Sundancing at home — and on the web
By Vince Horiuchi
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Jan 12 2013 01:01AM
Sundance Film Festival organizers are using the full force of the web and social media to let festivalgoers know what’s hot and what’s not at this year’s event.
Here’s a look at some of the added features being implemented to the festival’s website and other digital initiatives.
Web site • The festival’s official web portal, sundance.org/festival, includes a new feature that will let film lovers know when any movie at the event will finally land in theaters or on TV.
For the first time, Sundance has partnered with New York-based GoWatchIt, a web service for listing which movies you want to be alerted about.
When users go to the online Sundance Film Festival movie guide, each film now has a "Watch It" button. Click on that, and you can add the movie to a queue. The free GoWatchIt service will then send you a notification on your phone when that movie begins playing at a theater near you or on a movie-streaming service you subscribe to such as Netflix or Hulu.
This feature is also available on Sundance’s mobile phone app. On the app, the user can shoot a picture of the movie’s poster to put that movie in the GoWatchIt queue. "It’s like sending yourself a reminder," said Joseph Beyer, director of digital initiatives for the Sundance Institute. "It’s the latest, greatest thing that sofware and technology can let us do."
The festival website also will be updated daily by about 40 festival staffers, who will continually add blog posts, tweets, videos and photos.
The "Meet the Artists" series includes video interviews with the directors from all of the competition films including, for the first time, international filmmakers. Many of these interviews are already posted.
The site also serves as the portal to see past festival movies that can be streamed directly to your computer. At sundance.org/nowplaying, 32 films originally screened at the festival are now available for viewing for free through a Sundance initiative called "Artists Services." The program helps independent filmmakers get their projects financed and distributed through video streaming services such as YouTube.
Mobile app • Sundance organizers said they decided to pare down this year’s mobile app to include the essential features, which include the film and event schedule, festival information, maps to theaters, and links to videos and Twitter feeds.
A new feature tracks the festival’s shuttle buses through GPS, so festivalgoers can know how long it might take until the next bus arrives.
The app is available for free for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.
Social media • Sundance has eight Twitter feeds, plus the hashtag #Sundance. Go to sundance.org/updates/social-media/ to see the list.
As before, organizers are inviting guest tweeters to take over the festival’s main Twitter account for a day. This year, musician Dave Grohl and documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker are scheduled to participate. More names will be announced later.
Photos can be posted to Sundance’s official Instagram account by including #Sundance in the caption. Those photos and tweets can be seen on digital signage at a number of locations throughout Park City.
And for the first time, Sundance has established its own page on Pinterest at pinterest.com/sundancefest.
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