The first feature film shot entirely on a smartphone will have its theatrical premiere in Los Angeles on 16 December.
Olive, billed as a film about “a little girl who transforms the lives of three people without speaking one word”, was filmed on a Nokia N8, which was double-taped to a set of traditional film-camera lenses.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, director Hooman Khalili described how he had to hack the phone to turn off its auto-zoom and auto-focus features in order to get the technology to behave as he wanted. “The camera thinks it knows what you want to focus on,” he said. “But it doesn’t know.”
The rest of the film’s production was more conventional. Khalili hired a casting director, location scouts, make-up artists and a Hollywood star (two-time Oscar nominee Gena Rowlands), bringing the total budget up to $500,000. The money was supplied by Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer at Facebook, when Nokia (NYSE: NOK) turned down Khalili’s request for funding.
While he is the first to go full-length, Khalili is not alone in experimenting with mobile movie-making. Oldboy director Park Chan-wook announced that he was filming a 30-minute short on the iPhone earlier this year. His film, called Paranmanjang (Korean for “a life full of ups and downs”), is a fantasy horror about a troubled father-daughter relationship.
Olive will be screened at the Laemmle Fallbrook 7 cinema in West Hills, LA, making it eligible for consideration in the Oscars race. The first five minutes of the film are available to watch above and on the official Olive website.
This article originally appeared in The Guardian.