Watch: Lulu Wang's iPhone-Shot Chinese New Year Short Film 'Nian'

February 2, 2021
Source: YouTube

Nian Short Film

"She's curious, that's all… And the forest is a magical place." While developing her next projects, Chinese-American filmmaker Lulu Wang (director of The Farewell) has partnered with Apple to create a new short film shot entirely on the iPhone. Titled Nian, the film was made on the iPhone 12 Pro Max by Apple. Wang could not travel, so she directed it while a crew in China filmed. A Chinese New Year legend reimagined as a contemporary coming-of-age story. Nian tells the story of a brave young girl’s determination to find — and confront — the widely feared Nian beast. When she comes face to face with him, she discovers that Nian is not at all terrifying and the two strike up a beautiful friendship. It's kinda a Chinese take on Where the Wild Things Are, with some nods to My Neighbor Totoro (and Okja). With an original score by Alex Weston. For those curious to see how it was made, Apple has also released a behind-the-scenes video (added below).

Thanks to Twitter for the tip on this one. Original description from Apple's YouTube: "A Chinese New Year legend reimagined as a contemporary coming-of-age story, Shot on iPhone 12 Pro Max. Directed by Lulu Wang and created by the team behind the Golden Globe nominated film, The Farewell." Nian is directed by Chinese-American filmmaker Lulu Wang, who made The Farewell after her feature debut Posthumous in 2014. You can follow Lulu on Twitter @thumbelulu for more updates from her. Variety explains: "Wang and her crew worked on Nian remotely in the U.S. with a mirror crew on the ground in China because of COVID travel restrictions. [They] used the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s Dolby Vision, low-light, ultra-wide lens, telephoto lens, stabilization and time-lapse features. The production featured hard-to-shoot night scenes and scenes set inside a cave, where space and lighting were limited." Making-of video here. For more shorts, click here.

Find more posts: Short Film, To Watch



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