Seattle Jewish Film Festival goes high-tech with QR Codes

The 16th annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival kicked off this weekend, with more than 30 films on the docket. Attendees are probably most excited about checking out documentaries such as “The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground” and animated films like “A Jewish Girl in Shanghai.” But this year’s festival also has a few high-tech twists.

For the first time, the festival posters are featuring QR Codes — allowing attendees to scan the bar codes with their smartphones and then be directed to key information on the festival’s Web site. (In order to engage with the bar codes, users must download a QR code scanning app for their phones). In addition, the festival is working with Seattle’s IndieFlix for the second year in a row to stream short films throughout the month of March.

The implementation of the QR codes was the idea of Joshua McLeod, an intern at last year’s festival and a student at the University of Washington who is majoring in Human Centered Design & Engineering.

“It has immediate marketing to selling potential,” explains McLeod, adding that a user could be passed directly to a ticket buying site.

QR codes – which have long been utilized in Asia — are starting to become more commonplace at Seattle establishments. Startups such as Sparqcode and Judy’s Book are attempting to speed the adoption around the city, rolling them out at restaurants, bars and small shops.

McLeod, for one, says he now encounters them everywhere.

“I see QR codes on posters on campus for new web services, libraries, advertisements for programs, etc,” he said. “I have also been seeing them around town in various uses. Pretty much, any time you would like printed material, or even a multimedia presentation, to provide a direct link to a message or Web page then there is potential for use.”

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire, a technology news site based in Seattle. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews.