Unlocked—a movie about data

Z by HP recently released Unlocked, an interactive 35-minute film that weaves data science challenges into an action-packed story to unlock an ancient mystery.

Jon Peddie

Z by HP has rebranded their Z product line as Z by HP and recently released Unlocked, an interactive 35-minute film that weaves data science challenges into an action-packed story to unlock an ancient mystery. Blending Hollywood-caliber production value, interactive storytelling, and data challenges, data scientists around the world are invited to participate in the project at for a chance to win valuable prizes. NBCUniversal and Z by HP debuted Unlocked as the first branded short film to stream on Peacock on Friday, February 18.

In the film, created and produced by Giant Spoon, Dr. Eva Ramirez is searching for a mysterious flower rumored to cure the rare neurological disease that plagues her family. However, she’s not the only one looking for this elusive plant—a local cartel is dead set on securing it for themselves. When Eva gets caught in the cartel's crosshairs, she turns to her friends, data scientists Michaela and Damone, for help. As the action unfolds, the friends use their investigative instincts, data, and HP Z workstations to find and protect Eva while they track down the plant's location, before it falls into the wrong hands.

Each of the four data challenges presented in the film is accompanied by video tutorials from Z by HP-sponsored Data Science Ambassador, Ken Jee, with a detailed explanation of his approach to finding a solution. Data scientists across Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, UK, Sweden, United States, and Canada (excluding Quebec), who participate in the challenges via before April 30, 2022, will be entered into a sweepstake for a chance to win one of ten ZBook Studio laptops and the grand prize, a trip to the Kaggle Days X Z by HP World Championship in Barcelona, Spain.

The film opens with Eva being held captive by members of a fierce cartel in Guatemala. 

Eva escapes her captors, but her friends, data scientists Michaela and Damone back home are worried about her, and try to track her down on the web. They find that Eva is on a quest to discover La Eterna, a mysterious plant that could be the key to curing a rare neurological condition plaguing members of her family. The story unfolds to reveal data challenges to help solve mysteries within the narrative.

The first challenge is to assist Damone’s mission to save Eva by creating a data visualization of global deforestation. The second challenge urges participants to make sense of hundreds of pieces of content with a topic model like the one pointing Michaela and Damone in the right direction using natural language processing. In the third, the team needs to use audio analysis to predict bird population density using Capuchinbird audio files. Finally, using image analysis, the film’s heroes help uncover the truth about La Eterna. All of these challenges are tackled using Z by HP data science workstations and accompanying software stack.

See the film, I think you’ll enjoy it. And you can participate in the Unlocked challenge sweepstakes here:



Z by HP (Brand/Client) 
Vikrant Batra, CMO
Cristina Bondolowski, Global Head of Marketing – HP Personal Systems 
Erin Mott, Head of Marketing, Z by HP
Mandy Berquist, WW Integrated Marketing Manager, Z by HP 
Ashley Riggs-Zeigen, Global Marketing Campaign & Strategy Lead
Moving Picture Company (Visual Effects, Color, and Finishing) 
Karena Ajamian, Executive Producer, Finishing
Sarah Brennan-Athas, Finishing Producer 
Rob Ufer, Flame Lead
Claus Hansen, Creative Director
Meghan Lang, Executive Producer, Color Gabriel Wakeman, Color Producer
Kris Smale, Colorist
Giant Spoon (Advertising Agency & Production) 
Jon Haber, Co-Founder
Andrew Mellen, Creative Director 
Jamie Samuel, Senior Account Director 
Jason Lau, Executive Producer
Allie Haroutunian, Senior Writer 
Austin Ho, Senior Art Director
Janina Volpe, Group Strategy Director Sarah Novosad, Senior Producer 
Taryn Maloy, Strategist
Nicole Armeno, Senior Project Manager 
Matthew Silverman, Design Director 
Genevieve Geller, Designer
Dave Groseclose, Editor 
Devin Glass, Editor
Savannah Griffith, Associate Producer 
Brad Goldstein, Production Artist

Whitehouse Editorial (Editorial) 
Lucia Villalta, Post-Producer 
Autumn Dea, Editor
Nelson Mustain, Assistant Editor

R79 Digital Inc. (Visual Effects)
Eric Demeusy, Creative Director, Lead Animator,  , Dmitry Fitisov, Managing Director, Producer 
Ben Hurand, 3D Animator
Jehee Lee, Designer
Prashan Subasinghe, 3D Modeling & Texturing Artist Gene Magtoto, Rigging Artist
Rachel Ambelang, Editor

Barking Owl (Sound Mix and Music Composition) Kelly Bayett, Creative Director
Hannah Alter, Producer
Houston Fry, Composer
Matt Keith, Mixer/Sound Designer

Eleven Sound (Sound Mix) 
Melissa Elston, Executive Producer
Marco Tornillo, Sound Engineer

UNIT9 (Production Company)  
Jonathan Pearson, Director 
Laura Deeley, Writer
Emily Malito, Executive Producer 
Alanna Dillon, Line Producer
Eric Koretz, Director of Photography
Z by HP Ambassadors (Data science tutorials & challenge designers)
 Ken Jee, Head of Data Science
Hunter Kempf, Lead Data Scientist 
Natalia Sturgill, Data Scientist Consultant
 Nick Wan, Data Scientist
Andrada Olteanu, Data Scientist, Kaggle Grand Master