Culture

New trailer for Steven Soderbergh's Mosaic

It's not quite a movie, not quite a web series and not quite a TV show.

Mosaic stars Sharon Stone, Paul Rubens and Beau Bridges in a seven-hour mystery told in pieces.

The launch of the MOSAIC app comes at a time when consumers are looking for new forms of mobile-first entertainment, with eMarketer reporting this year that consumers now spend up to 20% of their media time on mobile apps, and that nearly 85% of their smartphone time is spent in-app instead of on a traditional mobile web browser.

Mosaic works like this-it's technically a miniseries, but the viewer downloads the app and at the end of scenes, has the option of continuing the story by following different points of view. After the initial introductions to these three, viewers decide if they want to follow the next part of the story from the perspective of Joel or Eric. As the story develops, more characters are introduced, offering their own stories to tell.

At a San Francisco preview of Mosaic, Soderbergh was quick to emphasize that Mosaic isn't a choose-your-own-adventure.

"Mosaic is about an internal awareness of how subjective our experiences are", said Soderbergh, who has played with the structure of storytelling with films like "Sex, Lies, and Videotape", "Bubble" and "Full Frontal".

Says Soderbergh, "While branching narratives have been around forever, technology now allows, I hope, for a more elegant form of engagement than used to be possible".

To accomplish this, Soderbergh and his partners at PodOp, a media technology company that, unlike other ventures of this type, is driven by narrative rather than technology, explored what happens when filmmakers ask engineers to serve the story, rather than the other way around. Directors and publishers have tried to change up old formats for as long as there've been formats to change: Atavist aimed to make magazine writing and novels more interactive, and decades before there was an internet, author Julio Cortazar wrote Hopscotch, a novel whose chapters were written to be "hopscotched" through as the reader saw fit.

- Film view: Watch the film in full-screen, immersive mode.

That's not DNA, that's the story.

They worked with PodOp to make the interactive experience so that it was driven first by creative interests, rather than technology. After viewing that, the narrative path branches into two episodes.

The Apple TV app guides users through a flow chart of characters and elements letting them decide on an outcome of their own.
.

Viewers will be able to see how their versions of the story on the app ultimately compare to Soderbergh's when HBO Films presents Mosaic as a six-part limited series debuting Monday, Jan. 22 on the main HBO channel.



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