SEARCHING Director Aneesh Chaganty made a movie told through the lens of social media. To support the movie release, turn to the ultimate platform built for storytelling and create a series of short films on YouTube using up-and-coming filmmaking creators.
Working directly with YouTube Space LA, five creators, with a combined social reach of over 7 million, were hand selected based on the quality filmmaking prowess on their channels. Each creator was tasked to write and shoot a short film using the movie's themes of technology and "We are what we hide." Director Aneesh Chaganty hosted a workshop at YouTube Space LA to meet the filmmakers and guide the concepts of their shorts as they head into production. Each YouTube creator shot, edited and launched their films on the platform timed to the final beats of the SEARCHING marketing campaign leading up to release. The 5 submissions were:
Sarah Rotella, Adriana DiLonardo (Unsolicited Project) – "Dear Claire"
Tony E. Valenzuela (BlackBoxTV) – "It's Time for the Truth"
Shae-Lee Shackleford (SketchShe) – "The L Bomb"
Tim Hautekiet (TimH Films) – "Oh it's Nothing"
Mikey Murphy – "Steven"
The program culminated with Aneesh and Sony Pictures selecting one film to play in select theaters before SEARCHING. To eventize the announcement, Sony Pictures hosted a red-carpet event on opening week. All participants and Aneesh attended to showcase all five competing films in a packed theater before the winner was announced that evening.
Each short film was posted to the creators' respective YouTube channels, and cross-promoted on their various other social media platforms for maximum reach, inviting their followers to attend SEARCHING opening weekend for the chance to see their short film on the big screen. The shorts garnered over 673,000 total views on YouTube. And in the first of its kind, the program brought Tim Hautekiet's winning submission to the big screen, playing before SEARCHING, which went on to gross over $26 million domestically.
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