What would a screenshot of your life look like?
“Noah”, the 17-minute film that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, is unlike anything you’ve seen before in a movie, but so much like what many of us see on our computers every day.
Created by Canadian film students Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, the film begins when our high school senior protagonist types in his password, and unfolds across familiar mediums. We first saw the film on Fast Company.
We learn of a relationship, thanks to the background photo on his desktop. Through Noah’s perspective, we see the way the couple communicates, either in Facebook chat or Skype, having important conversations (like ones about the future, and college):
While our protagonist seems present in the moment, we see he’s simultaneously engaged in a slew of activities, like chatting with friends (named Kanye East, a nice touch from the filmmakers), looking at cat photos, or gawking at porn.
The film takes us through the actions following that Skype conversation; wordless actions set to the steady rhythm of chat notifications, iTunes music, and alerts. Sounds so familiar and part of our daily online routine that they were nearly impossible to discern from the realtime melodies coming from our own desktops as we watched. Actions so commonplace that their gravity is not always realised until it’s too late.
In an interview with Business Insider, creators Woodman and Cederberg said they created with film without spending a penny:
We shot everything on webcams in our apartments. We also had made all the fake Facebook accounts and had been running about six fake Facebooks for just over 6 months to make it realistic.
Realistic, yes. It almost feels too real, a sign that “Noah” is truly a 17-minute cautionary tale of digital culture.
Here’s “Noah” in full: