As each new iPhone offers increasingly complex photography capabilities, filmmakers are beginning to recognize the Apple device as a legitimate medium.
From the Steven Soderbergh drama, “Unsane,” starring Claire Foy, to the Oscar-winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” here is a list of feature films and shorts shot either partially or entirely with iPhones.
“Unsane,” starring Claire Foy, follows a woman who is convinced she has a stalker, but later comes to question her own sanity when she is admitted to a mental institution against her will. Director Soderbergh’s crew shot the entire medical thriller using an iPhone 7 Plus. It’s not the first time Soderbergh has experimented with formats and platforms: 2002’s “Full Frontal” was shot on a Canon prosumer digital video camera, while 2005’s “Bubble” was the first film to be released simultaneously in theaters and on VOD.
“Unsane” hits theaters March 23.
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Sean Baker’s “Tangerine,” stars Kitana Kiki Rodriguez as Sin-Dee, a trans sex worker who sets out on a rampage through Los Angeles after learning a pimp has cheated on her. Baker’s crew shot the entire 2015 film using three iPhone 5S devices, with additional photography from an anamorphic clip-on lens, an app, and Steadicam Smoothee Mounts. Baker upsized to 35mm for his recent “The Florida Project.”
Director Matthew A. Cherry shot his 2017 feature film about an Uber driver who gets life-changing news on New Year’s Eve using an iPhone 6s. He engages with nine different sets of passengers over the course of the night. The film’s include stars Dorian Missick, Omar Dorsey, Robinne Lee, Xosha Roquemore, Amin Joseph and Skye P. Marshall.
“I Play With the Phrase Each Other”
“I Play With the Phrase Each Other,” a 2014 crime drama from director Jay Alvarez, refers to itself as the first film with a plot entirely comprised of phone conversations, but phones played a major role in filming the movie as well. Shot completely on an iPhone, the film details a complex cyber-criminal world as Jake, played by Alvarez , moves in with a friend of his who makes money by scamming people on Craigslist.
Korean directors Chan-kyong Park and Chan-wook Park shot the 2011 fantasy short film “Night Fishing” using an iPhone 4. The movie stars Kwang-rok Oh as a fisherman whose life is altered when he makes an unexpected catch.
“Uneasy Lies the Mind”
Another 2014 feature, “Uneasy Lies the Mind,” stars Jonas Fisch as a man who begins to lose his mind while enjoying a couple’s retreat at his grandiose winter home. Director Ricky Fosheim shot the thriller using only an iPhone 5.
“Searching for Sugar Man”
Malik Bendjelloul’s Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man,” follows two South African men as they attempt to uncover the mysteries surrounding Rodriguez, a 1970s rock-and-roll artist. After Bendjelloul ran out of film for his 8mm camera, he used an iPhone app called 8mm Vintage Camera to shoot the remainder of the movie, which came out in 2012.
OK, technically Michel Gondry’s 2017 film “Detour” is more of a commercial for Apple than a film that just happens to make use of one of their mobile devices. But the quirky French filmmaker’s whimsical “Red Balloon”-style promotional piece stands on its own as a clever way to show off the smartphone’s capabilities, and is accompanied by a series of handy videos offering tips on iPhone photography.
“Romance in NYC”
Tristan Pope’s short film, “Romance in NYC,” stars Pope and Rachael Winegar as a couple navigating the ups and downs of their relationship against a New York City backdrop. Pope shot the 18-minute film with an iPhone 6.
“Framed,” from French director Mael Sevestre, is about a photographer, played by Franck Descombes, who is struck by an unanticipated incident while taking photos in the woods. Sevestre made the short using an iPhone 4S.
“DragonBorne,” uploaded to YouTube by Matthew Pearce, stars a “Game of Thrones”-esque protagonist as she confronts a dragon, added later with the help of visual effects. Pearce shot the minute-and-a-half-long film with an iPhone 6, and edited with apps like iMovie and Filmic Pro.
Chris Nong posted his eight-minute short film, “The Editor” on YouTube in 2011, after filming the movie entirely on an iPhone 4. The adventure film features intense action scenes, including multiple car chases, which Nong edited in Final Cut Pro.