Park Chan-wook, a flexible stylist with an esthetic that straddles the line between the bizarre and the mainstream has masterminded such hit films as "Joint Security Area", "The Vengeance Trilogy", "Oldboy" and "Thirst". Now, Park's latest adoption is a 30 minute short film that is exclusively shot with Apple's iPhone 4.
Paranmanjang (known stateside as Night Fishing) which means "life is full of ups and downs" in Korean was shot over 10 days on the peninsula, using a crew of less than 90 people, with a budget of US$133,000 or roughly KRW150,000. Ten iPhone 4s were used, three of which were controlled by Park himself in the filming. The short film was co-directed with his younger brother, Chan-kyong and was partially funded through a deal with the wireless provider KT who happens to have the exclusive distribution rights to iPhone in South Korea.
This horror fantasy film with a plot that is centered on a man trying to transcend his current life while being entangled in a murder opens in select South Korean theaters on January 27 with its international release currently unspecified. Most likely its availability for viewing on the Internet will be in a few months. Even though, the film was shot with an iPhone, there is still a digital gleam to the rich images which suggests this is the result of some serious skill. Nevertheless, this was not the only device he was using. He had other equipment at his disposal such as sound equipment, lighting, an array of lenses and other neat gadgetry that helped him capture the shots he needed.
Against this backdrop, it is great to see a brilliant filmmaker squeeze every last drop of cinematic creativity from a mobile phone which is like watching a great magician do a slight of hand trick. We may not all be magicians, but most of us own a deck of cards and have challenged ourselves to some amateur card tricks in the comfort of our own home. Night Fishing may convince the inner film maker in us that there is more wonders in a mobile phone than we first thought.
Park spoke to the media during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. "From hunting for a film location, shooting auditions, to doing a documentary on the filming process, everything was shot with the iPhone 4. There are some good points of making a movie with the iPhone as there are many people around the world who like to play and have fun with them. Compared to other movie cameras, the iPhone was good because it is light and small and because anyone can use it. "People are familiar with the iPhone," he said. "Many are obsessed with it. This is another way to use it."
Videos shot with smartphones are already on the Internet, but this is the first attempt by a high-profile Korean director. Park Chan-wook was thinking small when he choose an inexpensive filmmaking tool to create something huge!