BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP
At the BronzeLens Film Festival this year I saw an exceptional film done in an exceptional way. When I found out how this was film was made I was blown away. Blown away is actually an understatement. 9 Rides is Matthew Cherry’s second feature film and it was shot entirely on the iPhone 6s. I am an avid Apple user so I was excited to hear how he accomplished this.
The 9 Rides script was mostly improvised, it follows an Uber driver, played by Dorian Missick who pulls a long shift on New Year’s Eve. Through a series of passengers including The Mindy Project’s Xosha Roquemore, and Queen Sugar’s Omar Dorsey, the driver is exposed to a variety of desires, egos, and anxieties, all the while dealing with his own life-changing news.
WHY iPHONE 6s?
MATTHEW CHERRY: It was mostly out of necessity. We had a lack of resources and it was the easiest way for us to shoot a movie fast and cheaply. But we also wanted to prove; specifically, for filmmakers of color, that it doesn’t matter what camera you shoot on; here is this filmmaker that looks like them that went out and made a movie with the same phone that they make phone calls on every day with less than a thousand dollars of accessories.
WERE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS USING AN iPHONE TO FILM?
MATTHEW CHERRY: The major limitations of shooting a film with a phone was directing actors with no monitor. It mostly takes place in a car and outside of the setups where I sat in the front or back set, I couldn’t get eyes on the actors. So I mostly had to direct by listening, while lying in the back seat next to my sound mixer who was in the trunk.
Another limitation was simply being the first to shoot a movie with an iPhone 6s. All the apps were newly updated and we had to learn on the fly. Even the Beastgrip Pro rig was only like two weeks old. But we were able to shoot low key. We used suction cups to place the iPhones in the car so we didn’t need a process trailer or police officers to block the streets. It allowed us to get some very great shots.
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS FILM?
MATTHEW CHERRY: I want this film to inspire, rather than the other way around. I want people to reach into their pocket and pull out their iPhone and say “his story was cool, but I could do one better” and go out there and make their film. I want 9 Rides to spark another movie.
After seeing this film, I realized there is no excuse why I or anyone else can’t film their movie because of lack of equipment or money. This film inspired me to stop making excuses and move forward with my filmmaking goals.
Everyone should see this film and experience what an iPhone can do. You cannot even tell that it was done with a phone and Matthew Cherry didn’t have a monitor to communicate with the actors. Hopefully, it hits the big screens soon so the world can see. Until then they will travel the world showing it at film festivals.
Follow Matthew Cherry on social media for updates:
Facebook: Matthew A Cherry