HP on the Set: Lights, Camera, Sundance

NEW YORK To whet consumer appetites for its digital cameras and notebook PCs, Hewlett-Packard is sponsoring a series of autobiographical mini-films at the Sundance Film Festival made with HP equipment.

Titled “Snapshot Diaries,” the series brings together eight personalities to document their festival experiences in one-minute vignettes. Participating are director Gregg Araki, Universal recording artist Eliot Morris and talent and crew from Waitress, the feature by slain performer and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly.

The branded profiles are airing on Sundance Channel, both as part of its “Festival Dailies” coverage of the Park City, Utah, shindig and as interstitial programming, mostly in prime time. Digital outlets include hp.com, sundancechannel.com and YouTube.

In a related push, Sundance sponsor HP is hosting a contest at sundancefilm.com that invites the public to submit their digital photos.

“We hope that people are inspired [by HP Snapshot Diaries] to upload their own photo essays,” said Doug Cole, director of entertainment marketing at HP.

The winner receives a short movie by Sundance filmmaker using HP gear to add motion, sound and animation to these images, plus a trip to next year’s Sundance festival.

HP’s strategy of “creative empowerment” encourages contestants to enlist online photo service Snapfish, which it acquired in April 2005, said Cole.

“We want consumers to feel like they too can be filmmakers,” he remarked. “Providing easy-to-use tools is a very easy way to get them engaged.”

“The branded entertainment concept is a good fit with what they do for a living,” said Kirk Iwanowski, svp, marketing at Sundance Channel. “They’re about putting their technology in the hands of artists.”

HP’s television and online deal coincides with the Sundance Channel’s new embrace of ad-supported integrations.

According to Cole, the network’s “highly creative, upscale demographic of technology-literate moms and dads with teens living at home translates into an interest in using technology for creative purposes.”

HP’s past efforts in personalized branding include a summer collaboration with imaging technology maker Personiva that animated users’ head shots into viral spots as part of the company’s “The computer is personal again” campaign.