Check out One Sweet App

Celtic Soul

Screenshot of Celtic Soul website

Celtic Soul is a documentary film that spins a tale of soccer fandom spanning miles and generations. Jay Baruchel and Eoin O’Callaghan set out on an epic road trip that takes them through Canada, Ireland, and Scotland, as well as 200 years of ancestral and sport history.

The online home of Celtic Soul is a multi-faceted complement to the film. Visitors can get to know Jay and Eoin as they begin their road trip and discuss the finer points of sport, community, and history. Users can visually follow the map of their journey beginning at Jay’s home in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood. The destinations are accompanied by online-first video content that can be unlocked through social media engagement. A visual timeline details the history of the Celtic Football Club and its deep roots in charity and community. The community section offers another opportunity for users to read and submit personal stories as they are inspired by exploring the site and keep the conversation going.

Check out Celtic Soul