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Tim Burton Turns to Twitter.

by Eric Kohn
November 26, 2010 5:38 AM
1 Comment
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Tim Burton is not crazy about the Internet. He suggested as much to me when I interviewed him last year shortly after a trailer for "Alice in Wonderland" prematurely leaked online. He misses the days when an audience could discover most of a movie's surprises only once it hit the big screen. But Burton has also been aware of the new storytelling possibilities enabled by the web, as his Flash-animated "Stainboy" series demonstrated when he first launched it ten years ago. And now he's turning to Twitter for his latest installment, a high-concept approach to narrative that finds participants energetically drawing on their own perceptions of what makes a story "Burtonesque." I certainly can't wait to see what he does with the results. The full release is posted after the jump.

TIFF’S LATEST SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN USES TIM BURTON TWEET AND DRAWS VISITORS FROM 147 COUNTRIES
Campaign Uses ‘Cadavre Exquis’ Storytelling to Engage Fans

Toronto – Since the launch of TIFF’s burtonstory.com web site one week ago, users from 147 different countries have visited the site to read a unique Cadavre Exquis story which began with a tweet by acclaimed director, producer, writer and artist Tim Burton. Cadavre Exquis (“exquisite corpse”) is a method by which a collection of words or images is assembled by collaborators who each add to a composition in sequence after seeing what the previous person contributed.

Burton’s initial tweet, “Stainboy, using his obvious expertise, was called in to investigate mysterious glowing goo on the gallery floor,” was deemed a Top Tweet by Twitter on November 19 and the burtonstory.com site has had more than 58,000 visits since its launch that day.

Tim Burton's Cadavre Exquis was developed by TIFF in collaboration with CloudRaker, a creative agency based in Montreal, to promote Tim Burton, an exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition makes its exclusive Canadian stop in Toronto at TIFF Bell Lightbox and opens today.

“TIFF strives to be a leader in innovation – whether it’s our brand-new building, our programming or our marketing efforts. Tim Burton has such a diverse fan base and is an extremely talented storyteller – the ‘cadavre exquis’ idea was a perfect way for us to engage and involve fans,” said Howard Kerbel, VP of Sales and Marketing, TIFF. “The success of the campaign has already exceeded our expectations in terms of reach and the interest it’s generating from fans around the world – high-profile users like Perez Hilton and Pete Cashmore from Mashable.com are blogging and tweeting about this initiative. And it’s certainly helping us expand awareness of TIFF’s year-round programming.”

“We came up with the idea to use Twitter as a vehicle for the ‘cadavre exquis’ because we wanted to develop something unique within the social media environment that would engage users by capitalizing on Tim Burton’s reputation as a master storyteller. We knew that users would be excited to continue a story that Burton started,” said Christina Brown, VP, Creative Director, CloudRaker. “It’s been an organic process. A couple of days after the first post we had hundreds of creative contributions from all over the world.”

The Twitter-based story allows users to send in their own storylines by referencing the previous contribution, and the best lines are chosen to extend the tale of Burton’s Stainboy character. Tweets currently included in the Burton Cadavre Exquis story come from contributors in countries around the world, including France, Sweden, Ireland, Canada and the USA. The storytelling adventure runs for two weeks, ending on December 6, 2010. Read the story and add to the plot by visiting http://burtonstory.com and following @BurtonStory on Twitter.


Tim Burton opens today and runs until April 17, 2011 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. Exhibition and film programme tickets are on sale now at TIFF.net.

An extensive film retrospective spanning Burton’s 27-year career, including his early shorts and a related series of films that influenced, inspired and intrigued him as a filmmaker, will run parallel to the exhibition. A week-long run of Burton’s most iconic film, Edward Scissorhands, will open the retrospective, followed by a holiday engagement of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The “Burton Blitz” is a unique experience for Toronto audiences: Burton’s films will screen consecutively in a back-to-back marathon over the course of the show’s opening weekend. Also included in the retrospective are 16 double bills, pairing Burton’s films as both director and producer with their influences. The film programme is curated by Jesse Wente, Head of Film Programmes, TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Special programming will include multiple weekend drop-in and registered workshops for families and youth and in-person events. Both the film programme and the exhibition will offer audiences of all ages a chance to see the influences that helped shape one of the most important creative forces in modern cinema.


Burton will also contribute a major original commission to the exhibition, transforming the King Street windows of TIFF Bell Lightbox into a seasonally-changing window display beginning with a Christmas theme.

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1 Comment

  • deborah | November 29, 2010 12:12 AMReply

    I am a big fan of Burton. thanks for this story!

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