These 5 Movies Shot on Smartphones



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Professional 4K or 6K cinema cameras along with a plethora of sound and lighting equipment are quintessential tools needed in a proper filmmaking production. However, nowadays, technology advancement has helped young aspiring filmmakers create a movie with lesser equipment, such as a smartphone. 

    The video recording features in smartphones and mobile apps these days, especially in the proper hands, can make a short or feature film without overly sacrificing the quality of their work, well, from the visual aspect at least. 

    The following are 5 movies that were either partially or fully shot with a smartphone due to circumstances or artistic decision:

    Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

    This movie tells about the journey of a few fans in the 1990s seeking out the truth of a Detroit folksinger Sixto Rodriguez who in the 1970s had two well-received but non-selling albums, and had been rumored to have died due to suicide. In 2013, this documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul won an Oscar as the best documentary. 

    Citing IMDB, some parts of the documentary were shot on an iPhone App called 8mm Vintage Camera after the producers ran out of film for an expensive real 8mm camera. 

    I Play with the Phrase Each Other (2013)

    This meta-movie directed and starring Jay Alvarez not only was filmed on iPhones, but the movie's plot revolves entirely around cell phone conversations. This actually did well at the 2014 Slamdance film festival as it was made on a modest US$17,000 budget, according to

    The film tells the story of a neurotic poet who moves to a big city at the behest of his friend. When the poet arrives, his friend is nowhere to be found.

    Tangerine (2015)

    This film was made by Sean Baker, known for 2017's The Florida Project, telling a story about a transgender sex worker. According to IMDB, the film that was featured at the Sundance Film Festival was shot exclusively on three iPhone 5s smartphones that were added with an anamorphic clip on lens along with an US$8 app. Steadicam Smoothee Mounts were used to smooth the handheld smartphone cameras. 

    Snow Stream Iron (2017)

    Director Zack Snyder who is best known for 300 and Man of Steel, is behind this action-packed short film made on an iPhone. Just four minutes in length, Snow Steam Iron was shot in one weekend on location in New York City. The short stars Samantha Win, who plays a woman seeking revenge against corrupt police officers.

    High Flying Bird (2019)

    This film stars André Holland as an agent trying to end a lockout between the league and the players. As other smartphone-shot movies in this list, High Flying Bird was filmed entirely on an iPhone 8. The fast-paced sports drama came from acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh.