Audible: big steps for Finland’s web documentary scene

Audible (2013) is a 15-minute long Finnish web documentary by Yle Documentaries. It tells the story of a girl, who was born deaf, but can now hear with the help of cochlear implants. The story is visualized with watercolour backgrounds and hand drawn illustrations, giving the experience an artistic edge.

I was contacted by Katri Kovula, who made the documentary and wanted to reach out to a wider audience as well as highlight the Finnish contribution to the web/interactive documentary field:


“I was introduced to web documentaries in the spring of 2013. I was intrigued by the creative ways of storytelling and the interactive watching experience. I was in the process of making my Bachelor’s thesis for my school and I decided to make it about web documentaries. I watched web docs like Thanatorama, Prison Valley, Gaza Sderot and Out My Window and started to think about my own documentary. In Finland web documentaries are still pretty unknown. With Audible, I wanted to introduce the genre to a wider Finnish audience.

The documentary was produced by Yle Documentaries and it was published in the fall of 2013 at Audible was made with a very small crew. I recorded and edited the interviews by myself. The process of building the storyline was very similar to the process of making a radio documentary. Before the website, the story existed only as sound. We did all the illustrations and backgrounds for the website by hand with my sister Riikka Koivula. The HTML 5-coding was done by a group of two people called Viiksipojat. The documentary was produced by Hannu Karisto and Tanja Iikkanen. The sound designer was Kai Rantala.

audible1I wanted to keep everything simple and visually pleasing. Because web documentaries are a rarity in Finland, I didn’t want to scare the audience away by doing something complicated and challenging. That’s why the website is pretty straight forward. You can either follow the story from the viewpoint of the girl or her mother and you can choose in which order the story progresses.

Audible got a lot of positive feedback in Finland. Many have been excited by the documentary’s appearance and the interactive form. I believe that in the future we will see more web docs coming from Finland. I, for one, am already in the process of making another one!”

If you have trouble viewing the documentary, please try the Google Chrome-browser