Life Is But a Dream: Apple’s new martial arts short film, shot entirely on an iPhone

iPhone 13 Pro cameras

Apple has commissioned director Park Chan-wook to create a film, as part of its “Shot on iPhone” campaign. Park, who is best known for his short film Oldboy, used an iPhone 13 Pro to shoot a 21-minute fantasy martial arts movie called Life Is But a Dream.

The short film has been released on YouTube by Apple, and blends martial arts with romance and dark comedy; it was produced, shot and edited entirely in Korea. It also incorporates elements of pansori – Korea’s traditional musical storytelling technique – to tell a tale that encompasses both a wedding and a funeral.

Life Is But a Dream is shot entirely on an iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The team used various features of the latest iPhone lineup, including Cinematic mode, macro video, Night mode, the Ultra Wide camera, the Telephoto camera, optical image stabilization, and ProRes video recording.

Chan-wook has created work on an iPhone before; in 2011, he used an iPhone 4 to shoot the short film Night Fishing, which claimed the Golden Bear award for short film at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. It therefore comes as no surprise that Apple would invite him to take part in the promotional materials for the iPhone 13 Pro cameras.

The movie features original music from Jang Young-gyu, and will appear on broadcast, digital, social, and out-of-home media. We can naturally expect to see it on, Apple TV+ and Apple Music.

As well as the film, Apple has released a short “making of” video. In it, viewers are given a much deeper insight into the filmmaking process and Chan-wook’s intentions when creating the movie.

Park states in the behind-the-scenes clip: “A specific camera didn’t come to mind when I wrote it. What’s amazing is that we can capture such a story into a film with iPhone.”

“Shot on iPhone” is a long-running Apple ad campaign, and Life Is But a Dream does not represent the first time the Cupertino firm has commissioned a short film. We reported in January, for instance, that Apple had shared a 23-minute short film – also shot entirely on an iPhone 13 Pro – in celebration of Chinese New Year.

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