Toronto Silent Film Festival “Hacks” Instagram for Chaplin Tribute

Toronto Silent Film Festival

Last year, we fell in love with the Toronto Silent Film Festival’s refreshing approach to Instagram. In honor of the festival, the team uploaded frames from a handful of silent films and presented them in a way that allowed users to scroll through, creating a flipbook effect that brought the scenes to life. Now, the team has reinvented their approach to Instagram, yet again, with their new feed tsff2014.

Toronto Silent Film Festival

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s film debut, and to mark the occasion, the TSFF team has used Instagram to create an interactive timeline. Visit the tsff2014 Instagram account and you’ll see a lot of rotated images and empty white space. Rotate your phone, however, and you’ll be presented with an interactive timeline that traces Chaplin’s debut to his death.


Here’s what makes it ingenious.

Use of images and video.


Instagram’s extended video length gave the TSFF team enough time to highlight great clips from Chaplin’s films. It’s enough to get viewers interested in exploring Chaplin’s films, but it’s short enough to keep viewers from getting bored. The mix of images and videos makes the timeline itself more interesting and invites the user to keep scrolling.

Rethinking the format of Instagram to make it more interactive.


For the second year in a row, the TSFF team has succeeded in rethinking the format of Instagram. Last year’s project invited users to quickly scroll through images (something they’re not used to doing). This year’s project not only invites users to rotate their phone and view the account in landscape mode, it also invites users to look at a user’s images as a whole, rather than as individual pictures.

Promoting their own brand along the way.

Toronto Silent Film Festival

Yes, the timeline is in tribute to Chaplin, and marks his anniversary, but the team makes sure to promote their festival, too. The final images mark the upcoming Toronto Silent Film Festival, while also highlighting Chaplin films that with be screening during the festival.

Want to revisit the TSFF team’s ingenious Instagram projects from last year? Get inspired here.