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Iconic South Korean Director Park Chan Wook Makes Filmmaking More Mobile

Sure, you’ve uploaded your phone video to YouTube, but did you ever think you’d see it in Cinemas?

Park Chan Wook, the South Korean director best known stateside for his revenge flick, Oldboy, has just released a new film. The only catch? Instead of using traditional video equipment, all he used was an iPhone 4. Of course, it’s only a 30 minute long film, but that’s still impressive given how much shooting goes into even a short film. Yes, people have probably shot a lot of mobile video that’s ended up on YouTube, and this film is not the first we’ve seen that was shot exclusively on the iPhone 4, but according to the agency representing Park, it will be the “first ever to be shown in cinemas.”


The film, Paranmanjang (or its English title, “Night Fishing”), was primarily shot with two iPhones but also incorporates footage from various smartphones owned by people on set. Park described the experience as surprising and spontaneous. He commented on how much more democratized the effort felt when using multiple people’s smartphones and discovering new angles and perspectives. While film is already a collaborative process, the voices of set workers are rarely incorporated into the final product in such a pronounced way.

Although the film cost about $130,000 to make, which is no small sum, it’s still only a fraction of a typical film budget. “Night Fishing” serves as an example of not only how affordable filmmaking has become, but also how the spread of video technology allows for the art form to become more democratized. People who are otherwise deterred by the cost of filmmaking will be more inclined to explore the medium and contribute to its form. Production ran about ten days with a crew of about 80. It tells the tail of a man that believes he killed a woman while fishing.

The film will premiere in a limited engagement on January 27th in South Korea, but we’re hoping we’ll be seeing it available online soon.