Tearing a piece of paper for audience voting at a film festival is about as low as low-tech gets, a poor fit with the high-tech Palo Alto Intl. Film Fest.

But Palo Alto has found a way to consign those slips of paper to the dustbin of history.

Silicon Valley-based Kaazing has partnered with the fest to create a real-time online voting system for filmgoers. Instant Film Feedback lets audiences vote from their smartphones — and for festgoers without one, Palo Alto will keep iPads outside each theater.

The system has three components: voting, feedback and interactive. About voting, fest managing director Alexandra Ippolite says, “I’ve worked many film festivals, and I know how ridiculous that process is. It takes days to count all of them, and the human error involved can be pretty bad.”

On the instant feedback, voters enter a secure code, vote, and then are able to see updates from the fest website on their phones or on monitors throughout the fest.

Ippolite calls the feedback component “the nerd meets the creative.” It includes optional additional post-screening questions from the filmmakers. The interactive portion, with games and questionnaires, helps pass time in often-cumbersome pre-screening lines.

“It’s more than just voting,” says Manuel Hoffmann, Kaazing’s VP of business development, “we’re looking to enhance the experience of the moviegoers.”

For use beyond the fest, says Hoffmann, “We’ve taken away all the complexity of Web communication so people can focus on the app development itself. Someday we’ll even be able to use it for political elections.”

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