Films made from smartphones are no longer just fun experiments; neither are they just "good enough for TikTok”. Smartphone films are the next step towards a new age of cinema. Already, this style of storytelling is capturing the attention of influential directors and top performers. If you don’t believe us, take the word of the award-winning filmmakers behind the first London International Smartphone Film Festival – yes, you read that correctly!
A Word from the Directors
Producer Adam Gee organized the festival alongside director Victoria Mapplebeck. He says that anyone can make a fantastic film now, as long as there's talent and a vision. The question of securing a large distribution deal or being able to afford the right equipment is a thing of the past. Mapplebeck comments on her experience of being a self-shooting director for 25 years, once needing a small suitcase to carry her camera around, and now it’s so handy that it can fit her back pocket. She says shooting with smartphone cameras allows for an intimate setting and more innovative and dynamic shooting. It works to bring out hidden stories and personalities – and isn’t that the beauty of filmmaking?
Inspirations to the Filmmaking Community
Since the creation of handheld digital devices, mainstream dramas and documentaries have seen sequences using shaky phone images. In this day and age, it is rather a fashionable element. Advances in technology now enable phone cameras to give high-quality cinematic images. With their short film Missed Call, Mapplebeck and Gee were the first in the industry to beat films with substantial budgets – an accomplishment set in stone with their BAFTA.
Their accomplishment spurred increasing demand for more diverse films. With production houses closed during the pandemic, smartphone feature filmmaking witnessed a boom. Recent years have seen A-list actors like Sir Ian McKellen and Kristen Steward feature in films made with smartphones, such as Infinitum: Unknown Subject and Homemade, respectively. Leading directors like Paolo Sorrentino and Steven Soderbergh have also expressed interest in the art form. A pioneer in the field, the production company Shine, brought out the recent ITV series, A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline.
Entries for the festival’s inaugural year are being accepted until May 2021. Mapplebeck and Gee intend to cast light on the fact that backgrounds and resources aren’t determinants for good filmmaking. This is one you don’t want to miss out on!