McCann Gets Melbournians To ‘Feel The Film’ With Emotion Simulator

McCann Gets Melbournians To ‘Feel The Film’ With Emotion Simulator

McCann Melbourne is challenging the way films are experienced, with the creation of The MIFF Emotion Simulator for the Melbourne International Film Festival, which kicks off today.

Andrea Sophocleous
Posted by Andrea Sophocleous

The MIFF Emotion Simulator will allow Melburnians to physically experience the emotions of a MIFF film, before they see it.

This artistically-lead scientific experiment is a custom-built movie chair, created by advertising agency McCann and produced by AIRBAG, that sees the face of willing participants electro-stimulated to demonstrate the way a movie will make someone feel, before the choose to see it.

Participants will have 12 electrodes placed on the various major muscles of the face, allowing the simulation of happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, anger, and surprise. Participants can then choose which films from this year’s Festival they’d like to experience. In this way a two-hour film is concentrated into a minute-long experience unlike any other.

A chair-mounted camera films each session creating one-off film clips that can be shared via social media throughout the Festival’s duration, by MIFF itself as well as the participants. These provide a unique facial movie preview for the people of Melbourne to watch to determine what sort of film they wish to watch from the over 370 on offer at this year’s MIFF.

Michelle Carey, artistic director of MIFF, said: “The Melbourne International Film Festival is always looking to push boundaries, and to move our city forward. Because as we all know, movies have the power to move us in ways we never thought possible. And the MIFF Emotion Simulator is an exciting exploration of every human’s emotions. Because no matter what language we speak, we all feel the same things.”

McCann Melbourne ECD Pat Baron added: “Great film should be felt, not just seen. With the MIFF Emotion Simulator we are allowing people to preview the way a movie will make them feel, rather than simply condensing the plot into two minutes of trailer.”

The emotional journey for each film has been determined through the MIFF Emotion Tracker, which saw the emotions of a range of Melburnians tracked as they watched selected MIFF films while wearing a pulse-rate monitoring Fit-Bit.

The chair itself builds on the work of Guillame-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne’s 1862 study “The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression”, and is a fresh way to promote the iconic Festival, now in its 64th year.

Melburnians can express interest in participating in a session in The MIFF Emotion Simulator by going to and registering their name. Places are strictly limited.

The MIFF Emotion Simulator will be located at the MIFF Lounge at the Forum throughout the Festival, which starts on 30 July and runs to 16 August 2015.


Melbourne International Film Festival
Artistic Director: Michelle Carey
General Manager: Amber Sloan
Sponsorship Manager: Nathan Reynolds
Marketing & Communications Manager: Lauren Zoric
Publicity: Asha Holmes Publicity

McCann Melbourne
Managing Director: Adrian Mills
Executive Creative Director: Pat Baron
Creative Director/Writer: Alex Wadelton
Creative Director/Art Director: Andy Jones
Senior Account Director: Caroline Macmillan
Head of Broadcast: Victoria Conners
Senior Producer: Anne Comber
Assistant Producer: Afrim Memed
Director/Editor: Patrick Jennings
Camera Operators: Anthony Koreny & Jack Murtagh
Camera Assistant: Adrian Ortega
Sound: Jack Mcculloch
Photography: Jay Hynes
PR: Chris Baker

Executive Producer: Rob Stock
Technologist: Steven Nicholson
Producer: Eliza D’Souza
Art Direction: Illusion Studios