Webby Awards: CBC's Missing & Murdered podcast, NFB's Seances vie for online prize

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Stories and song: What was heard at the MMIWG community hearings in B.C.?

The CBC podcast Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams, the NFB-Guy Maddin interactive film project Seances and a short video doc about Grimes by music magazine Fader are all nominated for the 2017 Webby Awards.

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences unveiled its latest list of contenders for the preeminent digital prize on Tuesday morning.

The annual honour, now in its 21st year, celebrates the best of the internet and web culture. 

The vast nomination list ranges from Pokemon Go to news organizations like The New York Times and BBC Newstream to Beyoncé's Formation video, the Mean Tweets series from Jimmy Kimmel Live to Pentatonix and Dolly Parton's performance of Jolene to the Stranger Things Type Generator. 

"Webby Nominees are using the internet in incredible ways to bring people together through humour, emotion, innovation, empathy, passion, optimism, and eccentricity—all of the elements that make for truly great internet," Webby Awards executive director David-Michel Davies said in a statement.

"In a year marked by so much discord and divisiveness, The Webby Awards is honoured to recognize the work and efforts of our nominees as they explore new ways to use the internet to inform our world and bring people together."

CBC's eight-part investigative podcast and online seriesMissing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? has revived interest and uncovered new details in the unsolved murder case of an Indigenous woman who vanished from Prince Rupert, B.C. in 1989 and whose remains were later found along the so-called "Highway of Tears." The series is a Webby nominee for Documentary/Podcasts & Digital Audio.

The NFB, a perennial Webby contender, is nominated this year in the Art & Experimental/Film & Video category for Seances by Winnipeg filmmaker Maddin and co-creators Evan and Galen Johnson. From a treasure trove of old, historic silent film footage, they created a unique online film generator, whereby each site visit prompts the creation of a brand new short film comprising clips drawn from that archive, with the configuration never to be repeated again.

U.S. music magazine Fader earned a Webby nod in the Music/Film & Video category for a short doc about Canadian synth-pop singer and producer Grimes (Claire Boucher), Vancouver-born but now based in Los Angeles, and the making of her latest album Art Angels. 

Other Webby contenders with Canadian ties include:

- Absolut Deadmau5, a VR storytelling adventure featuring the hit Canadian DJ by production studio Unit9 (Game or Application/Advertising, Media & PR) 

- Down Syndrome Answers, a video series (created by FCB Toronto and The Canadian Down Syndrome Society) featuring people with Down Syndrome answering and offering insight into the 40 most common questions asked about the condition. (Best Use of Data Driven Media/Advertising, Media & PR)

- The ParaTough Training Series, a campaign and workout video series by BBDO Toronto showcasing the punishing training undertaken by Canadian Paralympic athletes. (Sports/Websites)

More than 13,000 entries were submitted this year. Reflecting the web's massive growth in the past two decades, the prize has grown to recognize dozens of categories across six overall sections: Websites; Film & Video; Advertising, Media and PR; Social; Mobile Sites & Apps; Podcasts & Digital Audio.

The Webbys honour two winners in each category: recipient of the Webby Award (chosen by the academy) and the Webby's People's Choice Award (chosen by public voting).

Recipients are honoured at a New York gala in May, with organizers enforcing the prize's trademark "five-word acceptance speeches."