Over the last century, each generation of technology revolutionized filmmaking. But with the smartphone filmmaking, the barrier to entry drops to something close to zero.
It's an ultra low-cost medium. It's easy to use. It also offers a sense of immediacy -- you can do away with crew or shoot surreptitiously. It turns anyone into an amateur filmmaker -- but as the smartphone is being adopted by professional filmmakers, it's fostering a new aesthetic.
"At day's end, I'm just a guy trying to get a film made," Kowalchuk said. "I like Super 16mm film and have been considering using it for 'Ode.' Simply put, I thought it might be cool to make a film for worldwide theatrical distribution with a device I could pull out of my pocket." He adds, "there are smart phones other than an iPhone that could probably get the job done."
Kowalchuk acknowledges that being an early adopter has its benefits. "The pro of using a mobile device is that people think it's cool and cutting-edge," he says. "In a way, I agree. I am gaining access to a few major talent agencies and managers and other companies I might not otherwise have access to. People want to read the script, too. This is not a minor consideration."
However, he warns, "the cons might outweigh the pros. More than anything else, it's an unproven technology."
Asked whether he's receiving support from Apple, Kowalchuk is vague. "We are currently in discussions with select hardware and software providers and manufacturers," he said.
Filmmaker Sascha Ciezata brings a very different sensibility to iPhone filmmaking. His film, When Lynch Met Lucas, was the first animated film ever shot with an iPhone and drew extensive media coverage, going viral. The video used audio from a speech by David Lynch recalling a meeting he had with George Lucas regarding his possible role directing the "Star Wars" sequel, "Return of the Jedi."
"I've worked in live action and animation, but in 2010, I didn't have money to shoot the Lynch story on film," Ciezata said. "So, I decided to try using my iPhone as the camera and, working through a trial-and-error process, I simply made things up as I went along." For example, he used an Ikea bookstand in place of a tripod to mount the camera. "At that time there were no iPhone tripods and other ancillary equipment like you have now."