The Rise of Cell phone Cinema

Do you want to be a filmmaker but lack the resources to get started? Are you unsure of how to get your foot in the door? Today’s aspiring filmmakers have the advantage of the availability of unprecedented resources to create their own feature films.  Most recently, the smartphone has become a welcome gateway platform into the industry.

A new genre of filmmaking, cell phone cinema, has emerged and is gaining in popularity. It has been referred to as the little cousin of the independent film industry. There are even film festivals created specifically for this medium such as the iPhone Film Festival, Pocket Film Festival & Mobil Film Festival, to name a few. These festivals showcase films created with smartphones by both award-winning directors and brand-new filmmakers. The first smartphone film competition, The World’s Smallest Film Festival, was held in New Orleans in 2004. In October 2006, the world’s largest Pocket Cinema Festival opened in Paris showing 80 films entirely shot on smartphones. Even some of the larger film festivals are creating categories for this new genre.

Mobile technology and the development of support software applications has evolved tremendously since then. Today’s smartphones, most notably the iPhone 5 and the Nokia Lumia 920, lumina 920

can be used to create a complete feature film from beginning to end. Everything from development and pre-production to production and post-production can be shot using one of these devices. They can even be used for the film’s distribution and viewing.

Advantages of smartphones over traditional film production are their accessibility, affordability, portability, adaptability and overall creative possibilities. Most technologically-inclined people in the United States are using cell phones. According to, of the world’s four billion mobile phones in use, 1.08 billion are smartphones. Because of the high demand and multiple manufacturers and mobile phone company competition, the cost of owning a smartphone has become more affordable than it has ever been. For many people their smartphone goes with them everywhere. We use them for taking everyday photos and home movies already, so their natural evolution into a filmmaking medium is not surprising. For aspiring filmmakers, this is a tool they already possess.

Filmmakers are our modern-day storytellers. Each person offers a unique viewpoint of the world based on his or her distinctive experiences and circumstances. Smartphone filmmaking gives them the means to do that. In the past, the various gatekeepers and obstacles, such as a lack of resources or connections, kept an unfair majority of these voices silent. With the affordability, ease-of-use, and capability of today’s smartphones, however, these obstacles have slowly begun to crumble. Cell phone Cinema is truly a grassroots movement. Once stifled voices are now being heard and more people are able to listen. So why not grab your smartphone and try it out?


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