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The troll wars

The ‘review’ has always been the most impactful determinant on the perception of a film. Even those who don’t read reviews are affected by the ‘buzz’ of a film; The general consensus that makes some titles must sees and others must avoids. Word of mouth and opinions of friends and family? They all count as ‘reviews’ too!

The biggest victims of trolling, fake reviews and review bombing are audiences that are steered from movies they’d love or steered towards movies they’d typically avoid. This, in turn, impacts independent filmmakers whose films, void of marketing machines, rely heavily on gaining early audiences.

 

The sub prime loans of the movie business

Ever seen the movie The Big Short? Movie ratings today are the ‘sub prime loans’ of the movie business. A rating of 1 on Captan Marvel could be filled with 75% of scores from people who never saw the film, saw it but didn’t pay attention or are trolling based on prejudice.

Christopher Nolan once said; I want to make movies people have to pay attention to. Movies that you can’t just put on in the background while eating a sandwich or doing your laundry.

This is a paraphrase but you get the gist. It’s one of those quotes he may never have even said but sort of drifted around the internet and was attributed to him. Nevertheless, it made an impression on me.

What is Qurator?

Qurator is a platform for movie fans by movie fans. It’s a fun way of validating the engagement of a reviewer while increasing score integrity for audiences to make better decisions. There is no critics score. You are the critic. This platform is solely for and about the audience.

Film Festivals have been instrumental in my trajectory and that of many other filmmakers. Without festivals, no one would have seen our work nor given us a platform to express ourselves. However, capturing and keeping an audience was the next challenge.

I always felt getting the unfiltered opinion of our actual audience was paramount as opposed to worrying about industry reviews. As for the trolls, if you had a controversial film, you’d be sitting on hundreds of negative reviews online before your film even played.

 

How does Qurator work?

It’s is a simple concept. Pick a movie. Play the 60 second quiz. You have two lives. First life is 51% passing to qualify to rate and review. If you fail you get another shot at 75% to qualify to rate and review. If you fail the second time, you’re locked out of that film till you qualify on five other movies.

You get badges and accolades on each of your reviews to denote your performance to other Qurators. Your performance is rated with badges for Novice (51% – 65%), Apprentice (65% – 75%), Qurator (75% – 95%) and Master (95 – 100%).

This also weights the score you give so that if you’re so awesome at Back To The Future that you got a master badge, your 10 rating will affect the Quartor Score more than the fan that got a novice badge on the quiz. It’s not persistent ie someone who’s Qurated 1000 films but scored a novice on Back To The Future, affects the Quartor Score of that film less than someone who’s Qurated twenty films but scored a master on the film. And just like that, boom, ratings with integrity that are 100% user based!

One fan, one vote, one aggregated Qurator Score.

Qurator gives filmmakers an undistilled connection to their audience and vice versa. In tandem, no single user has the power to sway the overall consensus of a film. It’s true democratisation. If you made some crazy movie about rainbows and unicorns on Mars, you’d know that at the very least every score you see is from someone who had the most basic knowledge of your passion project and didn’t just give you a 1 out of 10 because they don’t like the sound of the title Unicorns Of The Martian Rainbow.

Actually that title is pretty awesome.

       

 

Remember movie clubs?

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. This was a thing. The pony tail guy in your local Movie Mart telling you what you just HAVE to rent. The Movie Club on Qurator is an extension of this ethos. Follow other Qurators whose reviews you like. Their results on quizzes populate your feed, and over time, you get a personal algorithm for your specific taste in films based on who you follow. You never have to scour the net for recommendations again.

 

Trolls never die, they multiply

There’s no system trolls can’t exploit. If dedicated enough, they’ll study up on a film, take the quiz and pass it to give their 1 or 10 score prejudiced. However, Qurator raises the threshold of effort to troll.

You can only have two accounts per device with a thirty day timer to replace each. Account spamming is thus mitigated, and in time this limit may be reduced to one account per device. With all the processes in place to qualify and review, it’s massively more time consuming to leave a fake review on Qurator than on any other platform and you’d need to keep scoring master badges to truly have any impact.

We don’t do ticket verification because this is about bringing fans together in one place so we can communicate about the movies we love. Whether you saw it on streaming, cinema, VHS, Betamax or…ahem…from the guy with the bag at the barbershop, if you’re a fan and you can pass the quiz, your opinion is welcome. Anywhere you are. Any country. No exception. Every score is from a user that had to play the game. This is not optional on Qurator.

 

Have you got Super Force 5: The Resurrection?

We launched in May 2019 with 1000 playable titles and we are now at 1200. It’s a growing database and we welcome users to suggest titles to be included. All questions and movies are added by fans each weekend. We also add older movies daily. In time we will be comprehensive but again, we depend on the movie fans to do this.

 

Audience and support

If you’re a movie fan or just someone that wants to get recommendations with reviews and ratings from people who’ve truly engaged with the movie (even the trolls who studied for it), give us a try.

We’re a new start up and we’re ironing out the rough edges every day. I would like to thank my collaborators Brandon Victor Dixon and Ashley Monet for their support. I wrote my first line of code at eight years old and became a filmmaker in later years. Building Qurator has been extremely rewarding, and I’m excited to share it with others who love movies as much as I do.

I view Qurator like producing a film; It needs an audience to grow, and I hope you will join us to change the way we as movie fans (and filmmakers) discourse and critique the movies we love. We’re about the way it was in the golden era of cinema when it wasn’t about opening weekends but the building word of mouth and community around a great motion picture.

Download Qurator free on iOS or Android. What have you got to lose? Well maybe your pride by failing on that movie you thought you knew like the back of your hand.

Play, have fun, give us feedback, share with your friends.

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About 

Thomas Ikimi was born in London and spent his childhood in Nigeria and England, before studying at Columbia University, New York. In 2010 he wrote, directed and produced his first feature length film LEGACY for just 500K in 21 days starring Idris Elba. LEGACY premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, and on the festival circuit that followed, garnered the Best Film Award at the American Black Film Festival, was nominated for Best UK Feature at the Raindance Film Festival in London, was nominated for a British Independent Film Award, won Best Director at the London Screen Nation Awards 2011, and was picked up for distribution in both the US and UK with limited theatrical releases in both countries.

Thomas then wrote, directed, produced and edited the long short NOSTRADAMUS. It premiered at Tribeca in 2015 and was a Critics’ choice with critics tipping it for a 2016 OSCAR. His follow up in 2018 was another long form short as writer/director/producer/editor THE LOCKSMITH which has also met critical acclaim.

In between Thomas works consistently as a writer and creator. Over recent years, he sold work to NBC UNIVERSAL, FOX, LEGENDARY PICTURES and SKY BROADCAST. Thomas also enjoys his passion for technology, and as a computer programmer and software developer, released his first cross platform movie review and rating application QURATOR in 2019 through his tech company.

Thomas now lives in London having moved back from the US after twenty years. He is represented by UNITED AGENTS.

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