Hero image, headshot of Claressa Shields

Flint is a place

Beyond "the American dream gone wrong"

Flint, a city in central Michigan, has long been the poster child for the American dream gone wrong. Between Michael Moore and the ongoing Water Crisis, everyone thinks they know what to expect when they hear the name “Flint” — economic, political, and social dysfunction. But that’s not all it is.

In 2015, filmmakers Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper made their first feature documentary, “T-Rex,” about Clarissa Shields, an Olympic gold medal-winning boxer who hoped that sport would be her ticket out of Flint. “Flint is a place” picks up where T-Rex left off — by taking a deeper look into the lives of the people of Flint, a city with “a strong identity and deep scars.” Canepari approached Decimal to design and develop a digital home for this immense, sprawling project.

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Zackary Canepari
Arts + Culture
Claressa boxing

Claressa Shields embodies Flint — tough, charismatic, unflinching. At age 11 she started boxing and is now the greatest female boxer in the world.

screenshot of the about page

Six sites in one

The project is narratively structured as a series of seven episodes. Each episode focuses on a specific character or a systematic issue and engages with a different community within the city.

Using a variety of media — film, photographs, audio, design, VR — the project includes chapters on the water crisis, the Flint police department, and a collaboration with the youth at the city’s juvenile detention facility. The design of the episode index presents a quick tease of the different stories to be explored.

poster image for a screen recording of the site's table of contents

Decimal completely transformed this project. They were able to execute my vision and elevate it at the same time on both the design and development side.

Zackary Canepari


Go Wildcats!

“The Prom” welcomes readers to the 2016 Flint Northwestern High School Prom. Prom in Flint isn’t your average everyday high school dance — it's a city wide event — and the three photographers involved wanted to celebrate these young people.

The design of this chapter is a collage of the prom universe that can be navigated using images, videos, and quotes from the students.

Photo of Flint is a place showing 6 women in their dresses
poster image of a video recording of the site showing the grid of media around the prom

The Last Dance

As an extension of “The Prom”, a year later, we collaborated with Lorenzo Fanton to create a fanzine that celebrates the last prom of Northwestern High School before it was closed down permanently in 2017. The spreads of the zine were designed to be unfolded and work as a collection of 16 posters.

image of the fanzine created to celebrate the last prom of Northwestern High School

An understaffed police department

Diving deep into the issues that Flint citizens are experiencing with the police, the Flint Police Department chapter, in collaboration with FPD, shows their humanity in the face of very limited resources.

The filmmakers were granted access to the dispatch calls database which we visualized in a data piece in collaboration with creative technologist Genevieve Hoffman. The episode led Netflix to commission FlintTown, a documentary series.

background for screen recording of part 5
poster image for screen recording showing part 5
poster image for the screen recording of the police calls map experience

Internationally recognized

World Press Photo 2019 Interactive of the Year Nominee
Creative Review 2018 Best in Book
LAUS Awards Gold 2018 Editorial
Art Directors Club Europe 2018 Digitial

Transcending the web presence

The multi-platform nature of this project creates a sense of immersion by including elements of virtual reality, interactivity, archival material, photography, graphic design, audio, public installation, animation, a book, and a newspaper.

The project was adapted to be exhibited in different venues including Photoville in Brooklyn, Bronx Documentary Center, and the Cortona Film Festival.

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Photo of photoville booth in Brooklyn
Photo of photoville booth in Brooklyn


Guillermo Brotons
Frederik Delmotte
Zackary Canepari
Transmedia producer
Liza Faktor
Fanzine designer
Lorenzo Fanton
FPD Creative technologist
Genevieve Hoffman