Subway screens to debut ‘hybrid programming’

The company responsible for Toronto's subway screens is launching an urban film festival with Art for Commuters. They're calling it a proactive response to the whole 'public space' issue.

Toronto’s Onestop Media Group, which controls 160 LCD screens on the subway platforms of the TTC, has partnered with Art for Commuters (A4C) to give Canadian video artists a chance at exposure via the transit network. A4C’s ‘Toronto Urban Film Festival: Cinema by Citizens Celebrating the City’ will air on the Onestop network from September 8-14.

Video artists, animators, filmmakers or anybody with a video-capable mobile device can submit one-minute silent videos that address several themes (one for each day of the festival): Forgotten Places, Uncommon Spaces, Big Smoke – Big Dreams, The Imaginary City, 905 to the 416, Urban Ennui and My Town. Entries can be sent via snail mail or uploading by following instructions at the festival’s microsite,

Each day of the festival, the public will be able to vote for their favourite video, either online or by text messaging. The public favourites will air every 10 minutes on the last day. First, second, third and viewer’s choice awards will be handed out on September 22 at a ceremony at Toronto’s Drake Hotel – from a trip to Jamaica to cameras, iPods and giftcards.

A4C president Sharon Switzer says the growth of advertising in public spaces ‘is both a necessary means of supplemental funding and a much-debated and oft-maligned commercial strategy. Our mandate is to enter into this debate with a proactive response that embraces these contested visual spaces as new, hybrid programming opportunities.’ Onestop Media Group president Michael Girgis says the company is looking forward to launching several other programs with A4C in the future.

Onestop’s clients include the TTC, the Hilton family of brands, Sporting Life, The Wall Street Journal and the Retail Council of Canada.