Oscar-Winning Documentary Filmmaker Used His iPhone When Money Ran Out

When Malik Bendjelloul — director of the Academy Award-winning documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man‘ — ran out of money just a few necessary shots away from completing his film, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do. He had decided to shoot the film on a Super 8 film camera, but the cost of film had taken a larger toll on his budget than he had expected.

That’s when he stumbled onto the $2 iPhone app that saved his film and, to some extent, is the reason Bendjelloul now has an Oscar sitting on his mantle.

The app is called 8mm Film Camera, and when Bendjelloul discovered it, he was surprised and delighted to find that it looked “basically the same as the real stuff.”

With the app’s help he was able to complete his award-winning film, enjoying the effect it produced so much that he even used it to re-film some of his already captured footage over again off a computer screen.

To learn more, either about the iPhone app that saved an Oscar-winner or the Oscar-winner itself, check out the short CNNMoney snippet at the top or swing by the documentary’s website.

(via iPhoneography)

  • Mansgame

    So this producer did not own a single camera capable of video better than the iPhone? Not a $500 used DSLR?

  • Alex Guy

    Uhhh….apple doesnt make DSLRs. ;)

  • Mike

    I saw a little about what he shot with his iPhone. It was of prerecorded video that he played on a computer or a TV and recorded with an app to make it look like 8mm film. Not news worthy.

  • Zeus

    He was shooting super 8 film…..not hd video.

  • Black Light Shoots

    Lol but it just made news XD and on the side won an Oscar lololololz oh the envy XD

  • 5matze

    to bad he had only a crappy iphone and no better phone with a better camera.

  • jsjsj4

    ist just payed PR from apple.. you knwo how such things work.

  • numnutz

    dont confuse the guys here at petapixel with facts….

  • Mansgame


  • Mansgame

    Right, but iPhone isn’t 8mm film either so he was using an app to process it. My point is that couldn’t he shoot in HD or even SD and then process it to look like his film? What was gained by choosing an iPhone is the point.

  • Ken Elliott

    Yes, but not with $2 worth of software. Remember the “ran out of money” quote in the interview?

  • Mansgame

    But he’s a FILM MAKER! Doesn’t he already have software?

  • Pablo Ricasso

    No sh$t, Sherlock…you for real?

  • Eziz


  • olafs_osh

    Well, this is advertisement post and it’s a bad practice to not say so in the very beginning of the article.

  • Aaro Keipi

    Have you ever seen Super 8 footage? iPhone is more than adequate–there was clearly no need for a better camera.

  • stefanhellbergDOTcom

    what is all the whine about? Just get the message and like it. Cameras are just tools…

  • Ken Elliott

    He was shooting 8mm film. You edit film with mechanical tools, not software. As I understand it, he ran out of funds and was forced to shoot in video. The look doesn’t match 8mm film, and I suspect his video editing software didn’t have filters that could mimic the look of real film. Could he try/buy other filters? Perhaps, if he had money. But as unlikely as it sounds, he found a $2 app on an iPhone that worked good enough. He made it work good enough – that’s the interesting part of the story.



    The filmmaker wins an Oscar for his work, and most of you whine about him using an iPhone.

    It’s about the content you nimrods, not the tools.
    You just don’t get it do you?

  • marcdraco

    Precisely what I just said to a “filmmaker” who did a 10 min “Harry Potter” homage shot on Red and $000s of soft and hardware.

    10/10 for style minus several million for originality. Content is king!