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Oscar-winning “Searching for Sugar Man” movie was shot with an iPhone


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An Oscar-winning documentary was shot with an iPhone and a $1.99 application which resembles 8mm film cameras.

“Searching for Sugar Man” is a documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul. The movie depicts the efforts of two people living in Cape Town, South Africa, trying to find singer Sixto Rodriguez, who went missing after a glorious career on the African continent.

searching-for-sugar-man-documentary-oscar-iphone-app Oscar-winning "Searching for Sugar Man" movie was shot with an iPhone News and Reviews

“Searching for Sugar Man” director shot the Oscar-winning documentary with an iPhone. Credits: Sony Pictures Classics.

“Searching for Sugar Man” won two of the most prestigious awards

Mr. Rodriguez is an American musician who did not manage to break into the US music industry. However, he became one of the most popular singers ever in South Africa.

The story of Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom is very nice and heart-warming. As a result, the film won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary earlier this year, as well as an Oscar.

“Searching for Sugar Man” achievement to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary is even more impressive after finding out the story behind the filming process.

Cheap iPhone application came to the rescue

In an interview with CNN, the director explained how the movie was almost scrapped because he ran out of funding. Close to the completion of the movie, Bendjelloul exhausted his budget because the film was shot with expensive Super 8mm film camera.

A film for this camera is very pricey, but producers Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn, had to give the movie that retro-look, in order to make it appear more realistic. Unfortunately, they ran out of money when there were only a few shots left to take. And that’s when Malik discovered “this $1 app” on his phone.

8mm Vintage Camera: probably the first iPhone app to win an Oscar

The “$1 app” actually costs $1.99 and is available for iOS users. It is called 8mm Vintage Camera and it is developed by Nexvio. What makes it even more interesting, is that nobody could tell the difference between shots taken on the 8mm film and the iPhone application.

8mm Vintage Camera is regarded as the Instagram of videos, giving iPhone users the ability to create retro movies. The app was very popular even before the Bendjelloul announced that he used iPhoneography to win an Oscar, but its popularity “skyrocketed” shortly after that.

The producers thanked the application developers and Sixto Rodriguez. The singer was invited to take part at the Academy Awards ceremony, but he politely declined because he did not want to “overshadow” the achievement of the movie makers.

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