McKinney Torches Film Fest Site

ATLANTA For the past three days, the Web site of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has been burning.

The fire ends today after consuming the venue. It will be followed by an Internet press conference announcing the launch of a newly designed Web site.

McKinney + Silver, a Havas shop in Durham, N.C., that has provided the festival’s advertising since 2000, developed the idea to burn down the old site instead of quietly replacing it. The agency convinced the festival’s directors to approve the concept.

“They put a lot of trust in us,” said Ryan O’Hara Theisen, the art director on the project. “It was a fun idea.”

To create the blaze, Theisen and copywriter Chad Lynch used a cardboard model of the home page that was made when the shop launched the site last year. They photographed the fire as it progressed and, with some special effects added, posted the images on the Web site.

The story line included some intrigue about how the fire started. Eventually, it was traced to a smoldering cigarette in the theater section of the site. A company of firemen managed to evacuate the theater, but admitted that they did not know how to fight a fire on the Internet. The festival’s executive director, Nancy Buirski, was featured in a short video on the site discussing the fire and promising to keep concerned people informed with daily e-mails and press conferences.

“We all enjoy a story that grabs your attention and carries you along,” Theisen said. “We tried to make it as real as possible.”

The new Web site ( launches tomorrow with more features. The festival is scheduled for April 6-9 in Durham.