How Films Now Incorporate Your Phone Into the Storyline

How Films Now Incorporate Your Phone Into the Storyline

The Future of Entertainment series by iQ by Intel and PSFK Labs is highlighting the latest in entertainment innovation. Over the course of 10 weeks at, we are showcasing new products, services and technologies, exploring the changing face of how we consume, share and create content and getting reactions from Intel experts. 

As part of a trend we’re calling Multi-Dimensional Entertainment, we’re taking a look at ways in which creators are developing unique content for multi-screen and multi-device users.

According to Nielsen’s latest survey of connected device owners, nearly half of U.S. smartphone and tablet owners – 46% and 43%, respectively – said they use their devices as second screens daily while watching TV. More than 2/3 said they used their mobile devices as second viewing screens multiple times per week during the first quarter of 2013.

While these same behaviors are frowned up by the film industry and the general viewing public – shunning patrons who pull out their glowing screens during a flick – one Dutch filmmaker named Bobby Boermans is trying to encourage this very activity. His latest film, App, asks audiences to keep their phones out by inviting them to download a free app, which displays content synced with the horror movie’s plot. The thriller follows a student named Anna who is obsessed with social media and finds herself transfixed by a mysterious app that sends her cryptic codes. Any audience member who downloads the app will be receive the same codes as Anna, along with other content that adds another dimension of interaction to their movie-watching experience.  

While the second screen experience isn’t essential for enjoying the story, it brings an interesting new dynamic to a story that most viewers won’t be familiar with. In an interview with Fast Company, Robin de Levita, chief creative officer of Imagine Nation, the media company behind the film, explains “The movie works perfectly without the second screen. It’s a well paced thriller, but there are 35 moments in the movie when you can get additional information or content that will enrich the experience.”

While these type of interactive stories are still in their very nascent stages, it’s exciting to see the second-screen experience move beyond the living room. A social setting like a movie theater is rife with opportunities to engage audience members not only with the plot line, but also with each other, adding an entirely new wrinkle to the experience.

Still curious about the film’s concept? Check out the trailer (in Dutch) below:

Tomorrow, we’ll go behind the scenes with App creator Bobby Boermans to get his thoughts on what the future holds for second screen and multi-device entertainment.

Be sure to tune in.