Last year, KT, the local carrier that was the first to sell iPhones in Korea, invited a dozen renowned cineastes to make short films using the device.
A few months later it launched a competition for ordinary smartphone users to submit works.
Director Lee Joon-ik, who chaired the jury, called smartphone movies a “democratization of cinema” that allows anyone to create in a previous interview with The Korea Times. Winning works of the festival were even invited to compete at the Shanghai International Film Festival recently.
In an effort to encourage more talented amateurs to realize their filmmaking dreams, KT runs an academy that not only teaches the technicalities of the creative process but also rents out production equipment.
Renowned cineastes that participated in last year’s iPhone 4 Film Festival give lessons, including Bong Man-dae ("Cinderella"), Yoon Jong-seok (“Marine Boy”), Lee Ho-jae-I (“The Scam”), Lim Pil-seong (“Hansel and Gretel”) and Jeong Yoon-cheol (“A Man Who Was Superman”). Also a regular lecturer is Min Byun-wu, who won the Olleh Lotte Smartphone Film Festival’s grand prize with a homemade pet video.
Aspiring filmmakers that register for these classes come from all walks of life, from corporate workers and housewives to even grade schoolers.