Sep 27, 2014

And Uneasy Lies the Mind - Feature Film Shot Entirely on an iPhone

I am not a film critic and have no interest in becoming one. But I am very interested in what innovative people are doing with their iPhones especially in the area of photography and film making. I was contacted by Ricky Fosheim who introduced me to his newly released film And Uneasy Lies the Mind. After viewing the film, I had a few questions for him about this ambitious undertaking.

First of all please tell me a bit about yourself.
RF:  My name is Ricky Fosheim and I'm the founder of Detention Films, where I've produced three feature films and dozens of music videos.  I've been living in Los Angeles for 8 years working as a freelance director, producer, and cinematographer.  

This film project was funded through Kickstarter. Did you exceed the $10,000 budget that was raised through your campaign?
RF:  Yes, we raised $10,000 through Kickstarter, but our total budget was around $18,000.  

Why shoot with an iPhone?
RF:  We chose to shoot this movie on the iPhone for multiple reasons.  The big one was the aesthetic and how this pertained to the story we were trying to tell.  The movie is told from the perspective of someone who has just been hit over the head and is experiencing severe trauma.  So, everything we did visually and creatively came from this perspective.  We were looking for something dirty, gritty, and somewhat abstract.  When shooting on an iPhone through 35mm lenses and a lens adaptor, there are a lot of really interesting side effects.  You have to shoot through a glass focusing screen that is extremely textured, almost like a finger print.  It also causes the image to be heavily vignetted and creates these chromatic aberrations.  All of these imperfections were what we were striving to find.  We even chose to leave dirt and dust on the focusing screen, making the image even dirtier.  So, right off the bat you get a vignetted, textured image.  Add to that the contrasty and saturated iPhone image and it makes for a really cool look.  Paired with a twisted script, an unconventional score, and a Stan Brakhage approach to editing and you get a very dark tone and mood.    

What special equipment did you use with your iPhone (accessories, lighting, sound equipment, etc.)?
RF:  We used a Turtle Back lens adaptor and Nikon Nikkor 35mm lenses.  We shot entirely on the iPhone 5.  For sound, we hired a professional production sound mixer, who came equipped with a mixer, boom mics, and lavalieres.  We also used a couple cool toys like a suction cup for a car mount and a tiny skateboard dolly to add movement to the camera.  I shot most the movie hand held by adding a monopod to the camera.     

What challenges did you face using only an iPhone?
RF:  For the most part, we chose to embrace the limitations of the camera as opposed to fight them.  For example, whenever we would plug the camera into an extension cord while filming, there would get random, quick bursts of over exposed frames.  I'm assuming it had to do with irregular amperage in the house.  Since our movie is told from the memory of a dying man, these electrical pulses were encouraged and welcomed.  The big issue for us had to do with shooting in extremely cold weather.  At times we were shooting at night when it was only 5 degrees Fahrenheit.  The camera would only stay on for 30 seconds.  So, we had to continuously rotate cameras and keep them underneath our armpit between takes to keep them warm.   

How long did it take to shoot the movie?
RF:  We shot principal photography in Mammoth Lakes, California for 3 weeks.  I also spent an additional 3 weeks shooting the opening and closing title sequence, which was a very tedious process.  
How was the editing done?
RF:  Editing was done on a desktop computer with Final Cut Pro 7.  We transcoded the native .h264 files to Pro Res.  We then edited and finished in Pro Res.  

All of the movie posters were also created using an iPhone. What apps were used for editing?
RF:  The main poster was shot with traditional DSLR cameras.  The character posters, however, were all shot and edited on an iPhone. I took the the photos on the iPhone 5.  Ginger Lucero (@sxethang) did all the art direction and editing.  Grant Aldrich (@GrantTheMighty) did all the font treatment.  Not sure what apps they used.  I'm personally a big fan of Snapseed.     

Jonas Fisch stood out in the lead role. Does he have any upcoming projects planned?

Jonas Fisch is a super talented actor and is also a contemporary abstract painter.  He co-wrote the script, and his talents as painter can definitely be seen through out the script.   

How are you marketing the movie and what has been the response so far?

RF:  Currently, the movie is available on about thirty different VOD and Cable platforms in 7 different countries.  The reception so far has been terrific and I'm so happy to share this movie with the world.  I hope people look beyond the fact that it was shot on an iPhone and are able to enjoy the movie for what it is.  If you enjoy unpredictable movies with a labyrinth plot and twisted characters then this movie is for you.  It's definitely a cerebral bending movie.   

What's your next project?
RF:  I'm currently developing two other feature films, but nothing on the immediate horizon.  

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
RF:  Thank you so much, Geri, for all your time and hard work on this!  I'm so glad we were able to connect and I truly appreciate everything you've done!

And Uneasy Lies the Mind is now available to buy/rent On Demand and iTunes.  Please visit for more info


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