Tangerine is a low-budget, surprise hit. After premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to stellar reviews, the indie was acquired by Magnolia Pictures and distributed theatrically this past July to more praise and solid box office. It’s an indie theatrical success story, but it’s also making waves in the world of digital media.
The film was shot on an iPhone using the FiLMiC Pro app, a revolutionary new tool helping filmmakers everywhere tell their story without breaking their bank and using the most practical equipment. And who better to get more information on the app and its impact on the industry than the creator, Cinegenix’s Neill Barham?
Washington Filmworks sat down with Barham to discuss the creation of FiLMiC PRO and what it means for digital content creation.
Washington Filmworks (WF): For those who are unfamiliar, how would you describe FiLMiC Pro and how did you conceive it?
Neill Barham (NB): FiLMiC Pro is a mobile video camera that strives to give you all the functionality and manual control that you would traditionally get on a $5,000 to $10,000 ENG camera in a package that fits right in your pocket and happens to be with you everywhere. Originally conceived as a B-Roll camera, I quickly came to realize that FilMiC Pro (and smartphones in general) wouldn’t just augment traditional modes of production, but would invite countless new people into content and media production.
WF: In what specific ways does the app advance filmmaking (as well as distribution, post-production, etc.)?
NB: Far and away the most specific advancement that FiLMiC Pro does for filmmaking is open the doors for creative expression to people who traditionally wouldn’t have been able to get their voice or original content seen or heard. By taking mobile video storytelling seriously, before anyone else, we showed an interest and respect for people who may have been marginalized in the past through the traditional economics of the film production process. We could certainly get into the minutia of what the app does, for example supporting Moondog Lab’s 2.40:1 anamorphic adapter, so mobile users can create high quality, high resolution wide screen productions on a mobile device, but ultimately each tool or feature set is a cog in the wheel of a greater access to storytelling.
WF: How does FiLMiC Pro and the content it creates fit into the evolution of media and the larger creative economy?
NB: I think we are just starting to witness a tipping point. As mobile video content moves from novelty to mainstream applications, the implications for that are profound. Consolidation of news and media by a select group of organizations hurts the free flowing exchange of ideas and our democracy as a whole. Well, traditional news media isn’t going to have a stranglehold on what is categorized as news and what isn’t. People are going to be able to circumvent the system and use FiLMiC Pro, mobile devices and social media to expand the dialogue. Additionally, as the next generation grows up learning mobile content creation and workflow, we are going to witness the Uber-ification of content generation, where exponentially more people are going to have the skill set to contribute to the rapidly changing media ecosystem – that’s extraordinarily exciting!
WF: What is next for the app? Do you see more feature films like Tangerine in its future?
NB: We are growing rapidly this year, and our little start up is now a 10-person team, expanding into image optimization and enhancement, a stand-alone edit app, and crossing over into the Android platform so educators teaching FiLMiC Pro in schools all over the country can teach the next generation of filmmakers a unified curriculum that supports the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) reality of most school districts. The success of Sean Baker’s Tangerine is a watershed moment in independent film and throws the doors wide open to who can tell a story and what your story can be about and that is a powerful message for up and coming filmmakers. Quality is going to carry the day, regardless of what you shoot on, and originality is something we are all starved for in this era of safer and safer comic book sequel Hollywood film production. We are already seeing an increase in feature length productions shot with FiLMiC Pro, and are working with Sean Baker and others such as Seattle’s Smarthouse Creative to create a FiLMiC feature film fund of sorts, so we can help pay it forward and enable another batch of thought-provoking original content hit the big screen.
Washington Filmworks thanks Neill Barham for his innovative insight into the industry. Find out more about FilMiC Pro and its revolutionary capabilities here.
Entrepreneur Neill Barham is the guiding vision behind FiLMiC Pro. Under his leadership FiLMiC Pro has garnered 2 Video Camera App of the Year Awards and a place on Tap! Magazine’s 50 Best Apps of All Time. Neill has spoken or taught at conventions, workshops and masterclasses all over world. Neill’s driving ambition is to bring accessible, world class storytelling tools to creative individuals in every corner of the globe.