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Sundance Film Festival goes mobile

The Sundance Institute has launched the Sundance Film Festival iPhone application to engage independent film fans from around the world.

The Sundance Institute tapped mobile services firm QuickMobile to help design and develop the application to offer a mobile film-festival experience for both festival-goers and fans worldwide. The Sundance Film Festival claims that it was the first festival to employ the iPhone application as part of its festival tool kit last year and continues their tradition this year by launching the new iPhone application. 

?There are two use cases for the Sundance Film Festival iPhone app,? said Patrick Payne, CEO of QuickMobile, Vancouver, BC. ?Firstly, it is a powerful tool for festival attendees on the ground in Park City.

?The app was designed to be a mobile program guide with trailers, artist interviews, events, full search, GPS venue locator, What's On Now and a full schedule with real-time updates and much more,? he said.

The application was designed for the large audience that cannot attend the film festival but would like to participate in it.

?It?s a virtual film festival experience, if you will, which includes all of the great content Sundance provides along with some exclusive content only available on the iPhone,? Mr. Payne said.

?In addition, it has all the social networking connectivity for Facebook?85,000 fans?Twitter, YouTube and Flickr,? he said. ?Also, the proceeds for the app are for a great cause supporting independent cinema and the Sundance Institute.?

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre.

Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, the Sundance Institute has produced projects such as "Angels in America," "Spring Awakening," "Boys Don't Cry" and "Born into Brothels."

Presenting sponsors of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival include Entertainment Weekly, HP, Honda and the Sundance Channel.

QuickMobile helps organizations to extend their marketing reach and brand into the mobile domain. It focuses on the travel and entertainment sectors and specializes in smartphone enterprise application development, mobile Web sites and text-messaging campaigns.

Sundance targets iPhone users
The Sundance Film Festival iPhone app is featured at Apple?s iTunes Web site and in the App Store.

More than a digital version of the printed festival guide, the application delivers real-time information from the Sundance Institute to film fan?s pockets wherever they may be.

Users are able to search films and events, watch videos and trailers, interact with Twitter and Facebook, upload photos and find venues using location-based services and maps.

The Sundance Institute will update the schedule, add content and add new events in real-time.

Fans can access the Sundance Film Festival film guide and schedule, read about special panels and events, access top stories, meet the participating artists, search films and watch videos.

The customizable home screen lets users rearrange the icons and use multiple homepages.

Sundance application is an example of how new interactive media can be used to create a unique experience for film enthusiasts.

QuickMobile?s strategy is to help companies develop and extend their brand into the realm of mobile with a mobile rich-media user experience synchronized with other mobile services.

The Sundance Institute said that QuickMobile and the support from Telefilm Canada?s New Media Fund allowed the organization to dream up and build mobile services for its audience that it could never have accomplished on its own.

The challenge the Sundance Institute presented to QuickMobile: How do we provide a real-time, interactive program guide to festival attendees?

Also, since bandwidth issues can be a problem at Park City during the festival, the application needed to operate just as well offline as it does with access to the network or WiFi for updates.

?This new level of connectivity opens up a whole new dimension of engagement and interoperability for both the festival organizers and the participants,? Mr. Payne said. ?We used the iPhone platform for this project because of the powerful and compelling interface and rich-media possibilities?I call it ?easability.?

?This app has customizable homepages for personalization and relevance, animated user interface, cover flow features, direct access to social networks, etcetera,? he said. ?These features simply are not possible via a mobile Web interface.?

The Sundance Institute will handle the marketing efforts to promote the application.

?Sundance has amazing marketing reach,? Mr. Payne said. ?They will use their online and social networking channels, as well as the many contacts in publications and film journals to get the word out about the iPhone app.?