App (Interactive Film)

Thursday, April 24 • 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Qualcomm Institute Auditorium

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  • Thursday, April 24th
    5:00pm - 7:00pm
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[Bobby Boermans 79 minutes, Netherlands, 2013]
Second-screen cinema becomes a reality with App, a Dutch techno-thriller that asks audiences to download an iPhone/Android app prior to the screening. As the story unfolds on the big screen, audiences’ phones will vibrate, beaming in parallel narratives and alternate angles. On the two screens, we follow a college student who discovers that a mysterious app has been downloaded on her smart phone. Things get weird. She receives random messages and videos. The phone’s speaker and video camera turn on at inopportune moments. It’s the typical b-grade technology-infringes-on-our-bodies-and-souls narrative, but never before has the screening itself gleefully infiltrated our laps, taunting us while punishing us with the very technology vilified in the film. For the audience, having a trashy thriller violate our virtual privacy (i.e. our beloved smart phones) is an uncanny experience, especially if our phones indeed go off during the screening or when we turn to our phones mid-screening out of habit.

Pre-screening Skype chat with director Boermans and Filmatic Curator Brian Hu!

Anna, a student at the University of Amsterdam, lives with her best friend Sophie and balances psychology classes with supporting her brother and his recovery following a traumatic motorcycle accident. She’s never far from her cellphone, and after a night of partying in the dorms, Anna wakes up groggy and hung over, only to find that a new app has been inexplicably added to it. Initially helpful and clever, IRIS soon begins behaving mysteriously, answering personal questions it shouldn’t know the answers to, and sending inappropriate images to her contacts. When it becomes clear she can’t simply delete the unwanted evil app, Anna’s efforts to confront it will set in motion a fearful series of events that will put her life, and that of her roommate and her fragile brother, in fatal danger.

The app tech is very simple - we encourage viewers to download the app before getting to the theater if possible (it’s a large file), which can be done on both iOS and Android devices by simply texting IRIS to 97000 and following the appropriate links in the reply message. Using the app is equally simple: open it as the movie begins and tap Start when prompted in the film’s credits. Then set your phone down - the app responds to audio cues in the film and will vibrate when there is second-screen content.

“APP is a brilliant attempt at putting a new spin on the horror genre. “-UK Horror Scene

“The film is about how communication has changed our lives completely-maybe even for the worst. Even if it is distracting, it’s sort of what the movie is about.” — Fast Company