Asset management company Aviron Capital has acquired a substantial equity stake in Kino Industries, developer of CtrlMovie, a patented interactive movie experience that gives audiences seamless control over the direction of movie narrative via a smartphone app. Aviron Capital, financed primarily by BlackRock, the world’s largest wealth management company, also funds film distribution company Aviron Pictures. The involved parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the deal.
Kino Industries’ CtrlMovie empowers filmmakers to create interactive feature films that allow audiences to influence the storyline. Using a simple, yet elegant app on their cell phones, viewers vote to decide what characters will do at pivotal points in the narrative.
That means the same film will have a different plot, ending and even running time depending on the audience’s choices. And unlike previous attempts at interactive filmmaking, it all happens seamlessly, with no break in the onscreen action. The result is a deeply engaging and highly communal movie-watching experience, unlike anything that’s come before.
Read Related Entertainment articles here
In addition to the multi-optional storytelling technology, Kino Industries has devised a proprietary suite of software to facilitate the writing, producing and editing of such content, as well as the in-theater hardware to enable its theatrical exhibition. CtrlMovie product can also be distributed and viewed on other platforms across mobile, home entertainment channels and gaming consoles.
Aviron Capital will manage the capital structure of Kino Industries, including evaluating the merits of expanding the investment pool to include other strategic partners such as content creators, global distributors and digital marketing companies. Aviron will also finance the deployment and installation of CtrlMovie-compatible equipment in movie theaters to prime the market for the launch and continued exhibition of films utilizing the CtrlMovie technology.
The investment represents a broadening of Aviron Capital’s interests and holdings in entertainment.
“Our core business through our investment in Aviron Pictures is the distribution of theatrical releases,” says Aviron Capital Chairman William Sadleir, “
…and what struck us about CtrlMovie – beyond the innovation and elegant flow of the experience – is that it has the potential to introduce younger audiences to the movie-going experience and bring them back to the theater. Rather than shunning the use of mobile devices in theaters, their phones can be valuable tools to actively enjoy a communal event, in real life, together.
The benefits of the technology to influence box office are significant. Savvy consumers who want to exert greater control over the progression of the story will enlist large groups of friends to attend and vote in concert with them, and the opportunity to experience alternate versions of the film will stimulate repeat viewing. Moreover, what we can learn about story plot-points from the decisions that audiences make is a fascinating and valuable asset.”
“We are filmmakers first and foremost,” explains Kino co-CEO Chady Eli Mattar. “Our goal is to preserve the communal, big-screen experience while promoting the art of cinema by transporting audiences to a new realm of movie-going and providing filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors with the tools, support and technology to take them there. We are excited to welcome Aviron Capital as both a strategic investor and a valuable partner with whom we can make a real difference. They share our passion and enthusiasm for CtrlMovie and moved very quickly to prove it to us by investing in the company.”
Kino Industries was formed when Zurich-based technology developer CtrlMovie teamed up with Los Angeles-based production company Silvatar Media to both produce and oversee production of CtrlMovie content, independently and in collaboration with other producers and studios, and to deploy CtrlMovie technology to movie theaters worldwide. The technology was debuted by Kino at the AT&T Developer Program’s Shape conference in 2017.
Kino produced the proof of concept film Late Shift, which was co-written and directed by Kino co-CEO Tobias Weber and features 180 decision points leading up to one of seven potential endings. The film wowed critics and audiences alike at film and gaming festivals around the world: London’s Sunday Times raved, “Late Shift feels like the most important film of the year,” and The Guardian called it a “digital experience to look out for.”
The CtrlMovie technology is currently available for license and has already been tapped by content creators, including major studios and leading independent film companies. Aviron Pictures will also be pursuing CtrlMovie releases for theatrical distribution.