In this week ’s news response I wanted to talk about the recent movie release “Unsane” coming out March 23rd. What I’ve gotten from the trailer is that Unsane follows a woman who is constantly moving from different cities to escape her stalker. At one point she is determined to be mentally ill because of her erratic behavior. What I just found out is that the movie was shot completely on the iPhone. I noticed that the cinematography of the film was not up to par of a usual feature film, but I just thought that the crew decided to cut back on costs by using a DSLR rather than then expensive big ARRI cameras. What shocks me the most about this film is how Soderbergh was able to convince people to fund a film shot only with a cell phone.
I imagined that this film was attempting to make fun of the film industry, and the job of cinematographers. The idea that their job could be diluted down to a phone. On the other hand, I thought Soderbergh was sacrificing cinematography in order to really exercise his capabilities as a director. In an interview at Sundance 2018 Soderbergh admitted that he chose to use iPhones due to budgetary constraints, but he believes that this form of filming opens a world of possibilities. He said many cinematographers feel the need to have big capture devices to be taken seriously, but Soderbergh doesn’t feel that way and see the iPhone as liberating.
I applaud Soderbergh because he is known for being experimental, and it is because of this people are still willing to take a look at his work. For example, he shot and directed the HBO series Mosaic which originated as an interactive app. I don’t believe this film will be a smashing success that will top the box office, but it is definitely pushing the boundaries of independent filmmaking. The biggest issue filmmakers are confronted with when making a film is how will the film be funded. Many times directors had to come out of pocket in order a movie to exists. If it is not crowdfunding then it is convincing big budget studios to fund your work, but be rejected because a film wouldn’t fit within their brand our it is too much of a risk. Our cell phones are now able to shoot 4K, but when it comes to shooting a film we disregard it because it comes off as amateur since the main purpose of a phone is not to shoot film. If Unsane is successful it can be a giant middle finger to big studios, and a wavering flag to independent filmmakers to follow. I know Soderbergh may not be the first film to shot entirely on a phone, but it may be the first to reach as big as an audience it has now.