×
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

  • How Netflix Uses Technology: A Look

    How Netflix Wants to Take on Its Competition in 2019 and Beyond

    “They’re going to do some great shows. I’m going to be envious.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings practiced humility when he was asked about new competitors like Disney’s and Apple’s upcoming streaming services this week. “These are amazing, large, well-funded companies with very significant efforts,” he said. “But you do your best job when you have [...]

  • AVOD streaming video OTT users -

    Comcast Unveils 'Flex,' a Streaming Service for Internet Customers

    Comcast said it would unveil “Flex,” a hub for its Internet-only customers that allows them to stream and purchase shows and movies, the latest effort by a traditional cable provider to latch on to customers who are migrating to broadband services, The Philadelphia cable giant will also make free, ad-supported services available via the service, [...]

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime

    Facebook's 'Red Table Talk' Garners Daytime Emmy Nomination

    Facebook is now in the awards hunt: Its popular original series “Red Table Talk” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith was nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy. It appears to be the first-ever Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for a Facebook-funded show, although a company rep was unable to confirm that. “Red Table Talk” is nominated in [...]

  • MLB-TV

    MLB.TV Joins Lineup on Amazon's Prime Video Channels

    Amazon has launched MLB.TV on Prime Video Channels for Prime members in the U.S., just in time for the start of Major League Baseball’s 2019 regular season start next week. The MLB.TV package provides regular-season out-of-market baseball games, both live and on-demand. Prime members in the U.S. can subscribe to MLB.TV for $24.99 per month, [...]

  • Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid

    Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid First Earnings Report

    Proving that good is not always good enough, Tencent Music Entertainment shares fell 9 percent after the Chinese company released its 2018 earnings, wiping out $2.7 billion in market capitalization of what is arguably the biggest audio music service in the world. Chalk it up to big expectations and a short track record: Wednesday’s earnings [...]

  • PewDiePie - YouTube

    PewDiePie vs. T-Series: YouTube Channels Keep Battling for No. 1 Spot

    UPDATED, 3/21: The back-and-forth competition for YouTube’s No. 1 spot continues. T-Series on Thursday again pulled ahead of YouTube’s PewDiePie as the No. 1 most-subscribed channel on the platform — but again the vlogger-gamer-comedian fans’ rallied behind him to retake the position. In a months-long symbolic running battle for the title, PewDiePie and his fans have [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content