By now, you’ve probably heard all the buzz about the first feature film made entirely on an iPhone 4.
The movie is Paranmanjang orNight Fishing, made with a super-modest budget of under $135,000.
The director is Park Chan-Wook, one of South Korea’s most commercially successful young filmmakers. A few of his well-known movies are Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy (which won the Grand Prix award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival), and Thirst (which won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival).
Night Fishing, co-directed by Park’s younger brother, media artist Park Chan-Kyong, took ten days to shoot with a crew of only 80 people. It’s a 30-minute fantasy-horror film about a “surreal encounter between a fisherman and a female shaman (medium).” It tells the story of a middle-aged man who one night catches the body of a woman while fishing. As he was trying to untangle her from the fishing line, he finds himself becoming more entangled in the process. He faints and wakes up in the outfit the woman was wearing. The film’s viewpoint then switches to that of the woman and the movie becomes a traditional Korean tale of life and death.
FILMING ON LOCATION WITH THE IPHONE 4
Even though it was filmed using the iPhone, Night Fishing has the same image resolution as any other feature films shot with standard industry cameras. Park Chan-Wook, a Hitchcock devotee, originally approached this film with a for fun attitude. “New technology always offers wonders and useful features. Testing them is part of the amusement,” he said. But then he discovered how exciting the ride turned out to be.
Movies that I directed before were meticulously planned ahead and shot just as pictured. Compared to that, shooting this film felt free, and everyone had an equal amount of say,” Park told Reuters in an interview at his studio in Goyang, north of Seoul. “Even a casual and spontaneous shot delivered a surprise. It felt like there were more choices,” shared Park.
“From hunting for a film location, shooting auditions, to doing a documentary on the filming process, everything was shot with the iPhone 4,” said Mr. Park. “We went through all the same film-making processes except that the camera was small.”
Park shot the short film using ten Apple iPhone 4s, three of which he controlled himself. Other footages were shot by crew members on their own iPhones. “Some of them had an unexpectedly interesting angle,” said Park Chan-Wook. It was a team collaboration at times because everyone who had an iPhone participated in the filming.
Park promotes Night Fishing in an ad that’s also made on the iPhone. In it, he asks himself, “Is there anything I can do that greatest directors haven’t done yet?” He then strokes his chin and answers, “Ah! Making a film with the iPhone!”
A TURNING POINT FOR MOVIEMAKERS
We think the making of Night Fishing on an iPhone is an amazing accomplishment. In addition to the fresh creativity inspired by making a film on a smaller camera with limited capabilities, the biggest advantage to shooting on the iPhone 4 is that it’s inexpensive. This reason alone will open doors to many other filmmakers who have been held back because of financial reasons.
As Park’s Night Fishing and the iPhone Film Festival have proven, making a feature film today no longer requires millions of dollars and fancy equipments.
THE MAKING OF
The behind-the-scenes for Night Fishing is fascinating even if I can’t understand a word spoken (it’s in Korean without subtitles). We get glimpses of the actual filming locations of the movie, the intricate storyboard, and all the different lenses used on the iPhone 4 during filming. It’s mind-bending how much preparation goes into making a short film with a small camera.
For a preview of the the movie, there’s also a teaser trailer.
Paranmanjang / Night Fishing will have its theatrical premiere in Seoul on January 27. Hopefully, it will be released for U.S. audiences soon thereafter. Just out of curiosity alone, there’s no doubt the line for tickets will be a long one.
By the way, in case you have an iPhone movie of your own you’d like to submit to the iPhone Film Festival, there’s no time like the present!
LOCATION HUNTING WITH THE IPHONE 4 AND LOCATIONSHUB.COM
As Park’s Night Fishing has shown us, almost the entire filmmaking process can now be done on an iPhone, “from hunting for a film location, shooting auditions, to doing a documentary on the filming process.”
With an extensive online location library like www.search-RS.com, complete with geo-code data, hunting for film locations is now also just a few touches away on your hand-held device. A seamless experience that makes a filmmaker’s life a bit easier!