I recently had the privilege of speaking with Tatiana Mandis, the creator of the Movgul app! Tatiana is a 20-year-old from New York City. She is currently an Art History student at Brown University. Tatiana has always been enthusiastic about films, considering them as a form of art. Her favorite movie right now is Pulp Fiction

Read on to learn about Movgul, an exciting new app where cinephiles can share or ask for movie recommendations.

Movgul’s interface is inviting, user-friendly, and totally focused on the movies you love! Click here to try it.

Tatiana came up with this idea (while working hard as a student!) and told me about how the app came to be.

Tatiana: I’ve always been attracted to movies. I’ve always really enjoyed watching movies, especially old movies. That’s just something that I’ve been doing for a very long time, and when the pandemic hit, I noticed I was relying on movies even more than I usually do, just for an escape, and just to like, try to transport myself, I guess. A lot of my friends were doing the same thing, so we would just send movie recommendations to each other via Snapchat or text messages. And one night it just kind of hit me. What if there was an easier way to exchange these recommendations or share with a greater audience of people who are actually receptive to those recommendations? I looked online, and I couldn’t find an app that did that. I had no knowledge of how to go about building an app or anything. I kind of just took the initiative and figured it out as I went along, and that night, I thought of a name. I wanted everyone to feel that their opinion on movies was really validated on the app, and that everyone was kind of a “movie mogul.” So that was where the name came from. And then I didn’t make it a ratings-based app because I wanted it to be a really positive place where everyone felt that their opinions were valid, so there’s no star ratings system or anything. It’s just people sharing recommendations in and of themselves as a positive thing. I thought that would be a great way to build a nice community of movie-lovers. 

I designed each page of the app, which was really cool. I’m really into graphic design and sketching, so that was fun. And then, I had to figure out how to market it, how to contact people to get the word out. It’s been really exciting. Yesterday I came across the sketches I made for Movgul the night I had the idea, and now the app is functioning. It looks exactly like what my sketches were that night…it’s really rewarding to see that, that it came to life.

Allison: I love that you aren’t basing it on stars or numbers, that it’s the recommendations, because people have such different tastes. I deal with nostalgia, so if I’m looking for some feel-good movie from middle school, that’s very specific, and someone out there might have a great idea. So I think the recommendations are so useful. And like you said, Movgul is the first social networking app designed for users to exchange movie recommendations. I see that you can post your recommendations or reviews, or you can ask about something you want to watch. How do those functions work on the app?

Tatiana: If you’re looking for something very specific, like ‘what do I watch with my boyfriend tonight?’, you can press “ask for recommendation,” and that gets sent to all your followers, so they can comment some suggestions that come to mind for them. You can also use the search function to find different movies or you can look at your friends’ posts. But for a more specific experience, you can directly ask your followers.

Allison: I also love that members can list a few of their favorite movies or genres so that Titanic fans or horror fans have an easier time finding one another. So is that one thing that’s driving the community here, that you want people to be able to locate others who might have similar tastes?

Tatiana: Yeah, exactly, and I made the profiles all public, so there’s no way of having a private account. You also can’t see who other people are following, so it’s not about who’s following who. I really wanted to eliminate that aspect of social media. It’s not about being popular–it’s more about connecting with other people who love movies. Maybe that’s your friends and family, and maybe it’s not. And you can find another social group on this app that you connect with. 

Allison: Sure, creating engagement naturally rather than users trying to become some [social media] phenomenon. 

Tatiana: Exactly, and I thought this would be a great space for people since everyone’s so receptive to it, if you download the app and you want to receive and give movie recommendations, that creates enthusiasm.

Allison: I saw on the website that users can engage with the app more casually, too. Maybe that’s just perusing someone’s profile if they notice that a person has been watching things that they like.

Tatiana: Exactly, if they notice they have the same taste in genre or movies, they can look at that person’s feed to get some other recommendations.

Allison: How do we sign up? Just go to the app store to download?

Tatiana: It’s super easy. Just go the app store to download–making an account is just email, password, username, or log in with Facebook or Apple ID. You can fill out your top three movies or favorite genres, and basically, start engaging with the community.

Allison: That’s so cool! It looks very user-friendly and easy for people to navigate. Is there any genre you can think of on the app, or classic movie genres?

Tatiana: I have about 30 in the database, so there are quite a few genres. I’ve really focused on making this app for cinephiles and people who want to watch movies. I’m really receptive to feedback!

Allison: I’m sure it’ll be so helpful to have this community where people can ask questions and know what’s being recommended and where they can check it out! Is there anything else people might want to know about how the app can help them expand their horizons and enjoy the viewing experience?

Tatiana: You can really use the app however you want. If you’re not someone who wants to write reviews of movies or share your experience with movies, your whole entire feed can just be you asking people for recommendations, and that could be how you use the app. Or you could be a more engaged user and share movie reviews and ask for recommendations, so it’s really up to the person. Also, there’s the feature of being able to upload a photo, so maybe that would be a funny movie meme, or a quote or screengrab of a scene. So there are other ways to utilize the app.

Allison: This is so inclusive, there are no distractions. You’re just here to be able to talk about the movies. That’s really refreshing. Is there anything else you would want people to know, or why this is such a great thing to put out into the marketplace?

Tatiana: I think it’s the positivity, that’s really a big aspect of it. I really do want everyone to feel like it’s an inclusive community, and that’s why it’s so easy to use. I made it as aesthetically pleasing and functional as possible. Every button has a purpose…There’s nothing on the app you don’t need or won’t use. That’s what I want the users to know, is that this app is literally made for them. I really want their feedback; I really want their engagement. I think that’s what makes it different from other apps. It really is a place where everyone is a movie mogul!

Thank you to Tatiana for telling us about Movgul! Movie lovers need to check it out ASAP. If you’ve watched something you want others to see, you can post about it and include a photo if you want. Looking for your next movie night selection? Ask the community for a recommendation! Movgul is easy to use, inclusive of all people and interests, and full of excellent movie ideas! Head to the App Store or the Movgul website today.

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