Phoning It In

Cell phones/iPhones

It was probably inevitable, but ‘filmmakers’ are now shooting projects on their cell phones.

by Chris Neumer

It was probably just a matter of time before it happened, but now that it has actually occurred, it’s still somewhat surprising: two sets of filmmakers have made feature length movies… with their cell phones.

The first of the two projects to make the news was South African filmmaker, Aryan Kaganoff. Kaganoff spent eight days and a little over $150,000 shooting his film, SMS Sugar Man. SMS Sugar Man is a high concept film about a pimp and his interactions with two of his best prostitutes. Once finished with the film, Kaganoff and cell phone provider Sony Ericsson teamed up in order to beam Sony Ericsson subscribers the entire movie in 30 different 3-minute clips. SMS Sugar Man is also set to open in theaters, though many people have concerns about the quality of the images. Kaganoff has told Reuters that the image quality is “fantastic,” but this hasn’t been seconded by anyone removed from the project.

The second film to make the news is an Italian documentary about love and relationships called, New Love Meetings. Directed by Marcello Mencarini and Barbara Seghezzi, New Love Meetings is more on par with what one might expect to see from a feature shot on a cell phone: the AP reports that its images are somewhat grainy, the camera work slightly shaky and the lighting spotty (particularly since the duo occasionally used a small flashlight to light scenes). Given that Mencarini and Seghezzi put their budget at “a couple thousand dollars”, this is certainly understandable. Both sets of filmmakers argue that cell phones are cheaply bringing Hollywood to the masses, enabling everyone with a few thousand dollars to spare to make movies.  Neither group has yet commented on whether the world should really be developing technology to enable talentless hacks to more readily make movies.

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