Calgary startup Mobovivo, a leading provider of video technology to independent film producers and global media companies, is making a splash at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week. Yesterday, just after the morning screening of Teenage Paparazzo, produced by Entourage star Adrian Grenier and Evan Ferrante (Producer at NY-based Reckless Productions), Mobovivo announced that it has raised $CAD 1.1 million for its Social Stream platform.
"This is a very exciting time for us as we expand our offerings to make the experience of watching TV and movies social and interactive through apps," said Trevor Doerksen, founder and CEO at Mobovivo.
Mobovivo’s products make the viewing experience richer, deeper and more social for audiences. Social Stream allows viewers to watch, surf and interact with TV shows and movies on their iPad and other mobile devices.
The funds raised by Mobovivo will be used to develop the technology behind the company’s Second Screen experience, which is code-named Listen Up. This technology brings social interaction to theatrical and broadcast viewing. Listen Up will help film makers to drive audiences to theatres and broadcast television. It captures the audience’s attention and delivers a rich and connected media experience, leading up to the initial release of a film, or TV show.
“TV is becoming social with new technology and that means people will watch what their friends tell them to watch, not what broadcasters and advertising agencies tell them to watch,” says Kent Speakman, co-founder of Engageia. “Products like Mobovivo’s connect people to one another and to their favourite brands and celebrities.”
While Doerksen couldn’t tell me exactly what a future partnership is going to look like between Mobovivo and the film Teenage Paparazzo, he did say that “we are working with the producers on a release for a product soon to take some of the film’s content online.”
Social media and youth
The Teenage Paparazzo film stars Adrian Grenier as he documents the true story of his relationship with a 13 year-old paparazzo, Austin Visschedyk. Although the film does share a glimpse into what it’s like to be a paparazzo, its main focus is on how the young paparazzo, Visschedyk, becomes obsessed with his own growing celebrity status.
In the film, Grenier attempts to teach Visschedyk and his mother about the potential pitfalls of being in the public eye by showing them how they are actually portrayed on film. After seeing how they would be perceived by theatre audiences, both Austin and his mother make a decision to change for the better.
This is a strong message to youth – many of whom have become enthralled with over-sharing photos and videos of themselves online via social media.
Following the evening screening of the film, Mobovivo CEO Trevor Doerksen, along with Adrian Grenier, Evan Ferrante and Frank Sinopoli from Minggy.com spoke on a panel to discuss the marketing and distribution of films in a social and connected media landscape. The panel was moderated by social media marketing expert Kent Speakman, of Engageia.
The panel discussed how the film sends a good message to youth about the dangers of too much fame. Grenier explained that the film will be presented at 80+ schools across North America as a teaching aid to students. The film will be screened in London, Ontario today at the University of Western Ontario.
The panel also discussed how social media platforms make celebrities and films more accessible to audiences. The beauty of it is that “you don’t have to wait for 3rd party distributors to help you get the message out about your film,” said Ferrante. Doerksen elaborated by saying that social media helps independent film makers to “gather audiences early to drive them to the first window of engagement.”
The Teenage Paparazzo producers are using a new strategy to promote their film. By packing small auditoriums, at TIFF and via their cross-country tours, they’re building a loyal fan base to spread the word about the film. This strategy allows “the fans to create the content (i.e. comments, photos, etc.) about the film promotion for you,” said Doerksen. It also brings Grenier much closer to his fans.
Grenier is creating artwork that showcases both the good and bad sides of fame and social media. He made everyone in the audience take a photo of him on their cell phones and then asked them to e-mail it to his production company. He will be stitching the photos together to create a collage which will be displayed on the Teenage Paparazzo Facebook page.
I highly recommend checking out the film, as it definitely opens your eyes to both sides of the celebrity and paparazzo fame generation machine. We’ll keep you posted on any announcements about the budding Mobovivo partnership with Teenage Paparazzo.