Smartphones and movies are two words that start to really get along. By now there are many films made with mobile devices at least on the filming side, in whole or in part. This marriage, however, hides some problems and the need to write a path that is sustainable and that enhances the characteristics of mobile content creation. Otherwise we’ll go on to shoot movies with iPhone 8plus and mount them in huge studios or with static workstation programs that cost hundreds and hundreds of euros a year.
From Baker to Lelouch.
The filmography has already brought 12-13 films variously produced with smartphones and movies with Filmic Pro, the Seattle app that guides the world of filming on mobile phones. From Sean Baker who made Tangerine with the iPhone 5S, to the two films by Soderberg (Unsane and Hig Flying Bird), up to “Le plus belles année de ma vie” by Claude Lelouch, the cinematographic art made with smartphones, lenses ( generally of the American Moment) and stabilizers of the Dji, has slipped into the film industry as if it were a virus, with the same disruption used by mobile journalism to enter into the world of TV.
“It is the most liberating experience I have ever experienced”, both the Hollywood and French directors repeated almost in chorus. In their works they have distorted their narrative by images taking full advantage of the agility and versatility of the instrument. For them it was an interesting journey outside the box, but for all that is around filming the power of their crew and the grandeur of their vehicles have remained intact. I have the distinct impression, therefore, that for the two stars of the “ciak” it was little more or less than a game, because to make their films they still had the coverage of mammoth productions and of wealthy producers.
Out there the world is changing.
But out there, in the midst of the many film festival for smartphones that are around, there are the greatest talents of the future of films at work with creative worflows that start from the filming with the smartphone and we don’t know…
I saw last hours “Hig Flying Bird” and I found the new of filmmaking era. The intimacy of the dialogues, the rhythm, the shadows of the low light images, the carts, the ease of following the protagonists in a walk, in the entrance into a building, along a corridor. Soderbergh shows the enormous potential of language that the smartphone puts at the service of cinematic narrative, but remains within the star system.
He remains within the classic rules of the game, without risking, for example, with an editing that is more suitable for use on mobile device screens or with an editing of the film itself with mobile devices.
The game has to change seriously.
Hollywood looked very badly at the many pioneers who started making movies with mobile phones. The movie industry was afraid of such lean production models that made all the Los Angeles studios all of a sudden old. The smartphone changes the images, but also changes what is behind and the bandwagon of cinematographic dreams cannot assist without resisting and protesting against the rise of this damn little phone. Now the perception is changing. This concept is brought you by Taz Goldstein, one of the pioners of the culture of mobile filmmaking and founder of HHHollywood, a site that started to talk about this possible marriage between mobile phones and cinema industry.
Taz Goldstein is clear. Hollywood fear about smartphone turned to curiosity and I agree, but I still see distance from total integration. I still see the need of the industry to preserve its mechanisms and its costly infrastructure from the earthquake that could represent the common use of the smartphone to make films. For this reason one does not dare and, instead, one should and to the end. Goldstein, in fact, hopes that the day is near when we will no longer have to talk about smartphone cinema because running with a smartphone will have become a normal choice for filmmakers around the world.
My personal appeal.
I ask for more, instead, I hope that a culture of #finishedonmobile will be made explicit, as in the philosophy explained by Terri Morgan here. It is true, therefore, that the day will come when the distinction between cinema and smartphone cinema will no longer exist, but it will be
I ask for more, instead, I hope that a culture of #finishedonmobile will be made explicit, as in the philosophy explained by Terri Morgan here. It is true, therefore, that the day will be a beautiful day when the distinction between cinema and smartphone cinema will no longer exist, but it will be a good day also when we will see film-makers going out of their way and creating content made entirely with devices furniture, from beginning to end.
I hope that mobile film festivals such as Bruno Smadja’s one in Paris or Si Horrocks’ one in Zurich, but also all other competitions, create more and more awareness that a film can be filmed with a smartphone and edited with a smartphone. Only then the distinctions will cease to exist because they are totally overcome by the growth of this industry culture.
A no limit world.
Goldstein in the interview says that there are probably many filmmakers who have finished their films in mobile, also because of the budget advantages that this brings. Well, I hope they will show and show, as did, in a small way, my colleague Leonor Suarez who has made this documentary, called “Time to Revenge” by editing it with iMovie (see video below, she talked about this experience in Mojo Asia 2019). I hope that some of them will contact TMS to tell their story and to celebrate the moment in which we could let this wedding between mobile devices and cinema become mainstream. The day in which everyone would know that you can start and finish a film via smartphone. No limits.