Illuminating Smartphone Filmmakers in San Diego

Celebrate filmmakers making movies with smartphones in San Diego April 26-28, 2024.

Illuminating Smartphone Filmmakers in San Diego

Big films aren’t always made with big cameras and large crews!

Something big began right here in San Diego. This year we’re shining a spotlight on some incredible people of all ages who are making movies with smartphone cameras. All brands!

Stories from around the world told through different genres, all shot with mobile phones, are visiting San Diego April 26-28. You have a chance to watch them and meet the filmmakers.

Horror, documentaries, drama, comedy, experimental, music, and more. There is no limit to the types of films one can make with a smartphone. We’re celebrating the humans behind them in San Diego’s International Mobile Film Festival (IMFF).

IMFF is the first international in-person film festival for only movies shot with mobile phone cameras, no other mobile devices. The only exception is a fraction of aerial drone footage, announced in 2018.

The IMFF launched in 2009 with a call for short 1-3 minute films to be screened on a large screen in a film festival that was as traditional as the red carpet, but as innovative as the technology to surface later in 2010 with the iPhone 4’s HD camera. The festival today is as intimate as the smartphone in your pocket. A genuine space to gather and celebrate this marvelous way to make movies.

Filmmakers from all over the world flew into San Diego to meet, connect, showcase their films and grow a global community around making movies with mobile phones. Filmmakers have come from as far as Australia, Macedonia, UK, Italy, Indonesia, Germany and as close as Canada and multiple states around the United States. Including some from the county of San Diego.

Each year since 2017, we are honored with a special Red Carpet Extravaganza with all filmmakers and contestants who go all out in a very entertaining red carpet performance with cosplayers Dude Vader and the Science Fiction Coalition. The red carpet “show” brings a San Diego memorable experience to the event.

This year we observe 13 annual editions of this unique three-day event in San Diego on the edge of Mission Bay at the Marina Village Conference Center. Bringing filmmakers and participants visiting San Diego a beautiful retreat in which to celebrate independent filmmaking with smartphones. Meet the judges!

The festival takes place during the last weekend in April since its inaugural edition in 2012.

Mobile Filmmakers have grown into an international community of passionate artists, filmmakers and content creators together to geek out about making movies with smartphone cameras.

IMFF announced it would begin accepting feature films during its 2016 edition.

Two full-length narrative feature films will screen at the festival this year.

Movie Theater Massacre by Ian Courtney with the Apple iPhone 12 Pro. Ian filled every position from writer and producer, to director and cinematographer and finally bringing all the elements together through editing, visual effects and color correction. Ian will be flying in from Detroit, Michigan to present the film and participate in a Q&A.

A Long Afternoon by Sohibanoo Zolghadr with the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. Sohibanoo said “We practiced sequence design for over a month, and when I tried to start, almost everyone said it was impossible. But I knew that with hard work and determination, we could do it.” The entire film was shot in one take. Sohibanoo plans to fly in from Iran to present her film and participate in a Q&A.

Festival attendees and participants won’t want to miss this year’s “Smartphone Action Filmmaking Workshop!”

Joey Min and Stephanie Pham, founders of Art School Dropouts will highlight their techniques for action filmmaking. Their film, “No Budget Zorro” shot entirely with an iPhone will be showcased during the workshop.

The schedule for the festival’s three days will be published soon with more details and tickets!

The SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking audio podcast, hosted by festival founder and director Susy Botello brings a live recording of its bi-weekly panel discussion with Levi Austin Morris, Ryan McDonald and Joey Min.

The podcast was launched by Susy in 2017, and has produced over 175 episodes. You’ll find it in most podcasting apps, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn and many more. It’s also on YouTube.


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