Watch a silent film on Instagram

Canadian agency Cossette has launched a series of Instagram accounts that when scrolled through in slideshow mode, simulate a clip from a classic silent film. It’s all in aid of the forthcoming Toronto Silent Film Festival

Canadian agency Cossette has launched a series of Instagram accounts that when scrolled through in slideshow mode, simulate a clip from a classic silent film. It’s all in aid of the forthcoming Toronto Silent Film Festival

While the festival itself presents an interesting mix of some of the world’s finest silent films paired with music, improvised and played live by range of musicians, it perhaps remains a tricky event to promote.

But Cossette have come up with something quite sweet which both reflects the subject of the week long event and utilises today’s smartphone technology.

To view the ‘trailers’, simply visit the accounts at @tsff_1, @tsff_2, and @tsff_3 on the Instagram mobile app, tap the slideshow viewing mode and scroll down rapidly to produce a short burst of early 20th-century filmmaking. If you click the links on a regular browser, the pictures can still be ‘animated’ by clicking right – but the effect is nowhere near as good, so here’s how it looks on an iPhone:

“Everyone knows that showing clips of a film can drum up interest,” says Cossette co-chief creative officer, Matt Litzinger. “We wanted to create a sort of ‘trailer’ of our own, and thought this new and unique use of Instagram could bring the films to life and draw attention to the festival.

“It feels appropriate to be using a technology like Instagram to promote the silent film technique, which in its day was every bit as ground-breaking and innovative as digital platforms are today.”

Co-chief creative officers: Matthew Litzinger, David Daga. Creative director: Matthew Litzinger, David Daga. Copywriter: Sebastian Lyman. Art Director: Pepe Bratanov. Account team: Jason Melhuish.

The Toronto Silent Film Festival runs from April 4-9. More details at

The April print issue of CR presents the work of three young animators and animation teams to watch. Plus, we go in search of illustrator John Hanna, test out the claims of a new app to have uncovered the secrets of viral ad success and see how visual communications can both help keep us safe and help us recover in hospital

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