Teleport yourself to a cinema in the Big Apple

How Rethink is working with director Craig Goodwill to have his entire film broadcast live via Periscope.
Patch Town 2

What if we were to say that tonight you could watch a film for free, in its entirety, on your phone, while it’s playing live at a cinema in the Big Apple? No, it won’t be in HD, and yes, it is legal.

The film is called Patch Town, and at precisely 7:20pm (EST), the credits will begin to roll in front of a room full of people in New York City, along with anywhere else in the world for anyone who has the real-time video streaming Periscope app on their phone.

We now live in a world where being in two places at once is possible. “Think of it as a form of teleportation. You can take yourself and your perspective anywhere in the world [and vice versa],” says Rethink creative director Dre Labre, who worked with the director to make this happen.

The dark, retro-futuristic tale (see trailer below) of what happens to Cabbage Patch kids when they grow up to inevitably (and sadly) become abandoned, was written and directed by Craig Goodwill, a film and commercial director who is based out of Toronto and LA. Goodwill owns his own commercial production company on the side, Culture Creatives & Co., and was invited to show the original short film version of Patch Town (it was recently adapted into a feature-length film, which is the one being broadcast via Periscope tonight) in Cannes as well as at TIFF.

While the film makes its major debut on the app, the director will not only be there in person, but available through text messages too. Using the in-app chat room (which overlays the live video footage, with anyone being able to join in the conversation), Goodwill will answer questions from anyone watching the stream. “Knowing that part of the magic is the live commentary that happens, we decided to do an AMA (or Ask Me Anything) in tandem with the live stream,” says Labre.

As far as Labre knows, this is the first time that a film will be streamed live for free via the Twitter-owned app. “No one’s really done this before,” adds Labre. “Movie theatres have premiered trailers [and behind the scenes footage] on Periscope, but we’re doing the whole movie, from beginning to end.”

Since the app is still so new, and the film is independent, Labre doesn’t expect a mass audience, but then, that’s not really the point. It’s not necessarily meant for people to watch the film as they would normally, says Labre. They can do that by downloading it via iTunes. It’s more for the intimate experience of being able to converse with the director in real-time, he adds.

The folks over at HBO and Showtime have been wrestling with piracy concerns around real-time video streaming ever since the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in Vegas. And with dozens, if not hundreds, of Periscope users essentially stealing live and programmed content by pointing their phone at the television or boxing ring, who can blame them? While marketers and broadcasters try to wrap their heads around the issues, Labre believes that apps like Periscope and rival Meerkat, or any other permutation of the live-streaming model, aren’t going anywhere.

“There was that moment in time when people didn’t really understand the power of Twitter and then someone tweeted the plane in the Hudson river and the media went on about how citizen journalists got there before anyone else could. We haven’t had that moment yet with Periscope. But it’s something that’s going to happen.”

You can watch the live stream via username PatchTown on Periscope at 7:20pm (EST) on June 5