Sydney Film Festival 2011 - eFirst

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Mobile Awards - Finalist

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Project Team

Simon Mawdesley, Louise Angrilli, Hanh Nguyen, Rob Raulings, Mike Collishaw

Project Overview

The Sydney Film Festival 2011 iPhone application provides a rich customer experience, from the adrenaline rush of launching of the program, to buying tickets and entry to sessions with scannable tickets from the face of the phone.

Not only a one-stop portable guide to all sessions in the program, with supporting trailers, attributes, and Wishlist tracking, but also real time integrated ticketing, with live ticket, pass and merchandise sales, and downloadable tickets for the day. Designed to be a completely paperless, accessible tool to the Sydney Film Festival, the app removes the hard work of buying tickets and leaves more time for cinematic pleasures.

Project Brief

Festivals are like fireworks; all colour and flare and chaos, and then, all of a sudden, it’s quiet again. You just need to make sure you don’t miss it. The SFF2011 iPhone application is designed to minimise the barriers that exist between knowing about an event and attending it by making the program (and social aspects around it) as accessible as possible.

After discussion with the client the final app was to:

Take advantage of new technology to create a portable, seamless and more spontaneous festival experience
To be technically innovative by incorporating features for browsing, buying, and redeeming tickets, as well as paperless ticketing access to venues by scanning a barcode from the phone at the cinema door.

Project Innovation / Need

The festival/ticketing space in Australia has been waiting for a serious attempt at festival apps – previous apps have skirted the periphery of direct integration to ticketing systems, usually with no ability to buy tickets or receive updated information in app.

As an extension of a ticketing system, the iPhone application communicates with a central server to send and receive data to the ticketing website, POS systems and on-site ticket scanners, allowing a customer to purchase in a cinema queue, download the ticket to their iPhone, and present the ticket for scanning at the door. The app shares customer accounts and data securely via SSL encryption, while credit card transactions are processed in real time in the Australian banking network.

The SFF2011 app is both a marketing and ticketing tool, with the ability to:

- Browse and search the program by title (A-Z), date, venue, pathway and country
- Buy tickets securely by credit card, anywhere, anytime
- Buy Flexipasses and redeem sessions immediately without any further payment
- Go paperless: download tickets to the iPhone for scanning at the cinema door
- Create a Wishlist of must-see films
- Browse ‘What’s On’ at the festival daily
- Identify sessions that are Selling Fast / Sold Out
- Shake the app on any program screen for random selection!
- Watch film trailers within the app
- Access directions to sessions through Venue maps
- Get the latest festival news and gossip through Twitter, Facebook, You Tube
- Check the weather in Sydney before stepping out the door

User Experience

A few experiences of the Sydney Film Festival cinema devotees:

- Around town: “Such a great idea! Bought a multipass (another great idea) and booked all my tickets, including one on the bus on the way to the theatre. Top job!.”
- Convenience: “Great app. I love how you can dl your tickets onto your phone. Great for people like myself who are pretty forgetful!”
- Ease: “Wow – what an app. Once we booked flexipass tickets online, came back to the iPhone, surfed our choices and booked our preferences in seconds. So easy to use and tickets sent electronically as well. Great work.”
- Travel: “Very helpful as I will be in Sydney for this festival. The app helps you to get to and from all your shows, and I just booked tickets to four different films, and then to my surprise, the tickets showed up on my screen. How awesome. Well done on a great app!!”
- Paperless: "Like the QR code tickets best, printing tickets is so 2010 ;)"


"The SFF iPhone app is the best event app I've ever used. Simple good looking interface, informative, easy to navigate and book tickets. A really good example of how to make a user friendly app. I loved the fact that I didn't need paper tickets. Congratulations to the team involved in the development … it was more successfully realised than some of the films at the festival!!!"

Project Marketing

The SFF2011 application received extensive exposure during the festival On Sale period from the start of May, including coverage on the website, eNews, social media networks, posters, Box Office skins, and a stand out promotion in the Sydney Film Festival printed program, with an overall distribution of 340,000 copies.

The app was extremely well received by the festival public with the app being rated 5 stars at the conclusion of the Sydney Film Festival.