Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats once opined, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” And while there’s not a lot of discussion around magic in client calls, project kickoffs, or creative reviews, our team regularly sharpens our senses to look further, listen closer, and not only solve problems for our clients, but build something a little bit magical.
Follow us behind the scenes of one of our recent projects to see some magic — movie magic at that — in the making.
Ava DuVernay has been breaking ground and shattering glass ceilings for women, especially women of color, since becoming the first black female director to win the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Her subsequent films have continued to win awards, inspire artists and encourage important conversations, but DuVernay and her team at ARRAY have their sights set on something so much bigger and more impactful than just one (albeit one extraordinary) filmmaker.
DuVernay’s independent film distribution and release collective seeks to amplify the stories and films of women and people of color — offering an array of varied voices in movies. To make its films accessible to the community at large and further engage with audiences, the ARRAY team built the Amanda Cinema — a 50-seat theater on the ARRAY Creative Campus in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles — in 2019 to host free and low-cost screenings for all interested.
THE CHALLENGE & APPROACH
As a global pandemic set in soon after the theater’s opening, ARRAY needed to find a way to continue sharing its films through festivals, premieres, round table discussions, and other events open to the community. Look Listen staffers eagerly raised our hands to offer a fitting solution.
Our client success, creative and technology teams conducted customer research and extensive concept work to uncover not only what ARRAY asked for — a virtual screening room — but what would best serve the collective and the communities it endeavors to represent through its films.
Everything was considered — an aesthetic that complemented the larger ARRAY brand but was powerful enough to stand on it own, design and backend development that ensured accessibility for everyone regardless of location or ability, and platforms that offered the opportunity to view films, discuss them, and connect with others through them.
The result, ARRAYplay.com, goes beyond a short-term solution to a pandemic problem and invites people around the world to discover films like Lingua Franca, Burning Cane, Teach Us All and more, now and into the future.
What’s more, upon the successful launch of the ARRAY Play website, we were able to achieve across-the-board 100 scores on the Google Lighthouse audit program. This is a recognition that the site is built to the utmost best practices, adhering to all gold-standard ADA guidelines for accessibility, and that it accommodates search engines in discoverability and readability, all while focused on high performance and ultimately superior user experience. We’re incredibly proud of the site and what it means for filmmakers and film lovers.
There’s magic in movies, that much is certain. But sometimes, when we look and listen just enough, we find — or perhaps create — magic in our everyday work. ✨