Toronto Silent Film Festival 2016 ‘Escape Room’ [Review]

1619258_10153775055055257_2125650834_nLocation: TSFF 2016 Instagram, Toronto, Canada

Date completed: May 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 7 (see below);  Difficulty: 1; Atmosphere: 6Fun: 7


  • Basic English
  • Internet connection

We learned about this “escape room” from Essa, author of Intervirals, while reading our escape room blog feed. The Toronto Silent Film Festival (April 7 – 12) dedicated its screenings to films that were once thought long gone but have been found, restored and given back to audiences worldwide.

According to their press materials, they created the “Instagram Escape Room” to allow people to experience the sensation of finding a movie long thought lost. We like movies and we like escape rooms, so we sat in front of our computer, turned on a timer and started playing.

The Canadian festival has used Instagram  to promote previous editions and it looks like they’ve build quite a reputation of being innovative on that social media. In 2013, if you quickly changed from one picture to another on their account, you would create a ‘flipbook’ effect. In 2015, you could choose different endings to a video and create your own festival clip. To access the 2016 feature, click here to go to TSFF2016 Escape Room Instagram page.

You will see some squares with the play button. To have a better view, use your mobile sideways or click Ctrl+Alt+Left on your computer and it will tilt. This is how it will look like:

The idea is to click on the mini videos and see what happens when you explore each area of the room. Your goal is to find lost silent movies. In some videos there will be hints  of where they can be. There are also references to the movies or their titles, but you have to be slightly familiar with the plots to guess most of them. Or you can read the festival program!

After finding them all, you should head to the Exit door video and choose a hashtag that you believe will let you escape the room. If you connected the dots along your search, it should not be hard.

Actually, it is very, VERY easy.

The TSFF2016 feature is not, of course, a real physical escape room. Your interaction with the room does not go further than what is shown in each mini-movie. In that sense, if you are a hardcore escape room player and want challenge, interaction and puzzling puzzles, understand that you are not the target audience. However, if you understand this as a marketing piece that focuses on MOVIES, and more specifically in lost silent films that have been restored, you may feel really happy that they were inspired by escape rooms. This also called our attention to how real physical escape rooms rarely use video as a part of puzzles. The only times we have seen video in escape rooms, they have been used as decoration or intros.

In TSFF2016, there is basically only one puzzle to be solved, and if you watch their promotional video, it actually spoils how to solve it. So do not say we didn’t warn you! We actually had quite some fun trying to connect the little references to each movie, more than solving the puzzle itself.

(Spoiler alert!)

We decided to score this ‘room’ as a piece of marketing, not an actual game. From our point of view, it was fairly creative and made us slightly immersed in the silent movie theme for a bit. It was also a nice way to spend 46 minutes, which was the time we used to watch all videos, think about the puzzle and research about the movies (which is not mandatory). Give it a go before it changes for next year’s festival!

It was really interesting how this initiative made us read about those silent movies and be curious about them. Normally, Trapspringer and I do not pay much attention to silent films. Kudos for the TSFF team!


2 thoughts on “Toronto Silent Film Festival 2016 ‘Escape Room’ [Review]

  1. You’re right. This was easy. Interesting idea though. It is almost like a combination of the original escape room video games with live action videos. I wonder if this idea could be taken further without running out of steam.

    Liked by 1 person

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