Director Michel Gondry Makes a Charming Film on His iPhone, Proving That We Could Be Making Movies, Not Taking Selfies

What’s director Michel Gondry up to these days? Apparently, trying to show that you can do smart things–like make serious movies–with that smartphone in your pocket. The director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the Noam Chomsky animated documentary Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? has just released “Détour,” a short film shot purely on his iPhone 7 Plus. Subtitled in English, “Détour” runs about 12 minutes and follows “the adventures of a small tricycle as it sets off along French roads in search of its young owner.” Watch it, then ask yourself, was this really not made with a traditional camera? And then ask yourself, what’s my excuse for not getting out there and making movies?

According to Europe 1, the film took about two weeks to make, during which Gondry used the video software Filmic Pro, which costs $14.99 in Apple’s app store.

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Comments (8)
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  • James Morrison says:

    This is wonderful. For the record, the 2014 film, And Uneasy Likes the Mind was the first feature to be shot entirely on an iPhone, by Director/Producer/Cinematographer Ricky Fosheim

  • Patrick Synnott says:

    Well people were shooting films on mobile phones before Ricky- the base of the article is that it is the 1st major movie director to have produced a project solely using an iPhone 7. Whereas Ricky is an unknown filmmaker outside of a small-niche audience.

  • Brian Dzyak says:

    It is really great, but while the video files may have been acquired with an iPhone, clearly there was more going on with Sound and VFX.

    One of the truths of filmmaking is that audiences will forgive a bad picture (ie Blair Witch Project) but they are unforgiving when it comes to sound. This iPhone movie sounded great, which means he had to have mic’d his talent traditionally and not relied on the built-in mic. And of course the final soundtrack was rich with crisp dialogue, fx, and music.

    The video quality was pretty good all things considered. I was expecting this to be something he ran out to shoot all on his own, but the final credits betray the truth. Which begs the question… if you’re going to put that much effort into every other element of a movie, why not just use a higher quality camera?

  • Jon says:

    I’ve been encouraging young people (via workshops and after school clubs) to get more creative with their phones and tablets. Photography, film and animation are the main ones but podcasting and now live broadcasting are popular.

    Gondry’s film, from my perspective, is a great advert for the phone as a viable option for making movies. I advocate the iPad as a device for capturing, editing and sharing but in reality I also use my laptop for editing as it gives me more options.

    I agree that the post production almost makes the use of the iPhone as a camera a nonsense – I would love to have seen him work within the constraints of only using the iPad the create the film, as well as titles and music.

    I’m currently working on a project with other artists to do just that, using a single iPad which will be passed from one artist to another. Watch this space – on Twitter I’m @OnTheSuperFly

  • Richard Speedie says:

    As Brian says, the sound was definitely recorded off camera. It’s also worth pointing out that whilst the iPhone is the camera;
    a tripod was used
    most likely a DJO Osmo Mobile for steadicam type shots
    Post production in a professional editing package
    Top Colour correction, probably in Davinci Resolve
    and lastly and most importantly, a great deal of experience and knowledge in film making

    So yes, an iPhone 7 but it’s such a small part of the equation.

  • CharlieB says:

    I agree with all the above comments. If one understands the filmmaking process the reality is more than meets the eye.
    The gimmick was to sell the film (via a plug/sponsorship with Apple) and hype up the indie/guerrilla process of the making, but the reality is the actual production costs and post-production budget would’ve made the complete budget in excess of over $100k Euros.

  • Deen says:

    This director is like so late to film on handheld device. I Shot a short film on android, edited, no vfx and sound twitches. That was for the 2015 48hour this is him copying me essentially

  • Sam Konor says:

    A very interesting short film. Such an adventure of a children’s bike, with a change of owner. It was even a little sad when the girl was bought a new, suitable bike for her age. Super!

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