×
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

  • Cinedigm-Comcast-X1-Contv-Docurama

    Comcast Xfinity X1 Adds Cinedigm's CONtv and Docurama to VOD Lineup

    Comcast’s Xfinity X1 now offers Cinedigm’s subscription-based video services CONtv and Docurama, continuing the expansion of the cable operator’s internet-delivered entertainment options. CONtv, priced at $4.99 per month, offers a selection of classic cult films and series, and Docurama ($2.99 per month) provides a library of documentaries. The two Cinedigm properties follow the launch of [...]

  • Sinemia

    Sinemia Shuts Down U.S. Movie-Ticket Subscription Service

    Sinemia, a would-be rival to MoviePass, is closing down its U.S. operations — telling customers it could not find “a path to sustainability” amid legal headaches, competitive pressures and the challenging economics of the business model. The company announced the shutdown in a notice on its website Thursday. “While we are proud to have created [...]

  • APOS: Asia Streamer Hooq Heads for

    APOS: Asia Streamer Hooq Heads for 100 Original Shows

    Asian video streaming service Hooq has committed itself to developing at least 100 original shows and films by the end of this year. They will be produced in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India, and range in genre terms from horror to comedy and from factual to lifestyle. The company has begun the immediate release [...]

  • APOS: Turner and Tencent Reteam on

    APOS: Turner and Tencent Reteam on Tuzki-Starring 'Second Time'

    Turner Asia Pacific and China’s Tencent are joining forces for “Second Time Around,” a Chinese drama that will air later this year. The series makes use of Tuzki, a Turner owned animated character that has become famous as an emoticon in Tencent’s WeChat universe. Turner is licensing the character and will invest in the series [...]

  • eOne Names Bill Wilson Senior VP

    eOne Names Bill Wilson Senior VP

    Entertainment One (“eOne”) has tapped Bill Wilson as Senior Vice President Digital Operations and Innovation, Music, the company announced today. Wilson will oversee all aspects of digital strategy across the company’s music business, including label service, talent management, music publishing and live entertainment, according to the announcement.  Wilson will be based in New York City and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content