Best known as the director of notable literary adaptations like Pride & Prejudice (2005), Anna Karenina (2012), and Atonement (2007), as well as some big-budget blockbusters like Hanna (2011), Pan (2015), and Darkest Hour (2017), director Joe Wright might be the last person you think of when you hear that a new horror film has been shot on a smartphone.

Yet, here we are.

And not only did Wright shoot a film with any smartphone, he shot a short fantasy musical (titled Princess & Peppernose) with a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. Again, surprising, right?

Let’s check out the trailer and see how Wright was able to pull off this project with his Galaxy smartphone.

Smartphone Filmmaking Is Here!

Filmed as part of a new #withGalaxy campaign, Wright’s short, musical fantasy film kicked off the viral campaign project with some of his signature high-minded flair as the film certainly looks and feels like a big-budget feature.

And while there have been some notable examples of filmmakers shooting feature films on iPhones (Sean Baker’s Tangerine and the several films recently shot by Steven Soderbergh come to mind), this is a big step for Samsung and their Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Overall the project looks to showcase a wide variety of shot types and techniques which you might not expect to see with something you’d more often associate with TikTokers and Instagram feeds.

Galaxy Smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is indeed a solid option for those who might be interested in getting into smartphone filmmaking. It can shoot 4K at up to 60fps and features a range of lens options with its quad rear camera (which includes ultra-wide, wide, and dual telephoto lenses). 

It’s not going to rival a higher-end cinema camera or anything, but its 108MP pro sensor should give you some of the best quality footage currently on the smartphone market.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra also features 100x Space Zoom with its dual tele-lens system so you can really punch in too when you’re far away (not as relevant for controlled filmmaking sets, but still impressive if you are shooting more documentary style or just run-and-gun video).

Joe WrightDirector Joe Wright on set with his setup for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Thoughts on the Process

In speaking on his process of shooting a short film with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Wright did have high praise for the camera as well as the opportunity to explore this smartphone-filmmaking space for the first time.

“My parents ran and founded the first dedicated puppet theater in the UK, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get back to my roots," Wright said. "What surprised me the most throughout this process was how quick and easy it was to get right in there and be present with the characters and the story. The camera is always ready, and all you need to do is point and shoot.”

And while the jury might still be out as to whether smartphone filmmaking overall is here to stay, this is another helpful case study for anyone interested in adapting to this future-focused format as they plan out their careers.

But how do you feel? Any more or less interest in shooting a film with a smartphone?

Let us know in the comments below.