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Film 4.0 to discuss Dreams Of A Life cross-platform success during SXSW panel

Film4.0 head Anna Higgs will moderate the Monday panel; street-based game to launch during SXSW.

Anna Higgs, the new head of Film4.0, will be at SXSW moderating a cross-platform panel on Monday, March 12 at 11 am at the Austin Convention Center. The case study will look at the unique digital plans for Film 4’s theatrical documentary Dreams of A Life (which also screens at SXSW).

Carol Morley directed the film, about a young woman in London who died alone in her flat, with nobody discovering her body for three years.

The film’s world has been expanded by a website, Dreams of Your Life (www.dreamsofyourlife.com), and now a new mobile game Would Anyone Miss You?, both created by digital agency Hide & Seek.

The website featured a narrative and questions from award-winning writer AL Kennedy alongside photography by Lottie Davies.

Dreams of a Life’s plans were created by Film 4 senior commission editor Katherine Butler and multiplatform commissioner Hilary Perkins as Film 4’s first cross-platform commission before Film4.0 launched but should offer an idea of the types of plans that Higgs will work on going forward. (The BFI and the British Council backed the SXSW initiatives.)

“The feature documentary is a project in and of itself, and the digital properties work with the themes of the film but exist in and of themselves as well. It’s about telling stories in parallel places,” Higgs says.

 “What’s been wonderful from the stats of [Dreams of Your Life] so far is that we can demonstrably show that we brought a new audience to the feature documentary,” adds Higgs, who took the post of head of the new Film 4.0 in September 2011. “Tens of thousands of new audience members came across the film, but that’s because it was a quality creative experience in its own right.”

The website was an intense 25-30 minute experience for each visitor so having more than 16,500 users “is a really big win,” Higgs adds.  

The website and streetgame can be used anywhere the film is being launched. “You’ve got this brilliant toolkit when you’re selling the film.  It’s a wider-world toolkit that any distributor can plug in and use in their territory.”

The panel will include speakers Hilary Perkins, Channel 4’s Multiplatform Commissioning Editor, Drama & Film; Hide& Seek development director Margaret Robertson; and Hide&Seek director Alex Fleetwood.

The new game will run March 10-14 at SXSW and more information can be found at http://www.wouldanyonemissyou.com/ or on Twitter @WAMYGAME.

Higgs, an NFTS graduate and former Screen International Star of Tomorrow, had been an independent producer at Quark Films (which is now run by her former partner in that company, Gavin Humphries). They worked on films including previous SXSW selection feature documentary The People vs George Lucas.

She sees the new role as an extension of what she was doing as an independent producer. “Film4.0 will essentially about helping filmmakers innovate around how they tell their stories,” she says.

Film4.0 has a £1m commissioning budget every year (part of the larger £15m annually at Film4).

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