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The British Film Institute runs the largest film screening event in the UK, showing more than 300 features over 15 days. The BFI sought to create a festival guide app combining impressive looks with an intuitive user experience.
The BFI wanted an app which would fulfil a number of criteria. It sought to enhance the experience of festival goers, help film industry representatives to navigate through the entirety of the festival programme, and to promote the festival on a global level, allowing Android and iPhone users around the world to access news and information from the London Film Festival.
The BFI festival database was dynamically synchronised with the apps to ensure full listings and web content were available on the go. The apps allowed fast, offline browsing which would automatically update when an internet connection became available, providing the optimal user experience and meaning users were kept up to date with any late changes. This made it incredibly easy to find out more information on a feature, watch trailers, find a venue or just browse through the hugely varied programme. The ability to refine by date and time along with the My Festival planner allowed visitors to plan their festival experience in advance. Users could also see what events were happening nearby, taking advantage of location technology to provide convenient options for catching an extra feature.
In addition to listings, the BFI Live section on the app provided up to date news and content. This allowed users catch up with stars on the red carpet, watch coverage of premieres, and view interviews with directors at the festival. As well as being a valuable guide to the festival, the BFI Live section allowed those not able to attend to get a real flavour of the London Film Festival. The app was integrated with e-mail and social networking sites, encouraging users to share their favourite films and performances with their friends through facebook and twitter.
The BFI London Film Festival apps were hugely successful. They exceeded the expectations of the BFI and the festival goers who used it. Even Apple was impressed, the iPhone app was featured front and centre of the UK app store following its release.
However, the true success of the apps is demonstrated by the levels of engagement with users at the festival; the apps allowed tens of thousands of people to get more from the London Film Festival and helped the BFI to reach out through an important new channel.