Don’t Turn Off Your Phone During This Horror Pic

'App' chiller invites auds to participate on second screens


LONDON – Forget turning off your smartphone when you go to the movies. Dutch film company 2CFilm has created a pioneering interactive cinema concept for helmer Bobby Boerman’s chiller, “App,” which invites auds to download a free app before the movie starts that enhances the scary storyline.

“App” employs cutting-edge audio digital watermarking technology to give viewers a fully integrated second screen that complements the film, which is sold internationally by High Point Media Group.

Auds will get sinister messages and more at the same time as the film’s protagonist, a young psychology student who is terrorized by a mysterious and malicious app called Iris that has appeared on her smartphone. Pic stars Hannah Hoekstra, Robert de Hoog and Isis Cabolet.

The app also accesses complementary scenes and information beyond what’s on screen.

As Piers Nightingale, High Point’s director of acquisitions puts it, “the story feeds the app and the app feeds the story” although the film will also stand alone for those without smartphones.

The film was produced by 2CFilm, who developed the app in partnership with Service2Media. It is modelled on SyncNow digital watermarking by Civolution, drawing on the same Automatic Content Recognition technology that powers the Shazam and Soundhound apps.

“‘App’ is revolutionary in cinema,” said 2CFilm co-founder Kees Abrahams. “It presents an exciting challenge to the way audiences think about the medium, and this deal means that it has the potential to transform cinema around the world.”

The audio watermark used is inaudible to the human ear so will be present and operational on all iterations of the film, whether theatrical, DVD, TV or other platforms. Alternate language soundtracks will not affect the technology.

Dutch distrib Just Bridge will go wide on 110 screens on April 4 in the Netherlands, a wider release than many Hollywood blockbusters get; “A Good Day to Die Hard” bowed on 100 screens.

“Thinking right inside the minds of its young, technically evolved audience, 2CFilm shows thrilling creativity and innovation in the way it seeks to unite different media platforms,” said Carey Fitzgerald, managing director at High Point.