Interviews iPhone Film festival News, , , , , — March 22, 2013 15:07 — 8 Comments

Interview: Ruben Kazantsev, founder of the iPhone Film Festival and producer of Departure

Ruben Kazantsev, iphone film festival, departure, macworld/iworld2013;

Ruben Kazantsev, co-founder of the iPhone Film Festival and producer of Departure

As the iPhone Film Festival (IFF) approaches its third anniversary, Kazantsev talks exclusively to smartmoviemaking.com from his Beverly Hills home on the future of the festival, the potential of mobile films  - and his new film Departure, the ‘World’s first iPhone ‘multi-film’


I have seen the trailer for Departure (above) by Conrad Mess, looks good, and certainly whets the appetite, what’s the plan for the movie now?

Ruben Kazantsev: Once editing is done we will start to market the Departure brand, since we are all over the world it only makes sense to market it across the globe. Although I say so myself, it’s simply amazing and I am blown away by what we have done so far.

When’s the next (fifth) iPhone Film Festival?

RK: We have not confirmed but possibly February 2014 and a deadline in November 2013 (watch this space!). We will confirm at the end of the year, but we will most likely announce the winners at MacWorld/iWorld as we have done the previous two years.

What’s the criteria for submissions?

RK: Same as every year. Shoot on an iOS device and use any software/hardware as needed to produce and edit your movie.

You are coming up to the IFF’s  third anniversary – well done! – what’s the secret of its success?

RK: This is our passion. IFF is all about the filmmakers, it’s that simple. Also we are so involved with the filmmakers, and we have made many good friends across the globe over the years. A lot of online iPhone festivals came and went thinking it would be an easy way to make money, but for us it’s far more than just a financial gain, it’s knowing we have a place for filmmakers to showcase their talent without any investment.

Do you think the IFF – and mobile filmmaking in general – has had the recognition it deserves? The IFF has been crucial in showcasing these types of films, do you feel now that people are finally getting it?

RK: We still have a lot of work to do, but we are getting noticed by many well known filmmakers and films that have been partly shot on iPhone films are even winning Academy awards. I think more and more people are taking mobile filmmakers seriously now.

The Olleh Smartphone Film Festival in Seoul sounds interesting, what’s the connection with IFF?

RK: We have joined forces this year, meaning all films submitted to IFF will automatically compete at Olleh. We have been invited to the opening event in South Korea, to talk about IFF. Our goal has always been to get our filmmakers noticed across the goal, this is one of the reasons IFF and Olleh are joining forces.

You live in Los Angeles, the film capital of the world, what’s the state of the industry? Do you think the studios can adapt – are they aware that filmmakers are increasingly creating on tablets and smartphones – and indeed the public are using these devices to primarily watch content on, for example?

RK: The industry is not what it use to be. I’m hoping they will notice the unlimited amount of talent all over the world. And use this talent to create, or bring back, the old Hollywood, most of our iPhone filmmakers are working with no budget whatsoever – and what they are producing is simply amazing.

Has Apple’s iPhone peaked in popularity? Have you noticed a change in output on the device?

The only change we see year after year, is more and more filmmakers working with the device. There are millions of iPhone owners and we have over 1,000 films on our database, this means it will never peak, in my opinion.

What about the new Samsung Galaxy S4 and other models, do you think they are a threat to the iPhone in terms of filmmaking?

RK: To the iPhone filmmaker I don’t think there will ever be a threat. A few years back the Nokia N8 came out and there were a lot of great films produced on it, but then it died down. The iPhone films have been coming non stop since we launched IFF. I’m not sure the reason for this, maybe Apple owners are more creative than the rest?

Any new mobile filmmakers or films you have seen lately that you are impressed with?

RK: Our  IFF winners this year – and previous winners – they are simply amazing. I take my hat off to all iPhone filmmakers.

Finally, thoughts on the past three years of IFF, what are you most proud of?

It’s been a very long journey and I feel this is just the beginning. I am proud of all our filmmakers, not just the winners. It take a lot to plan everything and execute it and the fact that our filmmakers have it out there for the world to see makes me very proud: no excuses they just did it.

• Watch this special Q&A session at this year’s Macworld/iWorld conference in San Francisco, where Kazantsev talks about Departure and the IFF

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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