After Dark Film Fest unspools social network campaign

New Toronto festival lures film buffs with a cast of genre-related characters via MySpace and YouTube roles.

The inaugural Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which bows October 20th to 24th, has an impressive online social network presence, thanks to Halifax-based agency Extreme Group. ‘We built a character to represent each genre [horror, sci-fi and kung fu] and treated these characters like they’re real people,’ explains Shawn King, Extreme’s VP/CD, adding that as ‘real people,’ it made sense to set the characters up with their own websites with ‘webcams,’ as well as MySpace, YouTube and even LavaLife accounts. ‘It’s quite an elaborate little web – the ability to use all of these other mediums is just great.’

Luckily, the campaign seems to be holding up in the court of online public opinion: user ratings and feedback on YouTube are all positive. For his part, King wasn’t worried. ‘If we thought the work was horrible, we wouldn’t have put it there.’

All efforts drive users to the festival’s main microsite,, which has links to all of the related sites and profiles. And, offline, posters around Toronto advertise, ‘roommates wanted’ to live with the characters, and also drive website traffic. The campaign also includes banner ads on social networking and film-related sites.

The Toronto fest chose to work with Extreme because of its work for the Atlantic Film Festival.