Nora Barry has been working at the intersection of story and digital technology for 20 years. In 1998 she launched The Bit Screen, the first online site for web film. In January of 1999 the site was featured by the New York Times and quickly went international, drawing over a million viewers a week.
The Bit Screen became a lab for experiments in digital narratives and online storytelling, helping give rise to data-based, interactive and pass-along films. Dubbed “La Dame du Web Cinema”, Nora became a guest speaker at film festivals and conferences in the US and Europe and wrote and published a number of articles about emerging narratives, including the definitive “History of Web Cinema,” which was published in conjunction with the show she curated for Future Cinema, at the ZKM Museum in Germany.
Nora went on to create several digital film platforms, including Kurz Film Kanal for Europe Online, and Cinema Lounge for AT&T/Media One. She originated “Streaming Cinema”, the first festival of online film, which traveled to Europe and Asia, as well as to cities in the US.
She pushed story forms to the next level when she originated the first live, online film mix, “Story Streams.” The project brought together three filmmakers in France, Mexico and Canada who each created their own version of the universal myth of “The Hero’s Journey.” The films were uploaded and mixed live by a VJ at a studio in Philadelphia and streamed live over the Internet.
Again experimenting with emerging technologies and digital narratives, Nora created the first “Game-Film”, an online video game that generated short films based on how the game was played. The films were created collaboratively, using the Internet2, by teams in Beijing and Seattle; Salt Lake City and Philadelphia; and Rio de Janeiro and Uppsala. Exploring the universality of myth, Nora used the story of the descent to the underworld as the subject of the game and films.
Her most recent online narrative platform is The COVID-19 Story Project, a compilation of stories from people around the world during the first few months of lockdown.
Nora is a student of fairy tales and folk tales and multicultural myths, with a deep and abiding interest in Irish mythology. She was graduated from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University with an MS in Communications, where she studied writing and media production. Post-Syracuse she studied directing at the Walnut St. Theater. She is a member of the National Storytelling Network and coaches execs at top pharma and tech companies in story, storytelling and public speaking.
Publications on StoryForward. Webcinema: The Cybernetic Image. Italy.
“Descent to the Underworld”. A Minima, Journal of New Media. Spain.
“Talking Pictures: Networked Cinematic Technologies”. Human Affairs Journal. Published by: Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia. Italy.
“Telling Tales Online: A History of Web Cinema”. An Anthology on Electronic Digital Media and Electronic Culture. Published by: The Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, Slovakia.
“Story Forms”. Remixing Narrative Media. University International of Andalusia Press, Seville, Spain.
“Telling Stories on Screen: A History of Web Cinema”. Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imagery After Film. For the ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany. Published by MIT Press.
“Digital Shanachies”. TakeOver: Who’s Doing the Art of Tomorrow. Published by Ars Electronica Press, Linz, Austria.
Chicago Sun Times
The Wall Street Journal
Story workshopsStand and Deliver