9 Best Movies Shot on Smartphones

Creativity knows no bounds. And neither does movie production. In this day and age, you only need a smartphone to bring your whole filming process to life and beyond.

Setting aside a huge chunk of budget for movie cameras isn’t a requirement anymore. Several mainstream directors have resorted to using iPhone to shoot their films wholly.

In this post, we are going to talk about the best movies that were shot using smartphones to captivate the audience.



Olive is a fantasy movie directed by Hooman Khalili. It was released in 2011.

The movie is about a mysterious girl with magical powers who transforms the lives of three people she meets without uttering a single word.

Hooman Khalili shot the entire film on Nokia N8. He hacked it to adjust its auto-focus. It is the first feature-length movie to be shot on a smartphone.

Olive received nominations for awards at New Media Film Festival in 2012.



Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man is a documentary film directed by Malik Bendjelloul. It was released in 2012.

The documentary movie follows two South African fans who search for their favorite musicians, Sugar Man AKA Rodriguez.

Malik Bendjelloul ran out of funds during its shooting. In order to finish the film, he shot the final parts using his iPhone and an app called Vintage Camera to achieve the 8mm effect.

Searching for Sugar Man won many prestigious awards including BAFTA and Academy Award for the Best Documentary in 2013.



I Play With the Phrase Each Other

I Play With the Phrase Each Other is an experimental film directed by Jay Alvarez. It was released in 2013.

The movie follows the story of a poet who decides to move to a big city on his friend’s recommendation. When he arrives, his friend is nowhere to be found.

It was shot on an iPhone and composed of phone call conversation in its entirety.

I Play With The Phrase Each Other won a Special Jury Prize at Slamdance Film Festival in 2014.



And Uneasy Lies The Mind

And Uneasy Lies The Mind is a thriller movie directed by Ricky Fosheim. It was released in 2014.

It follows a young movie star named Peter who aims to celebrate his birthday at his ski mansion with his wife and friends. They begin to lose control when drugs and alcohol are introduced.

Rickey Fosheim was shot entirely on iPhone 5 with the help of TurtleJacket PentaEye lens wheel and Nikon Cinema Prime lens.

And Uneasy Lies The Mind achieved Excellence in Title Design at SXSW Film Festival in 2014.

Read more: Most Prestigious Independent Short Film Awards




Tangerine is a comedy-drama film directed by Sean Baker. It was released in 2015.

The movie’s plot revolves around a transgender woman known as Alexandra played by Mya Taylor. She finds out that she is being conned by her partner and her pimp.

It was shot by using three iPhone 5s phones and other equipment such as Tiffen’s Steadicam and FiLMiC Pro camera app.

Tangerine premiered at several film festivals and went on to claim accolades at Independent Spirit Awards and Gotham Independent Film Awards.



9 Rides

9 Rides is a drama film directed by Matthew A. Cherry. It was released in 2016.

The movie follows an Uber driver, played by Dorian Missick on the busiest night of the year, New Year’s Eve. The nine passengers he rides with help him come to terms with life-changing news.

Matthew A. Cherry won an Oscar for his animated short film, Hair Love in 2019. He shot 9 Rides on iPhone 6s. It premiered at the SXSW festival in 2016.



High Fantasy

High Fantasy is a South African comedy-drama film directed by Jenna Bass. It was released in 2017.

The movie is about four friends who go on a camping trip deep through the South African countryside. When they wake up, they notice that they have all swapped bodies with each other.

High Fantasy was shot in a found-footage style by using multiple smartphones. It was premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and Berlinale in 2018.




Unsane is a thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh. It was released in 2018.

It follows a woman known as Sawyer played by Claire Foy. She involuntarily signs a 24-hour admission in a psychiatric hospital where she confronts her greatest fear.

Steven Soderbergh shot the film in only 10 days by using iPhone 7 plus and items such as FiLMiC Pro camera app, Moment lenses, and JOBY tripods to achieve the gritty look.

Unsane became the first movie to be made using a smartphone by an Oscar-winning director. It opened at Berlin Film Festival and managed to gross $14.2 million at the box office on a budget of $1.5 million.



High Flying Bird

High Flying Bird is a sports drama film directed by Steven Soderberg. It was released in 2019.

It focuses on a sports agent played by Andre Holland. He has 72 hours to come up with a plan to end a lockout between players and the basketball league.

Steven Soderbergh shot the movie entirely using iPhone 8 Plus and Moondog Labs’ anamorphic lens to enhance the final result.

High Flying Bird premiered at Slamdance Film Festival and garnered rave reviews from critics for its direction and shooting style.



Final thoughts

These are our pick of the movies that were shot completely using a smartphone. So, if you don’t have the budget for renting or buying expensive film cameras, then you shouldn’t really worry.

All you need to have is your smartphone and editing applications to shoot your shot!

Read more: 10 Tips for Recording Yourself on Video with a Smartphone

Posted by Adil Ashraf

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