A hero image from "The Boat" project.

The Boat

An enduring story, told like no other.

Embark on an epic and tragic tale of separation, loss and love in this hand-crafted interactive graphic novel.

The Boat tells the story of 16-year-old Mai, who is sent in search of a new life alone on a boat after the fall of Saigon. This graphic novel, adapted from Nam Le's short story of the same name, blends hand-drawn illustrations with animations and traditional Vietnamese song to create a deeply touching interactive narrative. Mai's voyage is beautifully reimagined in a way that invites the audience to connect with her struggles from beginning to end.

Really inspirational...

The word ‘read’ doesn’t really do it justice. This is a comic that you experience...


Quintessential scrollytelling.

Still remarkable. Beautiful... storytelling on the web

This is an incredible piece of storytelling that could only exist on the web. I'm insanely jealous.

The best storytelling site I've seen so far this year, hands-down.

The Project

What sets this graphic novel apart is its focus on gradually building the narrative through rich imagery and dialogue that shines an entirely new light on the personal toll of displacement.

The illustration and narrative style of the website is representative of the twisting and turning journey that the author’s family took to eventually settle in Australia. New York-based Australian illustrator Matty Huynh’s parents also left Vietnam for Australia in the years following the fall of Saigon.

Gold - General Website - Experimental
Gold - General Website - Art
DocLab Official Selection
Finalist - Site of the Year
Finalist - Site of the Day
Site of the Day
Finalist - Adobe Cutting Edge Project of the Year
Finalist - Best Editorial

What We Did

A scope near as epic as the narrative itself, The Boat incorporates over 700 of Matty Huynh’s hand drawn illustrations, lovingly digitised and reimagined as an animated, interactive whole.

Our contribution included getting in on the ground floor with the adpation, imagining the prose as a graphic novel, and leading the concepting of interactive and animation devices at the ideation stage, through to the build process.

  • Production Art Direction, Design, Motion Graphics, Web Development
  • Technology ThreeJS, GLSL, Javascript, Bespoke Typography

Distil Immersive live and work on Gadigal land. We acknowledge and pay our respects to past, present and emerging Traditional Custodians and Elders of this Country and we recognise the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.