×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sony’s Cyber Thriller ‘Searching’ Carries Warning for Rise Tech Event

Old-fashioned movies are not the kind of content one expects to find at Rise, the glittering tech industry conference in Hong Kong, where YouTube stars rub shoulders with VC investors, and Amazon hosts developer workshops. So Sony was breaking ground Wednesday with the screening of a theatrical film.

Searching,” however, could hardly have been better selected for the Rise audience of Chinese entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley geeks, and Hong Kong money men. The film sees John Cho as an Asian-American, Bay Area exec who must trace his missing-presumed-kidnapped daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.

Cho and Google executive-turned-film director Aneesh Chaganty were on hand after the Wednesday screening to describe “Searching” as a “conventional thriller told in an unconventional way.”

The film, presented largely as a succession of computer, gadget and TV screens, and made largely in a lab, immediately earned chuckles from the Rise audience. Its opening shot is a familiar Microsoft wallpaper, which becomes a slowly-populated desktop.

The purpose of Sony and Chaganty in showing the movie at the convention, however, goes further than providing light entertainment for the tech crowd. In partnership with TechCrunch at Rise, Sony and Agnaty used a Thursday panel discussion to announce a competitive hackathon with a serious objective.

The goal of the hackathon is to actively seek (Google) Chrome Extensions that can help parents and children be more mindful of their digital lives. “In ‘Searching,’ tech is both at the heart of the problem and also the tool used to reunite father and daughter so we found the best way the film can engage and challenge tech professional to think of new, innovative ways to safeguard minors online is through this hackathon,” Sony said.

Tech has thrown up series of new age social problems that range from FOMO to online stalking and attention deficit disorder in the real world. A few months ago, the World Health Organization declared tech addiction as a disease. There are now over 300 internet fasting camps in Asia and Facebook, Google and Apple all announced features that help people be more mindful of their digital lives. Cyber safety is now a legitimate concern of the modern parent. The hackathon, which comes with a $9,000 cash prize, is intended to place the focus back on the people using the technology rather than the gadgets and software.

Sony and Screen Gems, which acquired the picture at Sundance earlier this year, have set it for an Aug 3. Stateside release.

More Digital

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

  • Dan Howell

    YouTube Star Dan Howell Comes Out as Gay: 'It Gets So Much Better'

    It’s Pride Month, and popular YouTube vlogger Dan Howell had a message for fans that he’d been working on for a year: “Basically, I’m Gay,” he shared in a video Thursday. In the 45-minute video, Howell discussed coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his thoughts on labels that people use to define themselves [...]

  • Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment

    Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment as Industry Deepens

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is expanding its involvement in the Korean film and TV industries by greenlighting several new shows and renewing others. “When we started three years ago, we had a high degree of confidence that Korean drama would work well in Asia, but we had no internal metrics of our own,” Korean content [...]

  • Instagram Logo

    Instagram Outage: Facebook’s Photo Sharing Service Went Down For Multiple Hours

    Instagram faced another major outage Thursday afternoon, with users from around the world reporting that they weren’t able to access Facebook’s photo sharing service via its app and website. An Instagram spokesperson told Variety around 5pm PT that the issue had been resolved: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content