After screening at last week’s NEXT section of the Sundance Film Festival, indie dramedy Tangerine has been acquired by Magnolia Pictures for worldwide distribution. What makes the movie unique – aside from featuring two transgender actors making their screen debuts – is that it was shot entirely using an iPhone 5S.
Director Sean Baker (Starlet, Prince of Broadway) revealed this fact at a Q&A session after the screening, to audible gasps from the audience. The choice was made not only to save money, but also to allow the crew to shoot in public places without obtaining the proper permits. However, before aspiring filmmakers start making plans to direct their own feature-length iPhone movies, it should be noted that Baker attached anamorphic lenses to the phone and also used a special app called Filmic Pro, which gave him more control over the look than the phone’s standard camera application would allow.
The story of Tangerine follows two transgender prostitutes – played by newcomers Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez – as they tear through Hollywood on Christmas Eve in search of the pimp who broke one of their hearts. Despite the offbeat subject matter, the unique way the movie was shot and the mostly positive reviews could draw a nice-sized audience of curious indie fans. Magnolia, which also acquired the Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders-starring Results at this year’s festival, has not yet announced a release date for Tangerine.