Shh..tell no one

This is the slogan of the film community Secret Cinema whose stated mission is to change the way we watch films. The whole concept is built upon secrecy, when signing up you do not know which film you are going to watch or where. Instead you are given clues via email, Facebook updates and twitter and are encouraged to engage with other Secret Cinema goers to build on the secrecy. Their own definition of the concept is “challenging and ground-braking cinema, screening mystery films in extraordinary locations”. It has been around since 2008 and has now grown to over 103,000 followers on Facebook and even spread to other parts of the world with branches in Paris and Berlin.

So how is this new cinema experience affecting the audience? It allows the audience to engage before the actual screening and on the night you are transformed into this “surreal reality” where you actually become a part of the film you are about to watch. Having been a part of Secret Cinema for the screening of one flew over the Cuckoo’s nest I must say that it left memories for life and was something completely different. We were participating in activities and changing the story of the film as we went along, it was a feeling of being immersed into the film. Being surrounded by actors and main characters from the film you easily slipped into the role of being just another mental patient. It is demanding the audience to take part because without that the experience would be lost.

The whole concept of it being a secret is well kept through all of the different online platforms. Their website is dark, mysterious and does not provide a lot of information as with the rest of their online platforms such as Facebook, twitter and blog. It is all based on you registering and then for them to contact you. Their audience range from young to middle age and I think their design of Secret Cinema is meeting the expectations of the audience where it doesn’t matter how old you are.

This project is a good example of a transmedia project however. It is based on a feature film and then spread across digital platforms and the interactive screening. It is making the audience participate in new ways instead of just going to the cinema where you sit down, watch and leave. It is a way for you to change the story, change what happens and create your own. You are always surrounded by updates, clues and other projects via their online platforms where you can comment and get involved in between events. I do not think it should expand to other platforms because that would make it less of a secret and Secret Cinema is already available on the most commonly used ones. Those platforms already cover everything you might want with updates, films, pictures and opportunities for the audience to communicate with each other.

After all, what is Secret Cinema without a bit of secrecy surrounding it?

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